What is Phonics?
Phonics is an essential strategy that children are taught as part of the process of learning to read.
Children are taught to:
- Say the sounds that individual letters make.
- Say the sounds that different combinations of letters make e.g. ‘sh’ and ‘th’ (digraph), ‘igh’ and ‘air’ (trigraph).
- Blend these sounds together, from left to right, to read a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ unfamiliar words as they read.
What happens in Phonics lessons?
From Nursery to Year 2, children receive daily phonics lessons in line with the ‘Letters and Sounds’ guidance from the Department for Education.
There are 6 phases that increase in difficulty. Content includes learning individual letter sounds, spelling words with adjacent consonants and learning ‘tricky words’ that can not be decoded phonetically.
For a brief overview of each phase please follow the link below:
The phonics session itself is divided into 4 parts (Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply). It is a quick paced lesson that often includes the use of games, flashcards, pictures, writing sounds in the air/on whiteboards and saying them aloud.
What can I do at home to support my child?
- It is really important for your child to learn the correct pronunciation of each sound. We will teach this on a daily basis but reinforcing this at home is great too! Follow the link below to hear the correct pronunciation of all the Phase 2 and 3 sounds.
- When reading with your child at home, try to break up (segment) unfamiliar words into a series of sounds e.g. b-r-u-sh, sh-a-m-p-oo. Combine (blend) the sounds together to try to read the word.
- Read the guidance in the front of your child’s home/school reading book, which will tell you the sounds that are included in the book e.g. ‘sh’, ‘ear’ and ‘ow’. Encourage your child to look through these as they move through the book.
- Play games like ‘I spy’ that encourage your child to look for objects that begin with a certain sound e.g. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the sound ‘ch’.
- Learn some ‘tricky’ words with your child (words that can not be decoded phonetically). Lists of these are handed out at Parents Evening, relevant to the phase your child is working on. If you do not have a copy please ask your child’s class teacher.
- There are a wealth of interactive games and activities available online. We have found the following sites particularly useful: