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Ysgol Bryn Hedydd Dream it, Achieve it, Use the Force Breuddwydiwch, Cyflawnwch, Defnyddiwch y Grym


Phonics at Home

Supporting Phonics at Home


Talking, listening, singing:

Talking, listening, singing, rhythm and rhyme are all important for children’s language development. Start by listening. This will encourage your child to talk and use more and more relevant language.


  • Waiting a little bit for children to reply allows them to think about what has been said, gather their thoughts and frame their replies.
  • Explain to your child that good listening is about keeping quiet, having your ears and your eyes ready.
  • Sing with your child or let them listen to their favourite CDs and encourage them to join in.
  • And, of course, most children enjoy listening to nursery rhymes, either sung or spoken.


Distinguishing sounds:

Getting your child to distinguish between different types of sounds is also helpful.


  • Environmental sounds are the sounds all around us. Take your child for a walk and talk about the different sounds they can hear.
  • Use simple instruments, such as bells or drums, to introduce your child to instrumental sounds.
  • Try body percussion sounds such as stamping feet and clapping hands. Make silly noises with your voice to help them recognise voice sounds, such as buzzing like a bumblebee or hissing like a snake.


Building attention span:

Doing these activities with your child will also help to increase their attention span – another important step in preparing to learn phonics.


The sounds of letters:

It is important for a child to learn lower case of small letters rather than capital letters at first. Most early books and games use lower case letters and your child is learning these first at school. Obviously you should use a capital letter when required, such as at the beginning of a child's name, e.g. Paul. 


  • When you talk about letters to your child, remember to use the letter sounds: a buh cuh duh e … rather than the alphabet names of the letters: ay bee see dee ee. The reason for this is that sounding out words is practically impossible if you use the alphabet names. eg. cat, would sound like: see  ay  tee. Each week you will receive the sounds and actions we are learning for each sound. Letter names will be learned later in the year once they are secure in the single sounds.
  • When saying the sounds of b, d, g, j and w you will notice the ‘uh’ sound that follows each, for example buh, duh… You cannot say the sound without it; however, try to emphasise the main letter sound. Here is a video about pronunciation:

Phonics letters and sounds mouth closeup

Blending and Segmenting

Blending refers to the skill needed to read, i.e merging the sounds together to read/pronounce a word (c-a-t, cat). Segmenting refers to the skill needed to spell, i.e taking apart the sounds in the word in order and assigning a written sound to each. (cat, c-a-t).


Children find this easier if they can learn to orally blend and segment first. To support them in this, you can use “Robot talk”.


  • Gather some toys/pictures (c-a-t, d-o-g, p-i-g). Ask which is the p-i-g, d-o-g, etc
  • Play I-spy: “I spy a d-o-g”
  • Given instructions: “Please put this in the b-i-n”
  • Play Simon says; Simon says “Touch your h-ea-d,” etc


For segmenting reverse these games so children are asking you. Have fun with it, don’t make it a chore. Let us know if you would like more ideas or if you have an idea yourself!