Help with Reading and Spelling

EdPlace's Year 1 and 2 Home Learning: Segmenting and Blending

Looking for short lessons to keep your child engaged and learning? Our experienced team of teachers have created English, maths and science lessons for the home, so your child can learn no matter where they are. And, as all activities are self-marked, you really can encourage your child to be an independent learner. Get them started on the lesson below and then jump into our teacher-created activities to practice what they've learnt. We've recommended five to ensure they feel secure in their knowledge - 5-a-day helps keeps the learning loss at bay (or so we think!). Are they keen to start practising straight away? Head to the bottom of the page to find the activities. 

Now...onto the lesson!


KS1 Requirements for English
Year 1 and 2 should be able to apply phonic knowledge and skills as a route to decode words. Read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught.


Segmenting and Blending:

Understand how to help your child read and spell by segmenting and blending within phonics. Follow our easy guide that breaks down the barriers within phonics and helps you understand how the process works.

As adults we take reading for granted. We all know how to read but how many of us actually remember learning? The way schools teach children to read may have changed since you were at school and you have probably been faced with what feels like learning a new language. Phonics is a systematic way to teaching children to read and spell. As parents and carers, you best understand your own child’s communications; you are key in helping them to develop their speaking and listening skills. Let us help you gain a better understanding of phonics

Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between graphemes and phonemes, representing the sounds of language in written language.

Phonics breaks each word down into the smallest unit of sound, this is called a phoneme or more commonly a sound. The general rule is that anytime you change the shape of your mouth in any way, that is a new sound. Follow our easy guide to help understand how you do this, and you won’t be staring at your child wondering what language they are talking!

1) Understand how to break down and identify the correct sounds within a word.

2) Identify those sounds and be able to confidently read the word back to you and give it meaning.

3) Apply it to both reading and spelling unfamiliar words.


Step 1: Key Definitions

Before we get started it is important that both you and your child understand the terminology that is used when teaching phonics. Be aware that they will not need to know all of these at once. They will learn each one as they progress. But it is helpful to keep this word bank as a guide for you!

Phoneme- The smallest unit of sound. The separate sounds which are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word.

Graphemes - a symbol of a phoneme that is a letter or a group of letters representing a sound eg. ‘sh’ where the phoneme is the sound ‘sh’   and the graphemes are ‘s and h’ together used to represent the sound. 

Digraph - Two letters which make one sound. A consonant digraph contains two consonants

sh ck th ll

A vowel digraph contains at least one vowel

ai ee ar oy

Trigraph - Three letters which make one sound.

igh   dge

Split-digraph - A digraph in which the two letters making the sound are not adjacent (eg. make)

Step 2:  What is meant by Segmenting?

Segmenting is simply hearing and identifying the individual sounds in a spoken word. The whole word is spoken aloud and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order, through the word.

   h - i - m

In order to spell, a child must segment a word into sounds and choose a letter or letter combination to represent that sound. Remember the top tip here is to get your child to look in the mirror or watch your mouth as you say the word. Each time you change the shape of your mouth you are saying a new sound. Counting how many sounds in a word helps to identify them. You can do this in different ways, clapping, pinching fingertips or sometimes getting your child to talk like a robot can help to break them up. 

If we were looking at the word; dog we would segment this into d-o-g. We have found 3 sounds. 

It is important to remind your child that it is not the number of letters in a word, we are looking for the sounds. I promise you the children do pick this up easier than we do!

If we look at the word; sheep we segment this into sh-ee-p. The word has 3 sounds.


Step 3: What is meant by Blending?

Blending is the merging of sounds and is a vital skill for reading. It is simply the process of saying the sounds in a word out loud so that the child hears a recognisable sound.

    c-a-t = cat

Your child is hearing a series of spoken sounds and merging them together to make a spoken word. When children recognise the letter sounds in a written word and ‘sound talk’ these sounds to pronounce the word correctly. 

Segmenting and blending come hand in hand together. There have been many times children sound out a word like ‘p-i-g’ correctly and then say something like ‘dog’ after, as frustrating as this can be it is all part of the reading process. If your child is struggling to hear a recognisable word even though they have identified the sounds correctly, get them to listen to you doing it. Try getting them to say it slowly at first and then faster, just keep repeating the same sounds. It can take a while for this skill to develop. Children are often working so hard on what sounds they can hear they forget what sounds they have done by the time they get to the end of the word. Just keep it simple and keep practising.

Step 4: Practise makes perfect

Why not try putting this into practice. Sometimes it makes more sense once you have tried it yourself. A good activity to do to practise segmenting and blending is to count how many sounds within a word. Remind you child they are counting sounds not letters in a word. Some letters work together to make one sound (digraph). Remember to think about the movement of your mouth!

Count the sounds in these words;

1. Fox

2. Pin

3. It

4. Shell

Now try these:

1. Chick

2. Keep

3. From


Step 5: 

Now, we've covered this together why not assign your child the following 5 activities in this order to see how much they've grasped? 

All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked. Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level that's right for them. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together - brilliant!

Activity 1 - Segmenting Words 1

Activity 2 - Segmenting Words 2

Activity 3 - Blending Sounds

Activity 4 - Sounds and Blending

Activity 5 - Spelling: Find the Phonemes

Step 4 Answers:

1. 3 f-o-x

2. 3 p-i-n

3. 2 i-t

4. 3 sh-e-ll


1. 3 ch-i-ck

2. 3 k-ee-p

3. 4 f-r-o-m


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All English, maths and science from Year 1 - GCSE