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SpringheadInfant and Nursery School

"In our garden, as we grow, tall and proud, new skills aglow"

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As a school, we know how important it is for parents and teachers to work together to give your child the best start. Reading together at home is one of the most effective and important ways in which you can help your child. Children should be encouraged to enjoy sharing books and read independently, as well as reading with an adult. This not only supports children’s progression in reading but leads to them seeing reading as a source of pleasure and interest. To support your child in becoming an effective and confident reader we hope to work with you to develop their knowledge of phonics (letter sounds) to enable them to decode different words they may come across.


Below you will find some information and activities to help with phonics at home.

In Year 1, your child will complete a phonics screening test in which they will segment and blend words -  some words are 'real' words and some of these words are 'alien' words, these are words that are not real. 


What is Phonics?


The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘e’ or ‘p’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘sh’ or ‘air’).

A letter consists of: a sound, a shape and it has a capital form and a lower case form. The letter sound is the first thing that children need to recognise.


Letter shape= grapheme.

Letter sound= phoneme.


To learn to read and spell children must be able to smoothly blend sounds together. Blending sounds fluidly helps to improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend accurately at an early age is imperative. Showing your child how to blend is important. Remember some sounds (digraphs) are resented by two letters, such as ee or oi. Children should sound out the digraph not the individual letters (e.g. oi not o-i). Some words may also have trigraphs, three letters to represent one sound, (.e.g. h-ear or p-air.).


th- this and that

ng- a thing on a string

ai– snail in the rain

ee– what can you see?

igh– fly high

oa– goat in a boat

oo– poo at the zoo

oo– look at a book

ar– start the car

or– shut the door

ur– nurse with a purse
ow– brown cow

oi– spoil the boy

ear– hear with your ear

air– that’s not fair

ure– sure its pure

er– a better letter

ay– may I play

ou– shout it out

ie– I cried

ea– cup of tea

oy– toy for a boy

ir– whirl and twirl

ue– true blue

aw– yawn at dawn

wh– what do you want

ph- a dolphin

ew– chew the stew

oe– touch your toe

au– a haunted house 

ey– cheeky monkey

a-e– make a cake

e-e– these are ee’s

i-e- nice smile

o-e– phone home

u-e– huge brute

Sounds of the How to Pronounce Sounds

Tami Reis-Frankfort, reading specialist and trainer, demonstrates how to pronounce the sounds of the English Phonic Code, when teaching children to read with Synthetic Phonics.

Test your children using the sound mat below

Phonics Screening Example