Reception Home Learning – Phonics

The following phonics guidance will help you to work with your child at home with their phonics development.  Please also check the Home Learning page on our website for website links that will also help.

Before your son/ daughter can start to read, s/he needs to learn to:

Say the sound that is represented by each letter or groups of letters. These are called ‘Speed sounds’.

How to blend the sounds together in a word to read it.

e.g. c-a-t  cat. This is called ‘sound-blending’.

To begin with we learn a sound a day. We use pure sounds so that your son/daughter will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

Letter-sound pictures are used to help your son/daughter learn these sounds quickly.

e.g. mmaisie mmmountain is morphed into m t-t-t-tower is morphed into t

Once they have learnt the first 5 sounds we teach them to blend them.  E.g. s-i-t, p-i-n.

We often say “This is a ‘t’(letter name) but the sound it makes is…”

These first sounds should all be stretched slightly. Try to avoid saying uh after each one. E.g. /mm/ not muh, /ss/ not suh, /ff/ not fuh.

m – mmmmmmountain (keep lips pressed together hard)

s – sssssnake (keep teeth together and hiss – unvoiced)

n – nnnnnnet (keep tongue behind teeth)

f – ffffflower (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out sharply – unvoiced)

l – llllleg (keep pointed curled tongue behind teeth).

r – rrrrrrobot (say rrr as if you are growling)

v – vvvvvvulture (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out gently)

z – zzzzzzig zzzzzag (keep teeth together and make a buzzing sound)

th – thhhhank you ( stick out tongue and breathe out sharply)

sh – shhhh (make a shhh noise as though you are telling somebody to be quiet!)

ng – thinnnnngg on a strinnnngg (curl your tongue at the back of your throat)

nk – I think I stink (make a piggy oink noise without the oi! nk nk nk)

These next sounds cannot be stretched. Make the sound as short as possible avoiding uh at the end of the sound:

t – (tick tongue behind the teeth – unvoiced)

p – (make distinctive p with lips – unvoiced)

k – (make sharp click at back of throat)

c – as above

h – (say h as you breathe sharply out – unvoiced)

ch – (make a short sneezing sound)

x – (say a sharp c and add s – unvoiced)

You will find it harder to avoid saying uh at the end of these sounds.

d – (tap tongue behind the teeth)

g – (make soft sound in throat)

b – (make a short, strong b with lips)

j – (push lips forward)

y – (keep edges of tongue against teeth)

w – (keep lips tightly pursed)

qu – (keep lips pursed as you say cw – unvoiced)

The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:

a: a-a-a (open mouth wide as if to take a bite of an apple)

e: e-e-e (release mouth slightly from a position)

i: i-i-i (make a sharp sound at the back of the throat – smile)

o: o–o-o (push out lips; make the mouth into o shape)

u: u-u-u (make a sound in the throat)

Here is a fantastic video from Oxford Owl explain pure sounds.

Pure Sounds

The following links contain useful activities and apps that you may wish to use at home with your child.

Games to play at home to enhance children’s early phonics skills


Phonics Play

Parents information on Oral Blending and Segmenting

Oral Blending and Segmenting

I spy with my little eye…(Remember to use the sound the letter makes not the letter name)

Oral blending – I was walking down the street when I saw a……c-a-t….t-r-ee…d-o-g…Can your child identify what you are saying.

Treasure hunt around the house. How many things can you find beginning with s, a, t, p, i, n.

Pencil Grip Stages

The following document is an excellent resource to help support all children’s functional skill development. It has some great ideas and explains the importance of core strength and how to develop key skills such as scissor cutting, pencil grip and self help dressing skills.

Ideas for developing fine motor skills

How to support your child with writing at home

Here are the rhymes we use to help children remember which direction to form each letter. The children will benefit from saying the sound as they write it. The starting point for each letter is also important. We always remind the children to not take their pen off the paper unless they are doing a dot for j and i or crossing for an f or t or an x.