Helping With Phonics

Supporting Your Child at Home

These first sounds should all be stretched slightly. Try to avoid saying uh after each one:

eg /mm/ not muh, /ss/ not suh, /ff/ not fuh.

m – mmmmmmountain (keep lips pressed together hard)
s – sssssnake (keep teeth together and hiss – unvoiced)
n – nnnnnnet (keep tongue behind teeth)
f – ffffflower (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out sharply – unvoiced)
l – llllleg (keep pointed curled tongue behind teeth).
r – rrrrrrobot (say rrr as if you are growling)
v – vvvvvvulture (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out gently)
z – zzzzzzig zzzzzag (keep teeth together and make a buzzing sound)
th – thhhhank you ( stick out tongue and breathe out sharply)
sh – shhhh (make a shhh noise as though you are telling somebody to be quiet!)
ng – thinnnnngg on a strinnnngg (curl your tongue at the back of your throat)
nk – I think I stink (make a piggy oink noise without the oi! nk nk nk)

These next sounds cannot be stretched. Make the sound as short as possible avoiding uh at the end of the sound:
t – (tick tongue behind the teeth – unvoiced)
p – (make distinctive p with lips – unvoiced)
k – (make sharp click at back of throat)
c – as above
h – (say h as you breathe sharply out – unvoiced)
ch – (make a short sneezing sound)
x – (say a sharp c and add s – unvoiced)

You will find it harder to avoid saying uh at the end of these sounds.
d – (tap tongue behind the teeth).
g – (make soft sound in throat).
b –(make a short, strong b with lips).
j – (push lips forward).
y – (keep edges of tongue against teeth).
w – (keep lips tightly pursed).
qu – (keep lips pursed as you say cw – unvoiced).

The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:
a: a-a-a (open mouth wide as if to take a bite of an apple).
e: e-e-e (release mouth slightly from a position).
i: i-i-i (make a sharp sound at the back of the throat – smile).
o: o–o-o (push out lips, make the mouth into o shape).
u: u-u-u (make a sound in the throat).

The long vowel sounds are all stretchy sounds
ay: ay may I play
ee: ee what do you see?
igh: fly high
ow: blow the snow
oo: poo at the zoo
oo: look at a book
ar: start the car
or: shut the door
air: that’s not fair
ir: whirl and twirl
ou: shout it out
oy: toy for a boy

The Speed Sounds

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order:
m a s d t, i n p g o, c k u b, f e l h sh, r j v y w, th z ch qu x ng nk

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

                                    Long vowel sound                    Set 2 Sounds                    Set 3 Sounds

ay                               ay: may I play?                           a-e: make a cake           ai: snail in the rain
ee                               ee: what can you see?                ea: cup of tea                 e: he me we she be
igh                              igh: fly high                                i-e: nice smile

ow                              ow: blow the snow                     o-e: phone home           oa: goat in a boat
oo                               oo: poo at the zoo                      u-e: huge brute              ew: chew the stew
oo                               oo: look at a book
ar                                ar: start the car
or                               or: shut the door                         aw: yawn at dawn
air                              air: that’s not fair                        are: share and care
ir                                ir: whirl and twirl                        ur: nurse for a purse       er: a better letter
ou                               ou: shout it out                            ow: brown cow
oy                               oy: toy for a boy                           oi: spoil the boy
ire                              ire: fire fire!
ear                             ear: hear with your ear

All of our teachers and teaching assistants have been trained in the Read, Write Inc programme and they can show you how to pronounce these sounds. We hope that you will not hesitate to ask for any help.


Read Write Inc Books

Order of Progression

Red Ditties