What is phonics?
Phonics is the system of ‘blending’ sounds together to read, and ‘segmenting’ sounds to spell. They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together. You may hear your children use some vocabulary that you are not familiar with that they have learnt in their phonics lessons.
Is the smallest unit of sound that we use in the English language. A phoneme can be made up of one letter as in the alphabet sounds – s, a, t, p, i, n etc, or two letters (a digraph) as in sh, ch, th, ay, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure. Phonemes can not be broken down into separate sounds.
Is the way we spell a phoneme. A phoneme may have only one grapheme for example ‘b’. Or may have several different spellings –for example or can be spelt ‘or’ in torn, ‘aw’ in claw, ‘au’ in naughty or ore in more. The children will initially be introduced to one common grapheme for each phoneme, but as they progress through the school they will be taught the less common spelling alternatives and encouraged to try and choose the correct grapheme for a particular word they are trying to spell.
Are made up of two or three phonemes blended together quite quickly as we learn to read. Examples are sc, sm, bl, pr, str
Short Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their sound as ‘a’ in c a t.
Long Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their name as ‘ay’ in day, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in night.
How do we teach Phonics at our school?
We use the synthetic phonics approach which is taught using Ruth Miskin’s Read, Write Inc phonics programme. Lessons are taught daily for 30 minutes from years 1 to 2. We also use a catch up programme for the older children. We use a mixture of different resources and encourage the children to use pure sounds ‘Fred talk’ to help with their blending as this is needed for reading. The children are also encouraged to use ‘Fred talk’ to help them learn to spell.
How can you help your child?