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Willowdown Primary Academy

Happy Children, Successful Learners, Confident Individuals



Green Words

'Green' words are phonetically decodable words that the children learn to read. They allow children to become fluent readers because regular reading of these words mean that they become familiar and are able to recognise/read them on sight. They can then use their knowledge of these words to read similar words more quickly. The following are not an exhaustive list of the only words that children will read but instead are an indication of the types of words that will be read at each stage. Children are not tested on these as reading or spelling tests but their ability to read them may be used to inform us of their progress.

The Green words build in stages, called 'Word Time' lessons and during these sessions the children use their recently learnt sounds to segment and blend words.


Fred talk



Fred is our Read, Write Inc. mascot/friend. He can only speak in sounds though, so we have to help him learn to say words, instead of sounds. For example Fred says 'c-a-t' instead of cat. We also teach him not to add 'uh' to our sounds in order to keep them pure. For example we say 'c' and not 'cuh'.

Red words

These are words that children will need to learn on sight because they contain parts that are not decodable. For example the word 'the' could be decoded as 'theh', but children must learn the correct pronunciation and spelling. They might only be red words until a specific sound is learnt or because people pronounce them differently in different parts of the country.


Set 1 sounds

Children learn their sounds in groups, building to using these groups of sounds to read and spell words in Word Time sessions. To begin with their are 6 groups in set 1.

m, a, s, d, t

Word Time 1

i, n, p, g, o

Word Time 2

c, k, u, b

Word Time 3

f, e, l, h, sh

Word Time 4

r, j, v, y, w

Word Time 5

th, z, ch, q, x, ng, nk

Word Time 6

Word Time 7

Set 2 sounds

As children progress into learning set 2 sounds they will move from ditty books onto books with one, longer story. Read, Write Inc. lessons will contain time to learn new sounds, existing sound practice, time for reading and also writing.


Phrase to remember


may I play?


what can you see?


fly high


blow the snow


poo at the zoo


look at a book


start the car


shut the door


that's not fair


whirl and twirl


shout it out


toy for a boy


Set 3 sounds

 Children begin to learn that there are multiple ways to read and spell some sounds. They are reminded of one way and learn another, new way.


New spelling pattern

Old spelling patter

Phrase to remember



cup of tea



spoil the boy



make a cake



nice smile



phone home



huge brute



yawn at dawn



care and share



nurse with a purse


ir and ur

a better letter



brown cow


ay and a_e

snail in the rain


ow and o_e

goat in a boat


oo and u_e

chew the stew



fire, fire!



hear with your ear



sure it's pure



pay attention, it's a celebration

cious and tious


scrumptious, delicious!


Fred Fingers


We use 'Fred Fingers' to help make the transition between oral sounding out and spelling with magnetic letters or on paper.

Firstly we count how many sounds we can hear:

"cat, c-a-t, 3 sounds".

Then we hold up that many fingers.

For each sound we use our other hand to squeeze a Fred Finger and say the sound


Then we use our free hand to 'sweep' over our Fred Fingers and to blend the sounds into a word



Watch out - words such as fish needs 3 Fred Fingers - "f-i-sh". Words such as flight need 4 Fred Fingers - "f-l-igh-t".


As children become more confident with their sounds and spelling words they will move away from using their Fred Fingers and instead rely on sounding out in their head.



Read, Write Inc. books


After children have learned enough sounds they will begin to read 'Ditty' books in their Read, Write Inc. lessons, as well as continuing Speedy Sounds and Word Time sessions. Ditty books contain 3 short stories that the children read and these stories are made up from green and red words.


Following Ditty books children continue to read groups of books that have been specially written to support progress through the scheme. These books follow their own colour scheme and do not tie in with the home/school reading books scheme.


Each colour band contains 10 main books, with extra books to support non-fiction reading as well. Children are taught to read the 'green' and 'red' words at the beginning of each book, before checking understanding using the 'vocab check' page. The children also talk about the upcoming story to make links to their own experiences before reading the book, usually 3 times. The first time is to practise decoding the words, the second time is to practise expression and the third time is to read for comprehension. Each book focusses on a particular sound or set of sounds, allowing the children to practise the sounds that they have been learning most recently. Adults will move their group through the books, picking and choosing books that they feel will best support the learning of their group.