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This page has been designed for parents to support their children in learning to read.


To learn to read children need to:

  • learn 44 sounds (phonemes) and the corresponding letters/letter groups (graphemes).

  • learn to read words using sound blending.



These first sounds should all be stretched slightly. Try to avoid saying uh after each one e.g. /mm/ not muh, /ss/ not suh, /ff/ not fuh.

  • m – mmmmmmountain (keep lips pressed together hard)

  • s – sssssnake (keep teeth together and hiss – unvoiced)

  • n – nnnnnnet (keep tongue behind teeth)

  • f – ffffflower (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out sharply – unvoiced)

  • l – llllleg (keep pointed curled tongue behind teeth).

  • r – rrrrrrobot (say rrr as if you are growling)

  • v – vvvvvvulture (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out gently)

  • z – zzzzzzig zzzzzag (keep teeth together and make a buzzing sound)

  • th – thhhhank you ( stick out tongue and breathe out sharply)

  • sh – shhhh (make a shhh noise as though you are telling somebody to be quiet!)

  • ng – thinnnnngg on a strinnnngg (curl your tongue at the back of your throat)

  • nk – I think I stink (make a piggy oink noise without the oi! nk nk nk)


These next sounds cannot be stretched. Make the sound as short as possible avoiding uh at the end of the sound:

  • t – (tick tongue behind the teeth – unvoiced)

  • p - (make distinctive p with lips – unvoiced)

  • k – (make sharp click at back of throat)

  • c - as above

  • h – (say h as you breathe sharply out – unvoiced)

  • ch- (make a short sneezing sound)

  • x – (say a sharp c and add s – unvoiced)


You will find it harder to avoid saying uh at the end of these sounds.

  • d – (tap tongue behind the teeth).

  • g – (make soft sound in throat).

  • b –(make a short, strong b with lips).

  • j – (push lips forward).

  • y – (keep edges of tongue against teeth).

  • w – (keep lips tightly pursed).

  • qu – (keep lips pursed as you say cw – unvoiced).


The children are taught the Set 1 Speed Sound cards in the following order:


m a s d t, i n p g o, c k u b, f e l h sh, r j v y w, th z ch qu x ng nk


For extra ideas go to :


Helping your Child with Phonics
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