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Learning to read

The first steps in learning to read are to recognise the sound each letter makes, and then blend them together to make words. Here are some activities to help your child learn the letter sounds. You can find out more about learning to read using letter sounds, or phonics, on our blog – see below – and there are also links to useful websites via Usborne Quicklinks.  

Letter sound activity sheets

Ask your child to make the sound of each letter as they do the activities. Don't say the name of the letter, only the sound, for example, 'k-u-h' for the letter 'c'.  You can listen to the sounds (or 'phonemes') for all the letters at Usborne Quicklinks (see below).

sams supper helping children learn the letter s

Sam's supper

What's Sam making for supper? Practise writing and sounding the letter 's' with this activity.

jaguar jazz

Jaguar jazz

These jaguars are jamming in the jungle. Can you make the sound for the letter 'j' and draw it on their instruments?

monster fishing trip

Monster fishing trip

Help the monsters to fish for objects with different starting sounds.

penguins in the park

Penguins in the park

Spot things in the penguin park beginning with the sound 'p-u-h' and draw a 'p' on the parrots.

elephants on parade

Elephants on parade

Nine elephants are on parade. Finish their heads with the letter 'n' while saying the sound.

monster junk shop

Monster junk shop

Each monster wants to buy something beginning with a particular sound. Can you help them?

monster circus

Monster circus

Can you help the monsters add starting and ending letters to their words?

making words with sounds

Making words

See if you can blend the sounds together to make words.

On the blog: What is phonics?

what are phonics

Find out more about synthetic phonics, the method of learning to read used by most schools, on our blog.

Usborne Quicklinks

visit usborne quicklinks

Visit Usborne Quicklinks for links to online activities to help children learning to read, and a phoneme pronunciation guide.

Usborne is not responsible for the content of external websites.


Teach Your Monster to Read

Teach Your Monster to Read is an award-winning game that helps children learn to read.  It covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences, and it's free to play online. It was created and funded by the Usborne Foundation – a charity set up by Peter Usborne, founder of Usborne Publishing.


Wipe-clean phonics activity books

You can find lots more learning to read activities in these books.

Usborne Very First Reading

Usborne Very First Reading is an exciting series of books for children who are just starting to learn to read. The graded books take beginner readers from learning their first letters to reading imaginative stories on their own with minimal support and guidance from an adult.

Phonics Readers

Usborne Phonics Readers are lively rhyming stories with humorous and irresistible illustrations, which uses phonic repetition specially designed to help children learn to read.