Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully.
Children are taught how to:
- - Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes
- - Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’ and
- - Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
At Wallands, we follow the Sounds Write Phonics Programme in Early Years and KS1. This programme is proven to be effective as it is a highly structured, cumulative, sequential, explicit and code-oriented instructional programme for teaching all children to read and spell.
How can you help your child at home?
It is important for a child to learn lower case or small letters rather than capital letters at first. Most early books and games use lower case letters and your child will learn these first at school. Obviously you should use a capital letter when required, such as at the beginning of the child's name, eg. Paul.
When you talk about letters to your child, remember to use the letter sounds: a buh cuh duh ... rather than the alphabet names of the letters: ay bee see dee ee. The reason for this is that sounding out words is practically impossible if you use the alphabet names. For example, cat would sound like: see ay tee which does not sound like ‘cat’.
The following link shows how the Phonemes (the smallest unit of sound in a word) should be articulated clearly and precisely:
There are a number of things that parents/carers can do to support early reading development:
- Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself
- Immerse your child in a love of reading
- Make time for your child to read their school book to you
- With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend from left to right rather than looking at pictures to guess the word
- Regularly go over the phonemes (sounds) with your child so you can support them with the ones they struggle with
One of the key strategies we use to support the children is by asking them to add sound buttons/lines (underneath words to help them identify the sounds they need to read, for example:
You can make this fun by using different writing materials like paint, crayons, felt tips as well as tracing the word on glitter or sand trays.
To find out more about how to support your child in reading and phonics, watch our Early Years teachers in action.
Progression in phonics
Progression in phonics
By the end of the reception year, the children will have been taught all the sounds of the initial code starting with one sound/one spelling, one-syllable, consonant-vowel, consonant (CVC)words. As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is increased and words of the structure CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC/CCCVCC are introduced as well as the most common consonant digraphs.
By the end of year 1, the children will have been taught all the remaining common vowel and consonant sound to spelling correspondences until all the common spellings for the forty-four sounds in English have been covered. In parallel with this, children are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, progressing from two-syllable to five- and six-syllable words.
All children in reception, year 1 and 2 read phonically decodeable words, sentences and/or books at their level during their phonics lessons as well as during daily supported reading