Print this page..
Banner Link to Catalogue Link to Parent & Teacher guide Link to Free Resources

Learning the letter sounds

In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet. The sounds are in seven groups. In synthetic phonics some sounds are written with two letters, such as ee and or. These are called digraphs. Note that oo and th can make two different sounds, as in book and moon, that and three. To distinguish between the two sounds, these digraphs are represented in two forms. This is shown below.

seven letter sounds

Each sound has an action which helps children remember the letter(s) that represent it. As a child progresses you can point to the letters and see how quickly they can do the action and say the sound. One letter sound can be taught each day. As a child becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary.

Children should learn each letter by its sound, not its name. For instance, the letter a should be called a (as in ant) not ai (as in aim).  Similarly, the letter n should be nn (as in net), not en. This will help in blending. The names of each letter can follow later.

The letters have not been introduced in alphabetical order. The first group (s,a,t,i,p,n) has been chosen because they make more simple three-letter words than any other six letters. The letters b and d are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.

Sounds that have more than one way of being written are initially taught in one form only. For example, the sound ai (train) is taught first, and then the alternative ae (gate) and ay (day) follow later.

For more information on Jolly Phonics products visit our Products section.