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What is phonics?

Phonics is the system of ‘blending’ sounds together to read, and ‘segmenting’ sounds to spell.  They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together.  You may hear your children use some vocabulary that you are not familiar with that they have learnt in their phonics lessons.

A phoneme 

Is the smallest unit of sound that we use in the English language.  A phoneme can be made up of one letter as in the alphabet sounds – s, a, t, p, i, n  etc, or two letters (a digraph) as in sh, ch, th, ay, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure.  Phonemes can not be broken down into separate sounds.

A grapheme

Is the way we spell a phoneme.  A phoneme may have only one grapheme for example ‘b’. Or may have several different spellings –for example or can be spelt ‘or’ in torn, ‘aw’ in claw, ‘au’ in naughty or ore in more.  The children will initially be introduced to one common grapheme for each phoneme, but as they progress through the school they will be taught the less common spelling alternatives and encouraged to try and choose the correct grapheme for a particular word they are trying to spell.

Consonant blends

Are made up of two or three phonemes blended together quite quickly as we learn to read.  Examples are sc, sm, bl, pr, str

Short Vowel Sounds

Are the vowels saying their sound as ‘a’ in c a t.

Long Vowel Sounds

Are the vowels saying their name as ‘ay’ in day, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in night.

How do we teach Phonics at our school?

Lessons are taught daily in Reception and 3 times per week in Year 1, with opportunities to re-enforce across the curriculum.

How can you help your child?

  • You can help your child by knowing the 44 pure sounds
  • By knowing how to blend using Fred Talk for reading m  a  t
  • By knowing how to use Fred fingers for spelling
  • By reading to your child lots of lovely stories and asking lots of questions
  • By talking to your child as much as possible and ‘feeding’ them new and different words: ie  “Let’s eat our lunch now” Lets munch our lunch now”



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