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The Marston Thorold's Charity Church of England


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Phonics and Tricky Words

Children are progressing well with their phonics in school and we have just switched across to the Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics. Currently, children have just finished phase 3 sounds and will be moving on to phase 4 in the summer term. We will continue to consolidate our knowledge of phase 3 and encourage children to begin writing short sentences and captions independently.


The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending and is a vital skill for reading.

Children will also learn to do this the other way around – cat = c-a-t. The whole word is spoken aloud and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. This is called segmenting and is a vital skill for spelling.

This is all oral (spoken).


Your children may come home and talk about the digraphs, trigraphs and graphemes they have been learning at school, it can be confusing to know what this all means, please see below for answers. 

"What is a digraph?" A digraph in the simplest sense is 2 letters that make 1 sound. (e.g. or)

"What is a trigraph?" A trigraph is 3 letters that make one sound. (e.g. igh says I)

"What is a grapheme?" A grapheme is a written symbol that represents a sound. 


Ways you can support your child at home


Find real objects around your home that have three phonemes (sounds) and practise ‘sound talk’. First, just let them listen, then see if they will join in, for example, saying:

          ‘I spy a p-e-g – peg.’

          ‘I spy a c-u-p – cup.’

          ‘Where’s your other s-o-ck – sock?’

          ‘Simon says – put your hands on your h-ea-d.’

          ‘Simon says – touch your ch-i-n.’

          ‘Simon says – pick up your b-a-g.’


Ensure you take just 10 minutes every evening to listen to your child read. Children are given fully decodable phonics books to support their reading. It is important to not only listen to your child read but also ensure they have understood the text. This might include asking them a few questions at the end of the story such as:


"What was your favourite part of the story?" 

"Can you tell me some of the characters?"


Asking children questions about their reading books ensures fluency and develops a depth of understanding.


For more information about the Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics and to find ideas to support children at home please follow the link to the website below: