S3/4 Phonics training

Read Write Inc. training

My setting is introducing RWI to improve reading and writing throughout the school. This was the first day of a two day training course delivered by a former primary school teacher. The day was broken up into smaller parts showing us how to deliver a speed sound lesson and a word time lesson as well as how to deliver 1:1 tutoring.

Going into the training I felt reasonable confident with my own knowledge as my school had previously used RWI and I had taught many lessons using their resources. However, I discovered the importance of first hand training. The previous training I had was given by someone who had been on the official RWI training, therefore the training they delivered was their interpretation of the scheme. In turn my teaching was my interpretation of what I’d been shown. This led to a much ‘watered down’ version of the scheme. I initially believed the training would be a recap of what I already knew when in fact I was being given brand new information to process. I was shocked when the statistic was shared with us that 5% of adults in the UK have a reading age of 11 or below and are classed as illiterate which makes the teaching of phonics even more important.

The over-riding message of the training was the importance of ensure children ‘keep up, not catch up’ which is why the 1:1 tutoring is so important. The instructor ensured we were clear how important the assessment of children’s learning throughout the phonics session was to discover which children required this extra tutoring (S4 – reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching).

I learnt about the silent signals used within each phonics session. The use of silent signals means less time is wasted having to give verbal instructions, children will keep greater focus knowing that they need to watch rather than listen for prompts and this in turn keeps the sessions going at a quick pace. All of this helps keep behaviour positive (S7 – have clear rules and routines for behaviour in the classroom).

The instructor explained that the RWI scheme had recently been changed due to the change in the curriculum and in response to research surrounding phonics and reading.

The training will change the way I teach phonics as I am now aware that I had only vaguely followed the RWI scheme. The instructor explained that we will all make mistakes during our first few weeks of teaching RWI but will be coming in to observe and support us all. Therefore I am aware that this will be a steep learning curve. However, through a consistent and well structured approach the children should make good progress in reading and writing (S3 – demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics).

Focused next steps:


  • observe a phonics lesson being taught by a teacher who has been using the new RWI structure for a while.
  • deliver a phonics session under guidance of my mentor
  • watch youtube clips on the official RWI page to remind me of the structure and pace of the lesson