Before we begin teaching letters (graphemes) and their sounds (phonemes), we begin by playing games and activities to build phonic awareness.
Games like “I went to the market and I bought…” (…a sausage, a spider, some soap, six spoons etc.), Silly Soup (“I’m making ‘c’ soup and putting in… a cat… a kite… a car… etc.) and I-Spy (with letter sounds rather than letter names) are good for helping your child to hear and identify sounds in words.
Each letter has a name (a=‘ay’, b=‘bee’ and so on) and a sound (a=‘ah’ b=‘buh’). Letter sounds are taught first because these are more useful for learning to read and spell.
Try not to add too much ‘uh’ to the end of letter sounds; sounds blend more easily into words without it. Here you can listen to how the sounds should be made:
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/expert-help/phonics-made-easy (scroll down to Phonics audio guide: how to say the sounds)
The BBC Alphablocks Guide to Letters and Sounds:
We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our whole school approach to teaching systematic phonics. Please check the parent page on the website for video guides and downloads for parents.
Your child will be given a Little Wandle phonetically plausible text to bring home at the start of Term 2. Please keep this in the book bag and ensure it comes to school every day. If possible, go through the sounds book once a day to see if your child can remember the actions and associated letter sound. Don’t spend too long on this, a minute or two at the most. Celebrate your child’s successes rather than dwelling on any sounds not yet known.
Once your child knows a few letters we can begin making words by blending. Blending, or sounding-out is the process of pushing sounds together to read words:
c–a–t = cat m–a–n = man
This is why learning the pure letter sounds is much more valuable than learning letter names and essential for sounding-out. Letter names will be taught towards the end of Reception.
Not all words can be sounded-out. These are tricky words and just have to be memorised – for example: I, to, the, no, go, into.
Not all words can be sounded at this stage. For example, the word shop, because although your child may know s and h, they have not yet learned the digraph sh.
Digraphs are a sound made up of two letters (such as ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ar, ee, or, er, oa, oi, oo, ou) where the individual letter sounds cannot be heard separately. Some digraphs and trigraphs (igh, ear, air, ure) will be taught later in the Reception year and continue into Years 1 and 2.