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 in that instance, or group of letters make in that instance when together. Watch these videos for a demonstration.
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 child in the video, they are doing it correctly.
You may start to hear your child using unfamiliar terminology when practicing their reading or talking about their reading or writing learning. This is everyday terminology they use and hear in their phonics sessions.
They may use the word 'phoneme'. This is another way to say 'sound'. They may also use the word 'grapheme'. This is a 'sound written down' such as 's'. 'Digraphs' are where a grapheme of 2 letters represents one sound e.g. sh or ch. 'Trigraphs' are where a grapheme of 3 letters represents one sound e.g. igh.
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. You can also click 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.
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.