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The Teeny Reading Seeds resources and ideas can supplement the guidance in the UK government’s publication, Letters and Sounds (Phase One), for making links between the 26 letters of the alphabet and speech sounds. ‘Phase One’ is not systematic, synthetic phonics teaching guidance, but suggests many activities to do with speaking and listening, rhythm and rhyme, environmental sounds, music and body percussion and enjoying literature.

Around three to four years old, children can begin to make links between the 26 letters of the alphabet (upper case and lower case) and the 25 sounds they represent as a first step and very simple introduction to the more complex English alphabetic code which they need to learn in detail later.

There are around 44 sounds which are identifiable in English speech and many different ways that these sounds in speech can be represented with letters and letter groups. The Phonics International Early Years Starter Package and full programme go on to introduce the full range of sounds identifiable in the English language along with a comprehensive range of alternative spellings (letters and letter groups) which are code for all the sounds.

A good starting point for younger children, however, is a focus on the alphabet letters and the first sounds that these represent in readiness for reading simple words such as ‘bat’ (sound out and blend the sounds /b/ /a/ /t/ = “bat”) and spelling simple words (identify the sounds all-through-the-spoken-word /s/ /u/ /n/ and then allot letter shapes for each sound s-u-n).

Teeny Reading Seeds builds on children making those early links between letters, which they see all around them, and the smallest sounds of speech for which the letters are actually ‘the written code’ (for example, the letters A and a are code for the first sound /a/ as in Apple or apple).

Please note that for a systematic, synthetic phonics programme for teaching reading, spelling and writing, you will find the Phonics International Early Years Starter Package and the Phonics International full programme very helpful – both are available online with video clips to explain what these comprehensive synthetic phonics programmes provide. Unit 1 (of 12 units) of the Phonics International programme is free to download - click HERE. A free guidance booklet about synthetic phonics and alphabetic code charts are included in Unit 1.

So welcome to our Teeny Reading Seeds resources’ webpage. Here you will find planning resources and hands-on ‘teaching and learning’ resources and ideas which are downloadable/printable.
You can use topical activities and children’s literature to help your child, or children, learn new words and enjoy language play and to begin to make links between the alphabet letter shapes and some of our sounds of English speech.

Teeny Reading Seeds provides optional ‘action’ mnemonics (aids to memory) for key picture-words related to the Phonics International synthetic phonics programme (which is a full reading, spelling and writing programme for all ages – also provided online). The key words and pictures used, however, are just very ordinary objects, animals or actions and therefore Teeny Reading Seeds can be complementary to any other alphabet resources and synthetic phonics programmes used in schools or homes.

We hope that you find our Teeny Reading Seeds resources and suggestions helpful. Remember that in ‘virtual’ format (downloadable/printable), you can choose to print your preferred resources in full size or reduced as ‘multiples per page’ according to your needs.

AUDIO-VISUAL RESOURCE of the 26 upper and lower case letter shapes and their corresponding sounds. Listen for the focus sounds in their key picture-words.

Use this resource online. Click on the speaker icon to hear the sounds and spoken words.

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RESOURCES For your planning file

Front ‘title’ page          PDF Logo  
Teeny Reading Seeds rationale        PDF Logo  
Letters, key picture words and optional actions chart        PDF Logo  

Themed suggestions including rhymes and literature    (to be added)

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Suggested rhymes and songs          PDF Logo  
Words of suggested rhymes          PDF Logo  

The Alphabet Letters, Sounds, Pictures and Words BOOK     

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You can use this resource very flexibly:

You could select only one page at a time with the focus letter and sound as you need it. Look at this with your child, or children, online - or print as a single sheet if preferred.

You could print all the sheets and make them up into a book to look at the pages in any order. Staple the sheets together or put the sheets back-to-back into a file with transparent sleeves to create a durable ‘book’ for browsing and/or for discussing the contents in more detail.

This book can help not only with linking the first sounds of the picture-words with the upper and lower case letter shapes – but also with developing your child’s speaking and listening skills and building up vocabulary (that is, learning new words and their meanings for general comprehension).

You could also use selected sheets for your child to cut out the pictures and stick them in his or her own ‘scrap book’, or display, of focus sounds.  


a to z lower case letters and key pictures to colour: COLOURING SHEETS  

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Select and print the sheet for the focus letter and sound. Remember that you can print in smaller sizes (by selecting ‘multiples per page’ as your printing option). Finger-track inside the letter shape whilst saying the sound that the letter is code for and not the letter name – that is /a/ as in apple, and not /ai/.  Say the key picture-word aloud and listen for the first sound (or the last sound /ks/ for the word ‘fox’). Colour the letter shape and colour the key picture. Your child, or children, can also add to the picture (for example, draw other things with the same sound such as ‘ants’ on the ‘a apple’ sheet – or add leaves and a variety of insects crawling over the leaves on the ‘i’ insect’ sheet).

You could print all the COLOURING SHEETS to make up booklets  for your child, or children, to colour and keep for reference. 


a to z lower case letters and three pictures to colour: COLOURING SHEETS

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As above but with three picture-words to colour. Can your child, or children, think of further things starting with the focus sound?


‘What do I spy with my little eye?’  Flexible PICTURE GAMES 

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These pictures can be used in a variety of ways to teach: 1) ‘oral blending’ (a sub-skill of reading) and; 2) ‘oral segmenting’ (a sub-skill of spelling).

