What is Phonics?
When your child is learning to read there are two crucial things to learn:
- the sounds represented by written letters
- how to blend the sounds together to make words.
Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading. In our school we use the Letters and Sounds scheme. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent – so, they are taught that the letter l sounds like llllll when we say it. Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sounds together to make a word.
How is it taught and what is taught first?
Children are first taught a small group of sounds, then learn to blend the sounds to read words made up of those sounds, e.g. mat. Then they are taught more sounds and learn to blend those too. We do not teach phonics in alphabetical order because that’s not the best order to allow your child to start blending the sounds for reading.
Speedy recognition of the sound for each letter is really important too, so your child can blend them to read words easily.
How can you help your child?
1) Saying sounds correctly.
2) Practise, practise, practise - you can find sounds all over the place and even 5 minutes practise a day with help greatly.
3) Putting sounds together to read simple words - say 'c-a-t reads cat; s-t-r-ee-t reads street etc.
4) Understand that there are tricky words (of High Frequency words) that the children must learn as they are phonically irregular. A list of these of these words is available below.
5) Read as much as possible with your child.
6) Teach your child to write the letters as they learn the sounds.
7) Praise and hugs are probably the most important!
Useful web pages
Whilst we have provided a range of useful online games, remember that spending time with your child is probably the most important part of teaching your child the sounds.
Family learning - a range of phonic games.
BBC Early Years - look under the Communiation, Language and Literacy section.
BBC KS1 - a range of activities for years 1 and 2.
Here is a list of useful Apps that are available to iPads and iPods that will inspire the children to learn. We have only listed those available for Apple products but there are also Android versions.
N.B. These Apps are only suggestion. Please read the reviews carefully before purchasing.