Teaching approaches

See how Letters and Sounds introduces new graphemes through reading rather than teaching mnemonics. Find out how you can use the word lists to build children’s skills and understanding throughout the 30-week programme.

New graphemes for reading

As children become faster at blending, and can read more words automatically, many will learn new graphemes in the course of their reading. These new graphemes are not taught but quickly introduced through high-frequency words such as those suggested in the list. It is important that all children know the following graphemes.

  • 'ay' – as in 'day'
  • 'ou' – as in 'out'
  • 'ie' – as in 'tie'
  • 'ea' – as in 'eat'
  • 'oy' – as in 'boy'
  • 'ir' – as in 'girl'
  • 'ue' – as in 'blue'
  • 'aw' – as in 'saw'
  • 'wh' – as in 'when'
  • 'ph' – as in 'photo'
  • 'ew' – as in 'new'
  • 'oe' – as in 'toe'
  • 'au' – as in 'Paul'
  • 'a-e' – as in 'make'
  • 'e-e' – as in 'these'
  • 'i-e' – as in 'like'
  • 'o-e' – as in 'home'
  • 'u-e' – as in 'rule'.

Which words to use

The lists of suggested words and sentences can be used to help children practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. You don't need to work through these lists word for word, but you can select from them as needed when following the suggested activities. Automatic and effortless reading of all words – decodable and 'tricky' – is the ultimate goal.