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How can I tell how many sounds my child knows?

Recognising GPCs

Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound in a word

Grapheme - a letter or group of letters that represent a sound.

When letters (graphemes) are used to represent sounds (phonemes) we call them grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs).

In this game, you are looking to see if your child can see a letter and tell you the sound because this helps with reading. We also want to see if they can hear a sound and point to the letter because this helps with writing and spelling.

Beat the Clock

This game is a fun way to see how many GPCs they know rather than just holding up the flashcards.

Version 1 - say the sound

Place the sound cards in a circle around a clock. If you don't have a clock, just set them out in a circle. Set a timer (e.g. on your phone/Alexa) for one minute. Can your child say all of the sounds before the timer runs out? Help them with any they don't recognise. This will give you an idea of how many GPCs they recognise and let you know any they need to practise.

Version 2 - flip the letter

Set the game up in the same way, but this time you say the sound then get your child to turn over the matching letter so that it is face down. Say the sounds in any order rather than going in a clockwise direction around the circle.

Phase 2: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

Phase 3: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

Phase 5a: ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e

Tricky Word Version - You can also play this game using the Phase 2 tricky words. These words have a tricky part which breaks the rules/hasn't been taught yet so we want children to recognise them by sight. This will give you an idea of how confident your child is with the tricky words and let you know any that they need to practise.

Common Mistakes

Sounding out each letter in a digraph. A digraph is where two letters work together to make one sound e.g. sh. This makes the sh sound, they don't need to say each sound s-h. Digraphs and trigraphs on the flashcards are underlined to remind your child that the letters are working together to make one sound.

Mixing up similar letters e.g. n and h, b and d. This is a common error and I filmed a video to explain why children sometimes confuse or reverse letters.

This noughts and crosses game is a great way to support your child with letter reversals. Click the picture for more details. The Handwriting Club activities are designed to support children with letter formation.

How can I support my child?

The Reception support packs are a great resource if your child is finding it tricky to remember some of the Phase 2 sounds or tricky words. Put up to 6 sounds in the first pocket and read them with your child every day. If they recognise the sound move the card to the next pocket. Repeat until the card is in the last pocket and your child is able to read it.

The support pack is available to order and includes assessment sheets, phonics bookmarks, stickers, a dry wipe pocket and a pocket chart that fits the Reception flashcards. I have recorded a video to explain how to use the support packs to support your child.


Reception Sounds

Year 1 Sounds

Reception Support Pack


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