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What is Fred talk? RML phonics home/school reading book guide.

Updated on July 6, 2012

Guide to Fred talk.


Many children are taught phonics using the RML scheme. This scheme often sends home reading books which children must practice with their parents. This is an extremely important part of the child’s development as the sounds must be practiced regularly in order to help the child progress.


The English language contains a wide variety of sounds (phonemes) that can be joined together to form words. Joining these sounds together is referred to as sounding out the word or blending. This is an important skill that helps the child develop independence in their reading. Fred talk is a strategy used to help children develop this skill.


In class the teacher may use a soft toy or puppet that the children will recognise as ‘Fred’. ‘Fred’ will only ever talk in sounds, not whole words. This models how the sounds can be put together to create a word. Encouraging children to hear the word ‘Fred’ is trying to create.


For example: ‘Fred’ may want to say the word cat, but would only say the individual letter sounds c-a-t. ‘Fred’ would whisper this to the teacher who then repeats it to the class. The children would then be asked to identify the word ‘Fred’ is trying to say.


When the child’s reading book refers to Fred talk or sounds it is asking you to practice the sounds needed to create words or to practice blending a word or sound. The sounds used are linked to the words written in the book, so doing this will help the child succeed in their reading. This should always be done using pure sounds.


Pure sounds are the normal letter sounds that do not have the ‘uh’ added to the end that many of us do naturally. Click here to see a demonstration of the pre sounds. It is important that children are able to sound each sound correctly as this effects how we hear the word when the sounds that create it are blended together.


The child’s reading book will also contain tricky words. These are words that a child should know by sight as the usually do not blend together correctly or may include tricky sounds which will confuse the child.


Pure Sounds Video

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