Heathrow Primary School, Harmondsworth Lane, Sipson, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 0JQ
Letters and Sounds is the resource we use at Heathrow Primary School to support the systematic teaching of phonics. Children begin the Letters and Sounds programme at the start of Nursery year and continue across Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2). Every child between Reception and Year 2 has a 20-minute phonics session every day.
The Letters and Sounds programme is separated into six phases - your child's teacher will be able to tell you which phase your child is currently working on.
It is split into 6 phases:
Phase 1: Children learn rhymes. Keep rhythms and start to relate letter sounds to (starting in Nursery) words. E.g. b for bag.
Phase 2: Children learn initial letter sounds and build 3 letter words.
Phase 3: Children learn all 44 phonemes and blend sounds to read and write words.
Phase 4: Children blend consonants together to read difficult words e.g. blue, grab.
Phase 5: Children learn how to spell letter sounds in more than one way e.g. rain, day, make.
Phase 6: Children learn how to spell word specific spellings. E.g. turned, beautiful, shopping.
Here is the link to the Letters and Sounds page for each phase. For each phase there is a brief explanation of what is taught and a selection of resources (word cards, games and record sheets) which you can use to support your child's learning.
We hope the following glossary is useful to you when using the Letters and Sounds pages.
Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and to then blend them together to decode the word.
A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound 'a' in rain is represented by the digraph 'ai'.
A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound e.g. a letter or a group of letters.
Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.
A phoneme is a unit of sound e.g. the word 'cat' contains three phonemes; c - a - t.
Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it.
A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters e.g. the sound 'a' in the word take is represented by the split digraph a-e.
This paves the way for systematic learning of phonics and usually starts in nursery or playgroup.
Teachers plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language.
Teachers teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. They read good books to and with the children.
This helps to increase the number of words they know - their vocabulary - and helps them talk confidently about books.
Things to try at home:
In Phase 2, they will also be taught the phonemes (sounds) for a number of letters (graphemes).
Your child will be taught how to pronounce the sounds (phonemes) correctly to make blending easier. Try to avoid saying 'buh', 'cuh' encourage your child to say the pure sound.
s a t p i n m d
g o c k ck e u r
h b f ff l ll ss
and be able to read 5 tricky words...
the to I no go
They should be able to orally blend (sound talk) cvc words e.g. when you sound out c-a-t, they can tell you the word is cat, and also orally segment cvc words e.g. when you say mum, they can pick out the sounds m-u-m.
Spelling is harder than reading. During this phase they will use lots of alternatives to pencil and paper (eg magnetic letters, writing in sand, using paint)
The purpose of this phase is to teach 25 graphemes (letters) most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa) so the children can represent each of the 42 phonemes (sounds). Your child will continue to blend and segment for reading and spelling (e.g. pool)
j v w x y z zz qu ch
jug van wig box yes zip buzz quit rich
sh th ng ai igh oa oo oo ar
shop moth king rain high loaf look moon park
or ur ow oi ear air ure er
port burn town boil hear pair pure hotter
and 12 more tricky words to read...
he she we me be was
my you her they all are
They should now, also be able to spell the 5 tricky words from phase 2.
In Phase 4, children continue to practice previously learned graphemenes and phonemes and learn how to read and write:
CVCC words: tent, damp, toast, chimp
For example, in the word 'toast',
t = consonant, oa = vowel, s = consonant, t = consonant.
and CCVC words: swim, plum, sport, cream, spoon
For example, in the word 'cream',
c = consonant r = consonant ea = vowel, m = consonant.
and 14 more tricky words are added too...
some come one said do so were
when have there out like little what
The children should now be able to write the Phase 3 tricky words. During Phase 4, sounds with adjacent consonants or initials and final blends are taught e.g. bl, dr, sc, ft, so. These can be sounded out but recognising them
The purpose of this phase is for children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling.
ay ou ie oe ea oy ir ue
play soup tried goes heat boy shirt value/blue
au aw wh ph ew ey
author lawn when/who Phillip blew honey
a_e e_e i_e o_e u_e
same these pine bone cube
They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant. E.g. the phoneme 'a' can have alternative phonemes: hat/acorn/was also.
'Y' can have alternative phonemes: yes/by/gym/very.
There are many alternatives which the children will investigate during the phase.
In Phase 6, the focus is on learning spelling rules for word endings or suffixes.
They learn how words change when you add certain letters. There are 12 different suffixes taught...
The children are also expected to be able to read and write the 'next 200 commons words'.
-s -es -ing -ed
-er -est -y -en
-ful -ly -ment -ness