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Alphabet and Phonics

Learn letters and phonetic sounds by assigning letters and phonetic sounds to cars and then driving them around your Hippo Mat™!

Phonics means using letter sounds to help you read words.

Most schools in the UK now teach reading through phonics. The reason phonics is so widely used is that research shows it works! That’s why the official school curriculum says that children need to be taught to read using a systematic phonics system.

In pre-school or nursery, before they even start learning letter names and sounds, children begin developing their listening skills so that they are tuned into the different sounds in words.

Then, usually in reception or year/primary one, the letters of the alphabet are introduced in a set order, and children learn one sound for each letter. At that point, they can sound out and read simple, short words like ‘c-a-t, cat’ and ‘s-u-n, sun’. Next, children learn that some letters make different sounds when you put them together, like ‘sh’, ‘ee’ and ‘ai’.

Once they’ve learned to read words with the most common letter-sound combinations, children move on to learn lots of alternative combinations. They practise reading increasingly complex words. By the time they finish their first year, most children will be well on the way to reading pretty much any familiar word in English! In their second year, children develop their skills still further, practising using phonics to read and spell words that are less familiar and more challenging.

Of course, while all this is going on, children are also learning to understand and enjoy what they read! From nursery and beyond, teachers share wonderful stories and non-fiction books with children and encourage them to think about, talk about and enjoy their reading.

Alphabet and Numbers Sheet Download:
Hold down or right click on the image to save it, where you'll then be able to print it from your device
Phonics Sheet Download:
Hold down or right click on the image to save it, where you'll then be able to print it from your device

1. Print your selected sheet (or even write onto plain paper/card)
2. Cut out each square
stick to your play vehicles (or characters) using cellophane or sticky tack
3. Let your creative mind take over!

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