Skip to content ↓

Northborough Primary School

Phonics Workshop

Supporting your child Reading and writing with Phonics

Useful websites include:

As a parent, your involvement in supporting your child’s learning is really important.  Here are some ways you could support at home:

  • Alphabet games such as ‘I-Spy’.
  • Listening to your child read daily.
  • Encourage your child to say sounds they hear in words.
  • Ask your child to help you write the shopping list – they can sound out their own list! Any opportunity to encourage them to read or write and sound out words.
  • Make a writing box with exciting things to use to write with.  This could include little whiteboards and pens, magic boards, magic pens, gel pens, post it notes.
  • Look out for words and letters in the environment, such as on food packaging, road names, posters.
  • Play treasure-hunting games to find sounds and move onto words.
  • Magnetic letters to build words and recognise sounds.


Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

GPCs – (grapheme phoneme correspondences)

They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p, I, n


Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.


Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Such as: B-oa-t

What makes phonics tricky?

In some languages, learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it.

The English language only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. There are 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter (grapheme).

ch th oo ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)

There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and even a few made from 4 letters. igh

Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example, ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef. Pupils explore in school why this is, from the placement in a word either at the beginning, middle or end of a word or if the vowels influence the sound.