er - you have a letter!

Updated: May 5, 2020

This Phase 3 phoneme is a digraph, where the two letters make one sound and is often found at the end of words.

Example words: hammer, letter, rocker, ladder, supper, dinner, boxer, better, summer and banner.

I set this activity up so that it was ready and waiting for Sophie. I put the 'er' sound card, a phoneme spotter story from Twinkl, a highlighter and a note in an envelope with her name on. The Twinkl website is free at the moment and has stories for lots of different phonemes.

Sophie spotted the letter with her name on and was really excited to open it. The phonics session started without me even asking!


Sophie read the letter out loud. The video shows how she sounded out an unfamiliar word and blended the sounds to read the word. If a word has 2 syllables, encourage them to sound out and blend the first syllable and then the next one.

Sophie read through the story and highlighted the 'er' sound as she spotted them. This activity reminds children to look out for digraphs so that they segment the units of sound rather than the individual letters e.g. for mermaid you would sound out m-er-m-ai-d rather than m-e-r-m-a-i-d.

I also put a piece of plain paper and a felt tip pen into an envelope for Benji in case he wanted to join in and he sat with us and drew some pictures.


I put some notepaper, envelopes and a selection of pens on the table and asked Sophie if she wanted to write a letter to someone. We sounded out 'letter' and heard the 'er' sound at the end of the word.

Sophie set me a challenge like I had given her. I helped her think of words containing the 'er' sound and she wrote them down for me. Then I highlighted the sounds. We talked about how 'words' sounds like it has the 'er' sound in it but I showed her my letter and said that it is spelled with 'or'.

It doesn't matter what they choose to write in their letter. This purpose of this activity is to show that writing has a purpose.

By this stage of the activity, Benji got bored and headed off to the toy boxes I had left out for him. Children tend to have the attention span of their age plus 2 minutes. So a phonics session shouldn't be too long. At school I include a little bit more at the beginning and end and a session lasts about 15-20 minutes. I would aim for 10 -15 minutes at home but carry on for longer if they are engaged and enjoying it.

I have left the notepaper and envelopes on the side so that she can access them again later in the week if she wants to.

If you have a go at this activity and share any photos on social media tag @miniwritersclub and I will share them on my IG.


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