Kirk Langley Church of England (VC)Primary School

Kirk Langley Church of England (VC)Primary School

Reception Phonics

Helpful Phonics Vocabulary

Digraph — two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.


Vowel digraphs comprise of two vowels which, together, make one sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow.


Split digraph — two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site.


Grapheme — a letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, ch, igh, ough (as in 'though').


Grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) — the relationship between sounds and the letters which represent those sounds; also known as 'letter-sound correspondences'.


Mnemonic — a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a snake shaped like the letter 'S'. 


Phoneme — the smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters 'sh' represent just one sound, but 'sp' represents two (/s/ and /p/).


Blend — to put, or blend together the individual phonemes in a word in order to read it.


Segment  — to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word 'cat' has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/.


VC, CVC, CCVC — the abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of letters in words, e.g. am, Sam, slam.


Compound word - when two small words are joined together to make one new word, e.g. sunshine, rainbow, skateboard, butterfly.

Phase 2

During this phase your child will learn the sound (phoneme) for each letter (grapheme). This is known as 'grapheme-phoneme correspondence,' or the relationship between sounds and the letters that represent those sounds. In this phase, we use the actions of Jolly Phonics to help embed the learning of those sounds.

Jolly Phonics Phase Two

Phase 3/4/5

In these phases, the children begin to learn more complex graphemes such as digraphs (e.g. sh, ch, ue), trigraphs (e.g. igh, air, ear) and split digraphs (e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e). Children will progress through the new digraphs in Phase 3, to Phase 4 where they learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants such as frog, swim, clap, jump, and on to Phase 5 which is the more "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.


Below are examples of some digraphs and trigraphs with the accompanying actions that we teach in school.


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Put you finger on your lips as if you were asking someone to be quiet.


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Put your thumb out to say "Thank you".


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With your elbows at 90 degrees by your side, imitate the wheels of a chugging train moving very quickly.


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Make your hands into duck beaks. "Quack, quack".


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Hold your nose to stop the stink.