Resources needed:

  • Large selection of milk bottle tops, or similar plastic lids
  • Simple CVC words and corresponding pictures
  • Paper or card
  • White boards and pens




  1. Arrange the children in a circle. Begin with a warm up game such as ‘I Spy’ or any other phonics-based learning game.
  2. Now ask the children to write the words on their white boards as you say them aloud. Say a selection of simple CVC words: bat, cup, man, pin, sat, top etc.

Teaching Point: Some children may only hear the initial sound at this stage. Many children find identifying the finial sound quite tricky.


  1. After each word, sound out the phonemes slowly and let the children check if they were correct.
  2. Now sound out the phonemes in some simple CVC words and ask the children to blend the sounds they hear and say the word. It may be helpful to have some pictures in the centre of the circle and, after each CVC word has been sounded out, choose a child to retrieve the correct picture from the selection.
  3. Now show the children the choice of 4 CVC words and pictures and ask them to sound out one of them, or to point to the correct picture as you sound it out. This will give a more accurate picture of children who are struggling with this.
  4. Make a set of letters, and put common initial sounds inside a different coloured lid. Ask the children to take turns with a partner to turn over letters to make one of the CVC words and then to find its corresponding illustration.


Further activity:

Give children a matching game where they must pair up CVC words with the correct illustration.

Give children a smaller selection of the bottle top letters and see how many different words they can find.

Show the children some nonsense words and some actual words and ask them to sort them into two piles accordingly.

Give the children two letters, such as ‘at’ and ask them to add initial sounds to make new words: sat, mat, pat, bat, rat, hat.


Curriculum Areas covered:

Teachers should also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier.

Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils need to develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
  • respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes

From the EYFS: Children use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.