Phonics in Reception FS2

We have started daily Phonics sessions with the children.

We have started teaching the children the sounds that the letters make so they are able to recognise them both in books and around every environment they go in. We will also expect them to start using them in their own writing.

This video will help you know the exact sounds which each letter makes. It is important that these pure sounds are used.

We use the Jolly Phonics actions to support the children while they are learning the sounds each letter makes. We sing the song and do the action to make it easier for the children to remember them.


When we teach the letters and their sounds we teach them in an order which makes it easier to make words. First the children will learn s, a, t, p, i, n. Then they learn m, d, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss. These are all the letters and sounds they will learn in Phase 2.

Although it is important for the children to know the sounds the letters make it is also just as important for the children to be able to blend sounds together to make words. This means when you say to them the sounds they are able to make them into the word. At first the children will do this when they just hear the sounds. Children are expected to to be able to do this when they start Reception (FS2). As they get more confident with the letters they are expected to be able to read the letters themselves and blend them into words.

Examples of this:

c– a– t  is cat                  s–a–t  is sat

p–i–n  is pin                    g–o–t  is got

We also teach the children to read alien words which they are able to blend but make no sense.

Examples of these are:

s–e–c is sec                    h–i–b  is hib

d– u–p  is dup               l– e– c  is lec

Once the children are able to read words with Phase 2 sounds and also sound out to spell them we move onto Phase 3 letters and sounds, which include vowel digraphs (two letters, one sound). Children should be secure in reading and writing with Phase 3 sounds at the end of Reception (FS2)

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Picture taken from www.twinkl.co.uk

What can you do to help the learning at home?

  • Complete the Phonics homework each week. This will tell you which letters and sounds the children have been learning that week. 
  • Play the games on www.phonicsplay.co.uk which will help your child with their phonics skills. Good games to practise blending are Buried Treasure, Obb and Bob and Dragon’s Den. 
  • Look for letters everywhere and see if your child knows which sound they make. If you see words with the sounds they have learnt ask your child to help you read it. You can do this when you’re reading school reading books but also sometimes in other books you read together. Your child won’t be able to read the whole book but they can begin to help you. 

Please ask in school if you would like more help or there is anything you’re not sure about. We’re happy to help 🙂 




This Week’s Awards- Summer 1 Week 2

It has been lovely to see our Writer of the Week’s confidence grow. She has gone from not being too sure about writing and rarely having a go in her independent writing to now loving being able to spell a wide range of words. When she did the writing in this example she was only too happy to tell me all about the digraphs she had used and even underlined them to show where they are. We’ve been doing lots of learning focussed on remembering the digraphs in Letters and Sounds sessions. Its great to see not only has she remembered them, she is able to use them in her own learning showing she is really mastering them.


We’ve been doing lots of learning about patterns this week linked to the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Our Mathematician of the Week remembered what we’d been talking about and was able to apply it to making patterns at the Painting Easel. She could confidently make a repeating pattern using two colours.


Its been another fabulous week in Onyx Class 🙂


Our New Writing Journals

You might have heard about our new Writing Journals which we keep in our drawers in the classroom. If not ask your child about theirs and have a look in their drawer. Now we’re into the Summer term and starting to get ready for Year One we are practicing our writing more. Every week we have to write in our book at least once, although we can write in it every day if we want to. We can choose to write about anything we want. Every time we write in our book we get a special ‘writing journal’ ticket and it goes in the special box. On Friday we pull out a winner and they get a prize to take home. The more times you’ve written the better your chances of winning!

As you can see we have lots of things to help us when we write. Miss Parker and the other teachers don’t just expect us to have everything saved in our heads just yet!

  • We use a phoneme strip to help us remember our letters and sounds, especially the digraphs we have learnt. Digraphs are sounds with 2 letters such as ai, ee, ow, ar and or. We also learn trigraphs with 3 letters such as igh, ear and air.
  • We use tricky word books marks to help us remember the tricky words we have been practising in our reading such as I, go, no, the, into, she, be, me and my. If we’ve learnt to read them already then our reading can help us to write.
  • We use a sentence hand to help us remember fingers spaces and full stops. These can be hard to remember at first so the hand means we can use it make the space for us, this can be particularly helpful if you are left handed.
  • Finally, we use a sound button which means we can record our sentence before we try and write it. There is so much to remember when were trying to write out ideas down that it helps if the sound button can read our sentence back to us.

If you would like copies of any of these please ask in school and we’ll be able to get you copies of them all apart from the sound button. You could use the voice record function on your smart phone instead though.

