Upton Primary School

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Waggon Lane, Upton, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF9 1JS


01977 650820

Phonics and Early Reading

Taking an active interest in your child’s phonics learning is one of the best ways you can help your child to achieve in school. Learning is not just about what happens in school. Children are learning all the time through what they see, hear and do.


What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching reading where your child is taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. Children can then start to read words by blending the sounds together to make a word. The video above outlines phonics and its purpose in supporting early reading.

Why we use Read Write Inc?

At Upton Primary School the children follow the Read Write Inc scheme of learning. Read Write Inc Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step. Children first learn to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. Phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. For more information about Read Write Inc watch the video above

This is different to how I was taught as a child

We understand that this format of teaching reading may be unfamiliar to some adults and so to help you with the pronunciation of sounds please watch the video above.

Click on the pictures below to open up phonics based learning games.

The key skills of phonics

Teaching the skills of segmentation with blending helps with successful reading development.

  • Blending - 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.                                                                                       


  • Segmenting - 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.                                                                           


Other key terminology used in phonics

  • Phonemes - The smallest units of sound that are found within a word e.g. s , a , t , p


  • Grapheme- The spelling of the sound e.g. th


  • Diagraph - Two letters that make one sound when read e.g. ee, zz, ff, ll. In Read Write Inc these are commonly referred to as 'special friends'


  • Trigraphs - Three letters that make one sound e.g. ure, ear, air. In Read Write Inc these are also considered 'special friends'

  • Split diagraph - Two letters that make one sound when read but that have a letter between them e.g. e-e and a-e which found in words such as scene, make. In Read Write Inc these are  referred to as 'special friends'


  • CVC - Stands for consonant, vowel, consonant. e.g. sat, big, cat


  • CVCC - Stands for consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant . e.g. duck, bang, wing