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What do I need to know about phonics?

An important part of how we teach reading in school now is through something called Phonics.

 

For those of us who are children of the 80s or 90s, this will probably be different to how you learned to read at school and is something new to understand.

 

In phonics, children learn what sound the letter makes, or group of letters make when together. Watch this video for an explanation. 
 

Phonics: How to pronounce pure sounds | Oxford Owl

It is important to use 'pure sounds' where we say the sound without the Yorkshire 'uh'. Don't worry if this doesn't come naturally at first. It takes a little bit of thinking about and practise to train out the natural Yorkshire adding of 'uh' to sounds when we say them. The children become brilliant at it very very quickly, so take your child's lead.  If they are pronouncing the sound like the little girl in the video, they are doing it correctly. 

What is sounding out and blending?

Once your child has learned the sounds that letters make, they can start to use this knowledge to read.

 

We will teach them to look at a word that contains sounds they know. They will say the sounds they see pointing at each one as they do it. This is called sounding out. Then they try to blend all the sounds together to read the word. Watch the video explaining sounding out and blending below or click on the link below that to see a video of Mrs Shaw & her daughter sounding out and blending to read words using the practice page found in lots of the books we send home.

Phonics: How to sound out and blend to read words

How can I get my child ready for phonics?

 

There are lots of things you can do to help your child pick up phonic learning. The more you can do these things the easier phonics will become for your child.

 

Activities that build listening skills, like singing nursery rhymes, talking about sounds and things they can hear, playing instruments and listening to you read stories are really helpful in getting children ready.

 

Re-reading your child's favourite story really helps them to build their 'phonic's ear'. Pausing to let them remember and say the words that repeat or rhyme is especially helpful. We have lots of stories in KS1, Reception and Nursery for you to take home that let you practice these skills at home. 

If you do any of the activities suggested in this booklet, you will be helping your child to get ready for phonics and reading to understand. We have this booklet in more home languages too - please ask a member of staff.

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