Letters and sounds

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Additional Activities for Phases 5 & 6

Johanna Gregory, CLLD Consultant (Liverpool LA)

Jinnie Payne, CLLD Consultant (Sefton LA)

Ruth Robson, CLLD Consultant (Cheshire LA)

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:

Activity 1

Teaching further graphemes for reading.

  • To teach four new graphemes a week.

  • This game can be played using any of the new digraphs / graphemes that are introduced in phase 5.

Apply and Practice games – Pirates Ahoy!!

  • To read prepared sentences with ‘ay’ graphemes in.

  • To read words with ‘ay’ grapheme in.

Practice game:

  • All children will need a bag with gold coins in with nonsense and real words on for sorting, a treasure chest and a bin. The words on the coins should relate to the digraph that you are teaching that day. The children can share a bag between two children and can pair up with mixed ability children. The children sort them into the correct groups and teacher checks as they are sorting them. Making sure the children are using their blending and segmenting skills to read the words. Teacher asks the children to sound talk the words to the children.

Words – day, play, may, say, stray, clay, spray, tray, and crayon, delay (Page 151 of Letters and Sounds)

Nonsense words – vay, zay, eay, shay, chay, thay, spay, cay etc.
Apply game:

  • The teacher (initially, a child could then be the pirate when they are familiar with the game) pretends to be the pirate (wearing a pirate hat and patch).

  • Each child has a prepared sentence to read out containing a word or two that has that days ‘new grapheme’ in it e.g ‘ay’. - ‘Is today Friday?’ or ‘Do you go to school in the holidays?’ ‘Can you pay with chocolate?’; ‘Are puppies playful?’

  • The child reads out their sentence and has to decide whether it is a true or false statement

  • If it is a true sentence, after they have read it out they say ‘Ie, ie Captain’. If it is a false statement they put

their arm out in front of them and say ‘Walk the plank!’
The teacher can direct questioning at individual children in this session to check their understanding.

Lesson can be taught as a whole class but questions and words can be tailored to meet the individual needs of the children. Pair the children up with a buddy who is from a different ability group so they can help each other.


Gold coins, bin, chest, nonsense and sensible words / sentences.

Optional - Pirate hat, eye patch.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:

Activity 2

Teaching further graphemes for reading.

  • To teach four new graphemes a week.

  • This game can be played using any of the new digraphs / graphemes that are introduced in phase 5.

Revisit and review / Apply game - Pass the bomb!!

  • Children read words / sentences related to previous days learning in revisit/ review. In the application children can read words/ sentences related to their new days learning.

  • Children sit in a circle and each child (or pair of children) has a prepared word/sentence to read out.

  • They have to keep hold of the bomb until they have read the sentence and then pass it to the next person in the circle.

  • The game finishes when the bomb explodes.

  • This game can also be done with individual children as a game to see how many words they can read before the bomb explodes.

Words and sentences can be made easier or harder depending on the ability of the children.

Ticking Bomb from the children’s game ‘Pass the bomb’ (ticking clock and alarm could be used),

Words and sentences relating to prior learning or that day’s learning.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:
Activity 3

Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.

Practice - Frog Lily Pad game.
Practice game – teaching alternative spellings for the grapheme ‘ai’.

  • This game can be played indoors or outdoors.

  • Pre-made laminated lily pads with the digraphs ai, ay, a-e, a and ey printed/written on them (this can be played with any phoneme that can be represented by different graphemes).

  • This can be played with a class or group of children.

  • There is a child who is a master frog who wears a frog mask.

  • The rest of the children are baby frogs who are sat in a circle (like a pond). The laminated lily pads are in the middle of the circle. Each child in the circle has a grapheme card e.g. p, r.

  • The aim of the game is to spell words representing the different phoneme /ay/.
  • The teacher will say a word containing an /ay/ phoneme e.g. train.

  • The master frog has to jump on the corresponding correct grapheme – ai

  • The baby frogs have to stand up if they are holding a grapheme card that is represented in the word the teacher has said – train – t, r, n

  • The frogs then have to order themselves in position to make the word – train.

Words – train, drain, spray, crayon, bacon, apricot, acorn, made, cake, they, obey. (Words from Letters and Sounds page 154 and 155.)

Phoneme cards needed - b,c,d,m,n,o,p,r,s,t,th,

All children can play the game the less able children can be targeted with easier words and using the phase 3 digraph ai only.

Laminated lily pads with ai,ay,ey,a-e,ey and a on them.

Phoneme cards laminated, frog mask.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:

Activity 4

Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.

Practice game - Word Relay!

  • This is an outdoor activity or in the hall where there is enough space for the children to run about. The class is split into two teams of mixed ability. Each team has the same set of words with graphemes from phase 5 in; there should be enough words for one each. Each member of the team have to read the words as quickly as they can by sound talking them out, blending the word together and then showing it to their team members. They then run the relay passing the baton when they return (for children in phase 3 they can do the action with what is written on the card simple cvc words like hop, run etc would be appropriate). You can adapt this activity by doing different relays. The team that has read the words and ran the quickest are the winners.

