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Phonics

Welcome to our phonics help page!
This page should have all the answers you are looking for. It will show you how to say each sound, which terminology to use and what is taught in school. If you have any questions, please speak to your child's class teacher.
What is phonics?

There has been a huge shift in the past few year in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as guided reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.

Phonics consists of teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. When reading, it is sounding out a word and sticking the sounds back together to read the whole word.

 

Phonics terminology...

Phoneme

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.

Feel/watch how your mouth changes when you say a word, every time your mouth moves/changes shape you are saying a new phoneme, e.g. b-r-i-ck

There are 44 phonemes in the English language

 

Grapheme

A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. A three letter grapheme could be igh in the word  b-r-igh-t. There are 3 letters that make one phoneme..

A grapheme can represent more than one phoneme e.g. C = cat and city

 

Diagraph

Two letters, which makes 1 phoneme. e.g. d-u-ck

A consonant diagraph contains two consonants

e.g.          sh             ck             th             ll

A vowel diagraph contains at least one vowel

e.g.          ai              ee            ar              oy

 

Split Diagraph

A diagraph in which the two letters are not adjacent e.g. make

a-e is a unit of sound (diagraph)- it is being ‘split’ by the constant k.

 

Trigraph

Three letters, which make 1 phoneme. e.g. l-igh-t

 

Oral blending

Hearing a series of spoken phonemes and merging them together to make a spoken word without corresponding to any graphemes (no text is needed). e.g. teacher says “b-u-s” children say “bus”

 

Blending (links to reading)

Recognising the letter sounds in a written word and merging them together in the order they are written to pronounce the word. e.g. c-u-p = cup

 

Segmenting (links to writing)

Identifying the individual phonemes in a spoken word and writing them down to form a word.

How do I say the sounds?

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds (British English)

Listen to the 42 letter sounds of Jolly Phonics, spoken in British English. Each letter sound is clearly spoken twice, before an example word is given.

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How can I help my child at home?
To ensure your child is regularly applying their phonics skills at home, it will be helpful to practise reading and spelling activities. Below, please find useful links to other games and activities to support your child at home with phonics.