See below how Phonics works for us…

We begin teaching phonics in Nursery. We use Letters and Sounds and RWI to teach the beginning of phonics skills.

In Reception we begin using the synthetics programme RWI.

The children learn how to read the sounds (phonemes) in words and how these sounds can be written down (graphemes).

We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters, using pictures and saying phrases related to the pictures.

Children are taught to ‘Fred Talk’, blending words to help them read and write. For example, C-a-t= cat, sh-o-p= shop,
n-igh-t= night.

Children also have to learn ‘red’ words (such as ‘said’, ‘the’, ‘you’) through sight recognition.

As the children progress, the sounds become more complex and contain two letters (diagraphs) these sounds are sh, ch, th, ay, ar, oo or three letters (trigraphs) air, igh, ear, ure.


Phoneme – is the spoken sound
Grapheme – is the way the sound is written e.g. m-oo-n
Blending – putting sounds together to read a word
Segmenting – splitting a word into individual sounds to write

Pure Sounds

Remember to use pure sounds – no uh on the end! This will help children to blend sounds together more easily. Follow the link below for a guide on how they should sound:

Phonics Pronunciation Guide

Fred Talk

This is speaking in sounds, j-u-s-t l-i-k-e F-r-e-d! Use Fred Talk to sound out new words. Try saying words in Fred Talk and ask your child to blend them together.

Sound buttons & Fred Fingers

This is what children help them to segment (spell) a word or decoding a word. Encourage children to use these when spelling/reading an unknown word

Letter Names

Do not use ABC until children are working on Set 3 (different ways of making the same sound). Just refer to letters by the sound that they make.

Nonsense Words

Try making nonsense words for your child to read. These are words that are not in the English language and consist of a range of sounds the children have been learning. It will help them to become better readers by getting them to practise blending words, as well as helping them with trickier words. Examples of these can be; nif, bot, bing, stog.

Red & Green Words

Red words are tricky words that can not be sounded out. Green words can. When reading Red words, get children to spot the grotty graphemes (sounds that we don’t like) and ask them to explain why it is Red. The more that they read the Red words, the more that they will remember them.

What to do if children get stuck:


• Ask them to read the sounds using pure sounds.
• Encourage them to blend the sounds together.
• Model blending the sounds if they find this difficult.
• Tell them! Don’t leave your child struggling as this will not make the reading experience enjoyable. Also, it will slow the pace down too much.
• Praise as much as possible!
• Practise whenever you can.
• Encourage your child to use exciting vocabulary when speaking at home.


• Don’t use picture clues. Children need to be able to read the words, not rely on the pictures. Use the pictures to discuss the book further e.g. characters’ feelings.
• Criticise. This will not make either of you feel good.
• Use letter names until your child is told to at school. This will only confuse them. If they know some of the letter names, then let them use them, but do not refer to them yourself.

Finally, read as much as possible with your child. Read to practise the words, read so that you can discuss what you have read, read to develop expression or story tellers voice…and read to enjoy!

Parent guide to Phonics

We often have Parent workshops and are happy to talk to you about how you can help your child at home.

If you have any questions, please speak to Miss Turley, our Phonics Leader, or your class teacher.

Come and visit us!

Find out more
We recommend
Useful information