Children of all abilities can do this activity again just differentiating the words for the more and less able.

A baton for the race.

Words relating to the grapheme you are teaching. Teaching the ‘ou’ grapheme words used would be out, about, cloud, scout, found, proud, sprout, sound, loudest and mountain. (Letters and Sounds page 151.)

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:

Activity 5
Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.

Teach game – Building words!

  • This game involves word building with different graphemes. The graphemes being used in this activity are ie, igh, i-e, I, y. This activity can be used on the smart board (drag and drop activity) or in a PowerPoint presentation where the children have to select the correct grapheme. The children have to figure out which grapheme representation should be dropped into the word. Picture clues can help the children with these words. This could be carried out as a small group focus activity with picture cards, phoneme cards or magnetic letters and the different graphemes of ‘ie’.

  • The words used could be pie, tie, cried, fried, sky, spy, pine, slide, prize, high. (Letters and Sounds page 156).

Children of all abilities can do this activity again just differentiating the words for the more and less able.

Magnetic letters, phoneme cards, words relating to the grapheme(s) if more than one, pictures, smart board or PowerPoint with the activity already prepared.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:

Activity 6
Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.

Practice game – Generation game!
Teaching the alternative way of spelling with the phoneme /r/.

  • This game would be taught after the children had been introduced to the ‘wr’ grapheme.

  • The children will be shown objects (floating past them on a table) or pictures on the smart board that go off the page. This can be played to the music.

  • The need to explain the meaning of the words is important in this activity.

  • Show the children pictures of a wren, wrench, wreck, robber, rocket and carrot. The children have to remember the objects (only use 3-4 objects initially and build up as they become more familiar with the game). The objects are then taken away from the children and the children write down the objects in a list format. The child(ren) that has(ve) written down them all with correct spellings is the winner.

  • Encourage children to sound talk the word before spelling it.

Pictures or objects of a wren, wrench, wreck, robber, rocket and carrot.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities:
Activity 7
Word reading activities
Apply game – Who Wants to be a Millionaire!

  • Using the prepared sentences (page 159 form Letters and Sounds) on the smart board/PowerPoint presentation to play the game show format.

  • The children can be chosen to work individually or as a team.

  • They have to read the questions and the answers and choose the three right answers.
  • The children should have the options of choosing a friend, asking the class or 50/50. The teacher acts as Chris Tarrant. Music and effects can be added from the show.

Limit the number of correct answers for the less able and pitch at the phase they are working at. For the more able extend the wording in the questions by challenging various words and answers.

Questions and answers on page 159 of Letters and Sounds. For e.g. Which of these are days of the week? Sunday, Thursday, Tuesday, September.

PowerPoint presentation or Smart board with the questions and three right answers on.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities

Activity 8
Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.
Alternative spellings for the phoneme ee/ea.

Apply game – Guess the Phrase!

  • The aim of this game is to write the correct phrase to a simple picture.

  • The teacher is allowed to give the children verbal clues. For example a picture showing a girl with a sweet, the children have to write the caption, 'She has a sweet’.

  • This can be done with other pictures containing the ee phonemes. For e.g. ‘Mum is in a green field’.

  • The teacher shows the picture, the children have time to discuss with a partner then write a simple caption. The teacher asks the children to show her/him the caption and gives more clues if needed

  • If the children give the correct caption the teacher shows the children the correct sentence and the children read it. More words can be found on page 151 in Letters and Sounds containing the ee/ea phonemes.

Whiteboards, pens, sponges

Sentences with the correct caption on and pictures.

Phase 5 Phonic Activities

Activity 9
Teaching alternative spellings for each phoneme.
Revise/Revisit game - Golden River!

  • Children are sat in a circle or are stood on one side of the golden river.

  • They each have a prepared sentence that contains the /ee/, /ai/ or /igh/ phoneme. These phonemes are represented by alternative graphemes e.g. for /ee/ phoneme it may be represented by ee or ea.

  • The sentences can be differentiated to be phase 3/4 or 5 sentences (see below).

  • Firstly, the children read their sentence

  • The class all say together “ Master, Master can I cross the golden river?”

  • The teacher replies ‘Only if your sentence has a word that has the /ee/ sound/phoneme in it. Or the /ai/ phoneme in it. Or the /igh/ phoneme in it.

  • If the child’s sentence contains that phoneme, they can then jump over the golden river.