Printed words are also provided to: 3) model how to sound out and blend printed words – which can then be matched with the pictures. When children know all their alphabet letters and sounds, they can try sounding out and blending the printed words. Some children can do this easily whilst others take much longer to be able to sound out and blend to ‘hear’, or discern, the words. Model the sub-skills of oral blending and oral segmenting, and the skill of sounding out and blending repeatedly as necessary. Remember to say the sounds as close to real speech as possible, that is: “s” not “suh”. The sounds are shown in slash marks like this: /s/ as in snake, /a/ as in apple.

1)   Game One: Before referring to the pictures, say the separate sounds of each picture-word (e.g. “/b/ /e/ /l/ /t/”) to develop the ability to ‘hear’, or discern, the word ‘belt’. Can your child ‘hear’ the word from its individual sounds and point to the correct picture?

This is oral blending and it is a sub-skill of reading.


2)   Game Two: To model oral segmenting, a sub-skill of spelling, select a picture and say the whole picture-word aloud slowly and then break it up (or segment the spoken word) into its smallest separate component sounds (e.g. “belt,  /b/ /e/ /l/ /t/”).  Can your child select a picture, say the whole picture-word aloud slowly and then break it up into its separate sounds? Some children can do this more easily and others take much longer to develop this skill. Model this skill over and again if necessary.    


‘What do I spy with my little eye?’  The PRINTED WORDS for sounding out and blending 

3)   Model how to sound out and blend these printed words. Finger-track under each letter from left to right whilst saying each sound, then return your finger to the first letter and run your finger under the whole printed word from left to right whilst saying the whole blended word. When the words have been read (decoded), they can then be matched with their picture-words in the resource above. Once your child has learnt fluently all the alphabet letters and the sounds that they are code for, then he or she can ‘see the letters and say the sounds’ and blend them to discover the words independently.

Suggestions: You can use these pictures as whole sheets and/or you can choose to cut out the pictures and keep them like a pack of cards to select them randomly; and/or you can cut out the words to match them to their pictures.

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Alphabet letters and sounds ACTIVITY SHEETS

These provide activities for children and inform parents. Add a note about favourite rhymes and books which link to each letter shape and sound (bottom right-hand section).

The ACTIVITY SHEETS can be used as separate sheets, one at a time, or made up into alphabet booklets by printing off and stapling together in alphabetical order or in an order that you prefer (for example, to match the order of the themes you introduce or books that you use). As a booklet, you can refer to it over and again. Of course, you could use the ACTIVITY SHEETS in both ways!

Please note, the letter shape x formation may surprise you! The directionality of the second stroke (bottom left to top right) is to support joined handwriting at a later date.

  A to Z ACTIVITY SHEETS - With Phonics International ‘actions’ described        PDF Logo  
  A to Z ACTIVITY SHEETS - With no ‘actions’ described        PDF Logo  
  Aa Bb Cc alphabet FRIEZE  –  choose your favourite colour range        
  blues and greens        PDF Logo  
  pinks and purples      PDF Logo  
  browns and peachy-pinks      PDF Logo  

Print your choice of colour to your preferred size. Cut in half horizontally to create a frieze for bedroom walls or preschool display. Note that each capital letter is displayed in its own box to avoid confusion as your child progresses to learning about the role of two or more letters together as letter pairs and groups (such as ‘ck’, ‘sh’, ‘ee’, ‘oo’ and ‘igh’)  which are code for the smallest sounds of speech (as in ‘d-u-ck’, ‘sh-ee-p’, ‘m-oo-n’ and ‘n-igh-t’).


Please note that Phonics International provides free alphabetic code charts which illustrate the relationship between the sounds we can identify in our English words with their many spelling alternatives. The PI programme then provides all the resources which support the teaching and learning of the letter/s-sound correspondences for both reading and spelling.

Aa Bb Cc alphabet and key picture words FLASH CARDS and/or MATCHING GAMES      PDF Logo  

Print to your preferred size. Laminate or stick on card (or print on card) to create flash cards. You can also cut up the elements of the flash cards to create “see the letters, say the sounds” or “hear the sounds and point to the letters” and matching games (match capital letters with lower case letters and match to the key pictures).




Create a board game by cutting out the letter tiles to place over the matching picture-words on the base board. Use lower case letter shapes, or upper case letter shapes (capital letters), or upper and lower case letters shown together (on each tile) to match the picture-word.

You can also use the separate tiles of the upper case letter shapes to match with the separate tiles of the lower case letter shapes.

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 Lower Case Letter Tiles        
 Upper Case Letter Tiles        
 Upper Case and Lower Case Letter Tiles        
Say the picture words and first sounds of the picture words. Link to the letter shapes.        
CAPITAL LETTERS FORMATION with ‘smiley faces’ starting points and direction arrows          PDF Logo  
Print to your preferred size. Laminate for a permanent preschool teaching and learning resource – or use as a smaller paper-based resource for your child’s build-up file of activities. 
LOWER CASE LETTERS FORMATION with ‘smiley faces’ starting points and direction arrows      PDF Logo  
Print to your preferred size. Laminate for a permanent preschool teaching and learning resource – or use as a smaller paper-based resource for your child’s build-up file of activities.

Please note that many teachers prefer letter formation (handwriting) to focus on lower case letter shapes at first. It is important, however, that your child learns that both capital letters and lower case letters are code for the same sounds. This means, for example, that A is code for the same sound as a as in Apple or apple.

Capital letter shapes for various art and craft activities. 

Lower case letter shapes for various art and craft activities.


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