What is Phonics?

Phonics is knowing what letter (or letter combination) makes what sound and in what context. When a child attempts to work out an unknown word, s/he will need to be able to identify the letters’ corresponding sounds. Our phonics activities are designed to target areas of need to help children progress.

Want to give your child a flying start but not sure where to start? Follow the Easy Teaching steps:

  1. Letter-Sound Knowledge
  2. Blends and Digraphs
  3. Long Vowel Patterns/Diphthongs


1) Letter Sounds

letter sound resources phonics activities

2) Blends & Digraphs

blends digraphs resources phonics activities

3) Long Vowel Patterns

long vowel patterns diphthongs phonics activities

Phonemic Awarenessphonemic awareness worksheets resources



 1) Letter-Sound Knowledge

To begin, children need to learn individual letter sounds. For vowels, that is their short sound (‘a’ as in apple, ‘e’ as in egg, ‘i’ as in insect, ‘o’ as in orange, ‘u’ as in up). For your child’s reference, print and display this Alphabet Chart.

  • This is something that can easily be incorporated into everyday life from a very young age. “Can you help me find a fruit starting with ‘b’. ‘I spy something beginning with…’
  • CVC words are perfect to use when working on basic letter-sound knowledge.


Letter-Sound Worksheets

letter sound alphabet worksheets

Letter Sound Worksheets

cvc word wheels

Letter Sound Spin Wheels

alphabet booklets phonics worksheets folding 

Alphabet Letter Booklets

letter sound cut paste worksheet

Letter Sound Cut & Paste

See our full collection of Letter-Sound Resources


2) Blends and Digraphs

Certain consonants ‘blend’ together. Once basic letter-sound knowledge has been learnt, recognising sounds of blends and digraphs is the next step in phonics . Head over to our Blends and Digraphs Page for more great phonics activities.

Blends are two letters that go together to make two distinct sounds. ‘tr’ is a blend. You can hear both the ‘t’ and the ‘r’ sound. There are also three letter blends such as ‘str’ and again, all three sounds can be heard.

Digraphs are two letters that combine to make a different, single sound, such as ‘sh’. Neither the sound ‘s’ nor ‘h’ can be heard. Other digraphs are ‘ch’, ‘th’ (hard as in ‘that’ and soft as in ‘thumb’), ‘ph’, ‘nk’ and ‘ng’.

  • Help your child come up with a short singable song line for each letter (‘br’ says /brr/, /brr/, /brr/, /brr/. The Broom is Broken. /brr/, /brr/, /brr/). Practise the rhymes. Make these into flash cards so your child can practise independently!
  • Focus on one (or two similar) blend or digraph at a time. Help your child to come up with words- “cr says /crr/. Can you think of any words that begin with ‘crr‘?”


Blend & Digraph Worksheets

blends worksheets

Blend & Digraph Worksheets

blends cut paste blends worksheets

Blend Cut and Paste

blends digraphs wordsearch blends worksheets

Word Searches

bookletBlend Booklets

See our full collection of Blends and Digraphs Worksheets


3) Long Vowel Patterns and Diphthongs

Long vowel patterns (or diphthongs) are two vowels joined together to form one sound. This is the next step in phonics instruction once your child has a solid understanding of blends and digraphs. Head over to Long Vowel Patterns page for more information and resources.

‘Bossy e’– a ‘bossy e’ changes a short vowel sound to long vowel sounds. For example, hop – hope.

Long vowel patterns– vowel can be combined to make different sounds (also known as diphthongs). In the table below, you can see the sounds that common vowel patterns make.

Long a sound Long e sound Long i sound Long o sound Long u sound
ai, ay, a_e ea, ee i_e, igh oa, o_e ew, u_e

Other vowel patterns:

oi and oy ou and ow Long oo and Short oo
  • Try focusing on one vowel pattern at a time. Help your child come up with rhyming words. “Can you think of any other words that rhyme with ‘train’?”
  • Use the board game ‘Upwords’ and replace the beginning letter to make new words.


Long Vowel Pattern Worksheets

long vowel sounds worksheets

Long Vowel Worksheets

long vowel cut paste long vowel sounds worksheets

Long Vowel Cut & Paste

long vowel posters long vowel sounds worksheets

Long Vowel Poster Displays

long vowel word wheels long vowel sounds worksheets

Long Vowel Word Wheels

See our full collection of Long Vowel Resources


More Phonics Resources

long vowel posters phonics activities

Long Vowel Pattern Posters

letter sound spin wheels phonics activities

CVC Spin Wheels

blends digraphs puzzles

Blends Digraphs Puzzles

letter sound worksheet phonics activities

Letter Sound Sheets


Back to Literacy Resources

Comments are closed