Part 1: learning the letter sounds

Learning the letter sounds

All words are made up of sounds. There are 40+ sounds in English but only 26 letters that are used to represent these sounds. For reading and writing the children need to be fluent at saying the sounds that go with the letters.

The sound sheets in the Phonics Handbook provide the starting point for this teaching. (They are located in ‘Photocopy Section 2’ of the Jolly Phonics Handbook).  Initially only one way of writing each sound is taught. Afterwards the main alternatives are covered. For example, in the beginning the ‘ai’ as in ‘rain’ is taught. Later on, once this has been mastered, the alternatives ‘ay’ as in ‘day’ and ‘a-e’ as in ‘came’ are taught.

There are 42 letter sounds on the Sound Sheets. (43 letter sounds are listed, but c and k are the same letter sound.) Each sheet has plenty of activity; a suggested storyline, a picture to colour, an action, words containing the sound and a line to practice writing the letters(s) on.

Young children learn particularly quickly when there is activity involved. By doing an action for each letter sound, the children are using body movement, ears, eyes and speech, to help them remember. This multi-sensory approach is a very effective way of teaching, as well as being fun for the children. There should be an early concentration on learning the letter sounds.