How to help your child learn to read

You might be wondering how you can help your child learn to read at home or perhaps you are interested in knowing a bit more about what they are learning at school.  Most parents of young children were taught to read using a different strategy to the one used today, which is why it can be hard to know what to do for the best.  This guide provides some information and advice about the current reading strategy in schools.

The way children are taught to read these days is called phonics or most recently, letters and sounds. There are some other useful words you might want to know like phoneme (the sound of each letter) and grapheme (what each letter looks like).

Phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (how it looks) are now taught in a special order, this is because education specialists have worked out that this is the best way to help children learn to read.  The phonemes-graphemes are also split into 5 groups called phases.  This is to help teacher assess where children are with their phonics.

What differs now from when most of us were children is the very short sounds that letters make.  It is important to keep the sounds short, so that when children are blending (which means putting sounds together to make words) they can hear the word that they are sounding out.

A useful You Tube video to watch is called “articulation of phonemes”. ( This video demonstrates how each phoneme is taught in schools and will help you to replicate the same sounds at home.

Here is the order in which the letters are taught and the phases:

Phase 1 (covered in Nursery and Reception)

tuning into sounds

listening and remembering sounds

talking about sounds

Phase 2 (covered in Reception)

Learning which letter makes which sound (one taught per week)

Set 1: s a t p

Set 2: i n m d

Set 3: g o c k

Set 4: ck e u r

Set 5: h b f ff l ll ss

Phase 3 (covered in Reception and Year 1 if a review is required)

Set 6: j v w x

Set 7: y z zz qu

ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er

Phase 4 (covered in Reception and reviewed in Year 1)

No new graphemes

Practising all the graphemes and blending them together to make words.

Phase 5: (covered in Year 1)  New graphemes:

ay (day) ou (out) ie (tie) ea (east) oy (boy) ir (girl) ue (blue) aw (saw) wh (when) ph (photo) ew (new) oe (toe) au (Paul)

Split digraphs (where the sound is split by another letter)

a-e (make) e-e (these) i-e (like) o-e (home) u-e (rule)

New pronunciations for known letters:

i (fin, find) o (hot, cold) c ( cat, cent) g (got, giant) u (but, put ( in south of England), ow (cow, blow) ie (tie, field) ea (eat, bread)

er (farmer, her) a (hat, what) y (yes, by, very) ch (chin, school, chef) ou (out, shoulder, could, you)


Phase 6:  (covered in Year 2):  The children are not learning to read but are now reading to learn.  They are becoming confident and fluent readers.  This phase looks at spelling patterns. 

We hold a Phonics workshop evening in the Autumn Term which our early years and KS1 parents are invited to attend. Please look out for the date on our school calendar and weekly newsletters. 

Phonics Results


School 2014

National 2014

School 2015

National 2015

School 2016

National 2016

Year  1







Year 2










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