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Phonics cards showing letters and pictures.

               What is Phonics?

Phonics is an established coding system, used for the English language when learning to read.


Phonics is an effective teaching approach for children learning to read and write. It enables children to apply a 'code' to the letters and groups of letters within words.

Assigning ‘sounds’ to letters and combinations of letters creates the code. This ‘code’ is applied to single letters such as: s,a,t,p and combinations of letters such as: sh, ch, th, ee.

Children apply the sounds they are learning to letters they see, this is called decoding ( reading). They can also apply letters to the sounds they hear, this is called encoding ( writing). Knowing the letter names in the alphabet does not help with learning to read but it will help with literacy skills later on in the journey.


Once children have a small bank of phonic knowledge, we teach them to ‘blend’ the sounds they know together to make short, familiar words such as sat, cat, sip, pin etc. These words are known as CVC ( consonant, vowel consonant) words and are the best words for a child to start their decoding journey. Our phonics cards contain many examples of CVC words you can use within games and activities.


When you first enter the world of phonics as a teacher new to Early Years  or as a parent supporting the learning process, you will soon realise that there is a fair amount of jargon! Please don't get bogged down by this, the most important thing to do is to know how to pronounce the sounds 'purely', see the demonstration video below

It is also important to note there are valuable pre-cursors to phonics which such as encouraging young children to listen for patterns in words they hear, rhyme, sounds in nature, alliteration, body percussion etc. Phonics starts way before we even think about letters and it's important to establish a good foundation. In the UK this is known as 'Phase One Phonics' and you can learn more here.

We aim to produce a guide to jargon which you will be able to find on this page soon. See below for some of the trickier parts to phonics and explore our range of products for the very best way to support your child's journey into reading and writing from age three upwards.

toadstool illustration.

Tricky Phonics Explained!

Some sounds in words can be quite tricky to understand and pronounce. We'll walk you through the tricky bits right here:

cherry illustration.

'y' at the end of a word.

When you find the letter y at the end of a word it can have a long 'e' sound like cherry/berry or a long 'i' sound like fry/cry. You normally find the word ending in 'y'will have the long 'e' sound if it has two syllables ba-by / la-zy .

Phonics sound button
chess board illustration

Doubled Consonants

Our sets include 'zz'(Puzzle) , 'ss'(Chess) 'ff'(Muffin) and 'll'(Well) but there are more doubled consonants used in words that are slightly less common such as 'rr', 'bb' 'dd' 'pp' and 'gg'. They all sound the same as their single letter versions - not too tricky really! 

turtle illustration

'le' and 'se' at the end of a word

Understanding Phonics
Phonics sound button

Turtle ,thistle and puzzle pop up in our set two cards as example words, as well as horse, and we place a wiggle under the le/se. 'le' is known as consonant-le'; the 'e' element is silent and only the consonant and the 'l' that follows are heard. When decoding (sounding out), 'le' should be treated like the 'l'phoneme (sound) and 'se' like the 's' phoneme  or the 'z' phoneme depending on the word and your accent. 


The different 'ea' sounds.

In Set 2 we introduce the long 'e'vowel sound 'ea' alongside the word 'leaf'. This version of the 'ea' sound is the most common but the short 'e' vowel sound 'ea' as in treasure also crops up pretty frequently as does the long 'a' vowel sound in words like 'steak'.

Phonics sound button
Treasure chest illustration.
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