At first the writing you see from your child might not look as you expect. This does not mean it is not ‘good’ writing. At first your child may just write letters they know and tell you the words they have written. To you they might not seem to have any links at all. Encourage them to read their writing back to you and praise them for mark making with meaning.

As writing skills develop, children will start to listen to the sounds in words and write the corresponding letters they know. They may miss a lot out to begin with but again this is developing their skills  in the correct direction. They may copy some words they know, such as their friends names.

As the children’s writing skills develop further you will be able to see how they are using some of the tricky words they know and beginning to use finger spaces in their writing. They will still be relying on their phonics skills to sound out (segment) and spell. They may know some other words which they are able to use.


By the end of the year the age related expectation (ARE) is that FS2 children are writing sentences which can be read back by others. They will still be reliant on phonics to spell but will be showing a better use of tricky words and using more digraphs/trigraphs more accurately. Children will be using finger spaces more and in the correct place. Their sentences will relate to the same subject and continue the story or information. Every child is different though and although these are examples of what children might be writing they are not the only way of doing it. 

If you would like to know more please ask the teachers in school and we can show you more examples and also some of the statements we use to asses writing in Foundation Stage.

What have we been learning? 

  • To write with more independence. 
  • To use our phonics skills to write. 
  • To use the other resources we have in the classroom to write. 

How can you help at home? 

  • Encourage your child to write. If your child is a reluctant writer try to make it relevant, such as them helping you to write the shopping list or writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy or other favourite character. 
  • Allow your child to write independently and then ask them what it says instead of asking them to copy write what you have written. 
  • Use the different resources there are available to help your child write. There is a lot to remember when writing, especially when you’re first starting out! 
  • Bring any writing your child does at home to school and display it on a WOW moment. We’d love to see how well they’re doing. 

Writing Instructions

This week we’ve been busy writing instructions for the Nursery children.

We read a non-fiction book called Pirates and it told us how to make treasure maps. We had to read the instructions carefully using all of our reading skills then we knew what to do. Once we knew what good instructions looked like we had a go at writing some instructions of our own. We decided the Nursery children would like to make pirate flags so this is what we wrote instructions for.

First we had to work out how to make a flag so we knew what to tell the Nursery children. We didn’t want them to get it wrong! So we could remember what to do, we took photos of each step.image

We used the sound buttons to remember the instructions we thought of. This helped us know what to write. When we write we like to THINK IT- SAY IT- WRITE IT-READ IT. This helps us to think what we want to say then say it out loud before we have to think about writing it.

After that, it was time to start writing our instructions. First, we looked at them as a whole class and Miss Parker helped us to remember everything. We even learnt about commas in a list! We wrote the first sentence together using all the skills we have from Letters & Sounds and using our sentence hand to remember the finger spaces and full stops.


So then it was time for some children to try and write the instructions themselves. They had a lot to remember but did a fantastic job. The children used the phoneme strips, sentence hands and tricky word bookmarks to help them if they needed them. Look at the amazing writing that was done…

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The children did an amazing job of using the sounds they know to spell the words. This might not be the correct spelling as we would know it but is what we would expect at the end of Reception. You can also see where these children are able to spell the tricky words such as ‘the’ correctly. These are the words we learn by sight in our reading.

Now, we need to send the instructions that have been written to Nursery and see if the children can follow them to make flags of their own.



Writing in our Writing Journals

Since the Easter holidays we’ve been enjoying improving our writing by writing in our new writing journals. We’re allowed to write in them everyday if we want but we have to write in them every week. Each time we write in them we get a special writing ticket which goes in the box. We only get tickets if we’ve done the very best writing that we can do. If our teachers think we can do better we have to start again.  On Friday we pull a ticket out of the box and that person wins a writing prize, such as a pen or pencil. The more writing you’ve done the more chance you’ve got of winning. image

Look at how hard we are concentrating. Can you see the phoneme strip that we use to remember what the letters look like?  Can you see the sentence hand that is being used to help us remember finger spaces? Here are big versions of them so you can see properly. The phoneme strip is from the Jolly Phonics scheme.


The children are making great progress in their writing and it is particularly lovely to see their confidence grow as they are expected to do more by themselves. They are really meeting the challenge as they get ready for Y1!


These are just a few examples. If you would like to look at your child’s you’ll find they’re writing journal in their drawer. You’re welcome to have a look but please put it back in their drawer when you’ve looked.

Don’t forget to complete a wow moment if your child impresses you with any writing at home. We’d love to see it in school.