Read Write Inc and Fresh Start

Read Write Inc and Fresh Start

Support for Learning uses the Read Write Inc. and Fresh Start programmes which aim to improve reading and writing skills for pupils in P3 and above. They are systematic and lively programmes for which staff have had special training.

The aim is to help pupils read text more easily so that they can put all their resources into understanding what they are reading. Similarly, we will work on spelling strategies so that pupils can put all their energy into composing what they are writing.


The order of teaching sounds in Read Write Inc/ Fresh Start is detailed below. We are aiming to work at a good pace but do spend lots of time revisiting sounds through a variety of reading and spelling activities.  This is to ensure the pupils experience success when reading and writing using these sounds and so that they retain them in the future.  For this reason, if you wish to practise sounds at home it would be most beneficial to practise the sounds that have already been taught in the lessons.

Set 1 sounds

Set 1 includes all the initial sounds (the usual sounds made by single alphabet letters) plus some digraphs or ‘best friends’ sounds th, ch, sh, ng, nk. Digraphs, or ‘Best friends’ as we refer to them in our lessons, are two or more letters that sit next to each other and work together to produce a sound. Set 1 sounds are taught in the following order:

m  a   s   d   t    i    n  p    g   o   c   k   u    b   f   e    l  h    sh    r   j  v    y    w    th   z   ch   qu   x ng  nk

Usually pupils beginning Read Write Inc in Support for Learning are confident with most, if not all, of the initial sounds. So while we do revise and continually revisit the initial sounds the main teaching focus in set 1 is usually on teaching the digraph or ‘best friends’ sounds sh, th, ch, qu, ng and nk, where the pupils are more likely to have gaps in their knowledge.

The initial sounds all have an associated picture (e.g. apple for a) and a ‘saying’ to remember how it is written. Click here for a pdf of the initial sounds and associated sayings.

Digraphs or ‘Best friends’ sounds have a little saying that along with a picture helps us to remember the sound.  Click here for a word document with the pictures and sayings for the digraphs or ‘best friends’ from set 1.

Set 2 sounds

Set 2 sounds are all vowel digraphs or ‘best friends’ sounds. Click here for the order of teaching the set 2 sounds and the sayings that go along with each sound.

Click  for a simple speed sounds chart (no picture clues) to practise all set 1 and 2  sounds.

Set 3 sounds

After learning set 1 and 2 sounds, pupils have learned one way to make a sound, for example ‘may I play’  – ‘ay’. Set 3 introduces some other ways to make the sounds such as ‘Make a cake’ ‘a-e’ and Snail in the rain’ ‘ai’.

Click here for a list of set 3 sounds and their sayings.

Green words: Reading

Green words are words that pupils should be able to sound out using the sounds that they have learned and practised. At first they can ‘sound talk’ the words, saying each individual sound before blending it together to read the word. The green words on the flashcards we use in the lessons  are marked to help with this- each sound has either a dot or a line underneath it, a dot for the single sounds and a line for the digraphs or ‘best friends’ sounds.

With lots of practise the pupils should begin to be able to blend automatically and read the green words without ‘sound talking’.

To download example green word lists please click on the links below:

List of green words using sounds from Set 1 ( initial sounds only)

List of green words using sounds from Set 1 (digraphs and initial sounds)

List of green words using sounds from Set 2

List of green words using sounds from Set 3


Green words: Spelling

When spelling green words we use a technique that we call ‘Sound Fingers’. This involves asking pupils to think about how many sounds (not letters) are in a word and hold up one finger for each sound. For example ‘say’ is made up of 2 sounds, ‘s’ and ‘ay’. The pupils then pinch or press their fingers and say the sounds in order before writing them down.

This technique is often known as  ‘Fred Fingers’ when used in a whole class environment with younger children but the technique is exactly the same. Here is a short video demonstrating the use of this technique.



*This page is a work in progress and more content will be added in due course. *