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Phonics resources

Phonics teaches children to read by matching sounds (phonemes) to letters (graphemes) or groups of letters. On this webpage, you will find useful videos and information about phonics that can be used to help your child read. Phonics is split up into 'phases', in Year One we learn Phase 4 and Phase 5. 


Here are some of the words and phrases you may hear from your child and what they mean!


Phoneme- the individual unit of sound in a word. The English language contains 44 different sounds.


Grapheme- the letter or group of letters that visually represents the phoneme (sound).


Digraph- 2 letters which represent 1 sound, for example: ck, ch, sh, th, ng


Trigraph- 3 letters representing 1 sound, for example: ear, air, ure, igh


Blending: merging the individual sounds (phonemes) to say a word. For example: c-a-t, cat or th-i-n, thin.


Segmenting- the skill of recognising the individual sounds (phonemes) needed to spell and write a word.


Vowel- short vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u long vowel sounds: ai, ee, igh, ow, oo


Vowels- a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e e.g. name, tim(also called split digraphs)


High Frequency Words- words which occur most often in English some of which cannot be sounded out phonically. Your child will learn these in sequence and you may see them abbreviated as HFW or called ‘tricky’ or ‘key’ words.


Tricky words- these are words which don’t follow phonic rules. Your child will be unable to use their phonic skills to sound them out and blend so they will need to learn to recognise the word and say it (whole word recognition). For example: said, have, was, any, once



Common Exception Word Mat

What are tricky words and common exception words for year 1 phonics?


Common exception words are words where the usual spelling rule doesn't apply; such as the common exception words "friend", "there", "they" and "said". Some of these exception words are used frequently, therefore children are introduced to common exception words in year 1 and year 2. Use this word mat with your child at home to help them learn these common exception words. 


Children can't use their phonics to sound out tricky words and children need to be able to recognise these words on sight. When children write tricky words they are encouraged to use the letter names, rather than the sound that the letter makes. Please see videos about tricky words in the useful videos section at the bottom of the page.

Year 1 Common Exception Word Mat

Please find below Phases 3, 4 and 5 sound mats that include the tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out using phonics) that the children learn during that phase. These sound and word mats could be used when you are reading with your child at home.