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Questions and Answers from Families

When do children learn the different sounds? 

In Reception, children learn new graphemes in phases 2 and 3 of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. They will also cover Phase 4, which children learn to read longer words including those with adjacent consonants.

This document gives you a full overview of what is taught and when throughout your child’s phonics learning journey.

Your child’s homework will show you which sounds have been introduced the previous week.

Can you explain the different vocabulary used?

The main terminology every day we use are:

Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound that can be identified in words. We sometimes simply call this a ‘sound’, although it is helpful for children to use the term ‘phoneme’ from the beginning of our programme. (Note: We do not usually notice discrete sounds in words. We deliberately separate them out so that children can learn how our writing–reading system works. Children are first helped to identify the separate sounds in words through oral blending and segmenting, and this is reinforced as they begin to work through our systematic synthetic phonics programme.)

Grapheme - A letter or group of letters used to represent a particular phoneme when writing. With children, we sometimes call this ‘a sound written down’, although, as with ‘phoneme’, it is helpful for children to learn to use the correct term from the beginning. The way graphemes are used to represent phonemes in our written language is known as the ‘alphabetic code’.

Digraph - A grapheme using two letters to represent one phoneme. With children, we frequently reinforce it with the mantra ‘two letters, one sound’, for example, /ai/ as in the word ‘rain’. 

Trigraph - A grapheme using three letters to represent one phoneme. With children, we frequently

reinforce it with the mantra ‘three letters, one sound’, for example, the /igh/ in ‘light’.

Split vowel digraph - A digraph representing a vowel sound where its two letters are split by an intervening consonant (for example, ‘a_e’ in ‘take’). Despite having a consonant in between them, the two letters involved (here ‘a’ and ‘e’) still count as one digraph, making one sound. The vowel sound is pronounced at the position of the first of the two letters of the digraph (that is, in the middle of ‘take’). At early learning stages, a split digraph is often highlighted with a short line joining the two halves of the digraph above the intervening consonant, as shown below.

Blend - To combine individual phonemes into a whole word, working all the way through from

left to right, for example, c-a-t > cat

Segment - To identify each of the individual phonemes in a word, working all the way through from left to right. This is an important first stage of writing (spelling) a word but needs to be practised orally first. Counting the phonemes is often helpful in reinforcing this process. For example, cat > c-a-t


Here is a more extensive list of vocabulary your child will encounter in phonics:

Collin's ebooks

What is the Collin's ebook?

This is the book your child has been reading in school. Each week we study the same book over three days. On the first day we concentrate on decoding (sounding out and blending the words). On the second day we learn to read with prosody (reading with rhythm, stress and intonation). On the third day we work on comprehension. By the end of the week your child will be really confident reading this book and be able to tell you lots about the content. We hope you and your child enjoy sharing these books.


How do I get on the Collin’s ebooks?

To access your child's ebook, go to:

You can find your child’s username and password on the inside cover of their reading record. All children have been assigned a book so please let us know if you have any issues at:


Is there an app to use on mobiles and tablets?

Yes! The Collins eBooks app is available for iOS from the App Store and for android devices on the Google
Play Store. The app is free to download, and you can log in using the same details.

When using the app, you can download books to your device, after which you can then access them
without needing to be connected to the internet.


Is there a Collin's ebook step-by-step guide?

Please find the step-by-step guide below.