I have a sweet. (Phase 3)

She is up the tree. (Phase 3)
Paul eats peas with his meat. (Phase 5)

Children like the seaside. (Phase 5)

Mum gave us a few grapes as a treat. (Phase 5)
I went to Spain. (Phase 3)

I am a pain. (Phase 3)

I like the rain. (Phase 3)
Kay must pay for her new bike. (Phase 5)

We can bake a pie today. (Phase 5)

The boys shout as they play outside. (Phase 5)
It is night. (Phase 3)

I had a fight. (Phase 3)

The swing is high. (Phase 3)
Soup is a healthy kind of food. (Phase 5)

You can tie up things with string. (Phase 5)

We could fly to Africa in a plane. (Phase 5)

Use phase 3 or phase 5 sentences

Mixed ability partners


Golden river material/paper

Prepared sentences

Phase 6 Activities

Phase 6 Phonic Activities
Activity 1
To teach and reinforce understanding and application of the ‘s’ and ‘es’ suffixes for the past tense.
Teach – Clap Clap game

  • Tell the children that you are going to say some words and they are going to clap the syllables e.g. ash, cup, pen, boy, bush, fox (words written on board)

  • Tell the children that you are going to say the words as plural e.g. ashes, cups, pens, boys, bushes, foxes, and they are going to clap syllables

  • Can children come up with a rule for ‘s’ and ‘es’.

  • An additional clap makes it ‘es’

  • Use flashcards for ‘s’ and ‘es’ – ask children to hold up the correct ending for words given


Children of all abilities can do this activity. Just differentiate the words for more and less able.


Useful list of words



































































Phase 6 Phonic Activities
Activity 2
To practise identifying the ‘ed’ ending in words.

Teach – ‘Have you spotted it?’ game

  • Ask the children to think of an example of a verb in the past tense. Review the fact that the past tense is normally represented by ‘ed’.

  • Explain that you are going to read a story that is written in the past tense. They need to spot the ‘ed’ endings by listening carefully and holding up their cards when they hear one.

  • Tally on the board every time the children indicate an ‘ed’ ending and then count them up.
  • Display an enlarged copy of the text and count how many ‘ed’ words there are. Compare this to the number suggested by the children and talk about any words that caught them out.

Whole class can participate and can work in pairs to access less able children.

Enlarged text in past tense

Flashcards with ‘ed’

Phase 6 Phonic Activities
Activity 3
To understand how words are changed when ‘er’ and ‘est’ are added.

Teach – ‘I can do it’

  • Using three children demonstrate - tall, taller, tallest, and write on flipchart in three columns. Highlight the endings.

  • Inside or outside, act out action words:

    • quick, quicker, quickest

    • slow, slower, slowest

    • sad, sadder, saddest

    • fast, faster, fastest

    • cold, colder, coldest

    • high, higher, highest

  • Add action words to the three columns on flipchart. Can they recognise the suffixes?

  • Display flipchart on wall for children to add to.

Lesson can be taught as a whole class but questions can be tailored to meet the individual needs of children

Flipchart, highlighters

Phase 6 Phonic Activities
Activity 4
To help children understand past tense.

Teach – Human Dominoes

  • Each child has a flashcard with a present tense verb on the right hand side and a past tense verb on the left, e.g.





  • Choose one child to begin by calling out the present tense verb on their domino. The child who has the past tense form of that verb calls it out and stands next to the first child.

  • The activity finishes when all the children have had a turn.

All children can access this activity through selecting dominoes to match children’s ability
Domino flashcards

Useful list of words:

land/landed, want/wanted, sort/sorted, start/started, roast/roasted, load/loaded, turn/turned, live/lived, call/called, name/named, laugh/laughed, hiss/hissed, wash/washed, rock/rocked, help/helped, jump/jumped

Phase 6 Phonic Activities

Activity 5
Making plurals of words ending in ‘y’.

Teach – ‘Spot the ending’

  • Teach the rule of adding ‘s’ or ‘ies’ using examples. Words ending in ‘y’ – add ‘s’ if the final letter is preceded by a vowel, if not, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’.

  • Say the word and children hold up flashcard with ‘s’ or ‘ies’

fly, try, fairy, story, party, donkey, monkey, boy, day, key, tray

Children can work in pairs.

Flashcards, board/flipchart

Phase 6 Phonic Activities
Activity 6
To use the apostrophe to spell shortened forms of words.

Teach – ‘Headlines’

  • Display newspaper headlines which feature contraction apostrophes.

  • Highlight the apostrophes.

  • Teach the use of the apostrophe.

  • Invite children to try placing apostrophes in words already contracted, but with the apostrophe removed.

  • Emphasise that the apostrophe represents missing letters and not the joining of two words

  • List the full forms and invite the children (in pairs) to contract the words using whiteboards. Also, try this vice versa – offer the children the contracted word and invite them to expand.

Work in pairs.
Useful words

do not


I had


she is/has




I would


he is/has


is not


I have


it is/has


does not


I will


there is/has


will not


I am


we are


you are


we are


you have




are not


had not


have not


could not


were not


Newspaper headlines, whiteboards and pens

Useful Publications

Spelling Bank

Lists of Words and Activities for the KS2 Spelling Objectives

DfES Ref. 0086/2001

Module 3: Word Level Work

NLS Literacy Training Pack (Lunch Box) (1998)

Year 2 and Year 3

Planning Exemplification and Spelling Programme

DfES Ref. 0493-2003

(Can be downloaded from the ‘Playing with Sounds’ CD-Rom)

Letters & Sounds – Additional Activities for Phases 5 & 6/April 2008

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