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Gruffalo Class

Year 1


Can you remember what a phoneme is?

Yes, that is right, it is a sound.

Can you remember what a grapheme is?

Yes, that is right, it is a sound written down.

Can you remember what a digraph is? Yes, that is right, two letters making one sound.

Great! well remembered!..

In Year 1 everything starts to become a little more formal, as the freedom and play of Reception are replaced with more organised activities. Here are the topics your child will learn in their more structured English lessons.

Literacy is a daily lesson, made up of three aspects:

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Speaking and listening

Reading with your child Reading is probably the most important skill that your child will learn in primary school. It opens up a whole new world of learning and imagination. The more you help them at home, the easier they will find it to develop this vital skill. Here, we offer some pointers on the best ways to support and encourage your child as they learn to read.

When you share a book with your child at home, you are showing them that you think reading matters. You are giving them your full attention and that tells them that reading is a special activity that is worth time and trouble. Setting aside time to support them is the single most important thing you can do to help them learn.

Enjoying books together is the best way to start your child reading. Let them learn to read at their own pace, and if in doubt, ask the teacher for advice. If you support your child’s reading and extend their interests and reading habits, you will have given them the best start in life!

As beginning the journey of the little reader:

They will learn some new graphemes for reading.

They will also be taught alternative pronunciations for known graphemes. For example, they have already learned ow as in cow and will now learn ow as in blow.

In addition, they will learn alternative spellings for known phonemes. For example, the sound /igh/ has been learned as the grapheme igh as in ‘night’, but can also be spelled y, ie, and i-e.

Year 1 is a foundation year for spelling, with children being taught important spelling patterns and exception words as well as how split digraphs work.

Tricky words year 1


Remember phonemes are only the sounds made, phonemes can be made of more than one letter. A grapheme is a symbol used to identify a phoneme; it’s a letter or group of letters representing the sound. Children in year 1 should be able to read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence) that have been taught. 


ay – day, play, crayon

ey - donkey, turkey, valley
ou – cloud, sound, about
ie – pie, tie, cried
ea – sea, meat, read
oy – toy, enjoy, boy

oo - pool, good, soon
ir – bird, shirt, first
ue – blue, true, glue
aw – paw, claw, yawn
wh – wheel, whisper, when
ph – photo, dolphin, alphabet
ew – new, crew, flew
oe – toe, foe, tomatoes
au – Paul, launch, haul
a-e – make, game, snake
e-e – these, Eve, extreme
i-e – like, time, slide
o-e – home, bone, pole
u-e – rule, June, flute

Phase 5 tricky words:

oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, could

New graphemes for reading

Phase 5 phonics programme

Useful Tip

Split digraphs are introduced in Phase 5.

a-e  e-e  i-e  o-e  u-e

Children will learn that the ‘e’ on the end causes the initial vowel to make the longer vowel sound rather than the shorter one.

E.g.  ay  ee  igh  ow  oo

More ways you can support your child

Encourage your child to write as many sounds/words as possible in a set amount of time.

Expose children to a wider range of stories which include longer texts.

Help your child learn about sentence types through these grammar activities and fun grammar games.

Phonics game: Find it, cut it, stick it!


Why read to your child?

Report shows that the happiest children come from families who:

  • Read for fun most days

  • Share meals times and talk together

  • Cut down TV viewing

  • Do things together, visit local places: farms, parks, museums

  • Teach their children new skills and knowledge: cooking, drawing, music, sports, listen to each other.


Choosing books:

Join your local library and choose some books that reflect things your child is shown interest in such as dinosaurs, trains, etc.

10 things children learn when you read aloud stories and poems everyday

  • By hearing you read aloud stories and poems your child would develop a love of reading and without any teaching they learn to build pictures in their minds from the words on the page.

  • Understand humour and irony.

  • Use new words and phrases in different contexts and later in writing.

  • Learn new vocabulary and knowledge of the world.

  • Think about characters' feelings and use appropriate voices.

  • Follow a plot with all its twist and turns.

  • Understand suspense and predict what's about to happen next.

  • Link sentences and ideas from one passage to the next.

  • Use punctuation to make meaning.

  • Appreciate rhythm and rhyme

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