Importance of Phonics
What is phonics?
Phonics is the way of teaching children how to read and write. Children learn the sounds letters make so they can identify and hear those sounds to make words either verbally or written.
There is a lot of research that explains the importance of learning the sounds letters make and not letter names. Teaching children letter names and sounds at the same time is a lot for children to understand and remember. Children only need sounds to start reading and writing, a focus on this will start a child’s learning off very well. You can read more about letters and sound in the Literacy Blog https://theliteracyblog.com/2021/01/08/sounds-or-letter-names-an-update
How to use?
The English language has 44 core sounds that are used to make words. Many phonic programs are set up so children can learn 6 or so sounds and start using them to read and write straight away. At Astor International School we start by teaching s, a, t, p, i and n, once the children know the sound each of these letters makes, they can start making, reading and writing words, for example, sat, sit, pin, pat, tip etc.
We then use decodable readers so the children can use the sounds they know to read a story. A decodable reader is books that have been written following a sound pattern so children can practice their sound knowledge.
How to practice?
Parents can help their children by encouraging them to sound words out when they see an unfamiliar word. If the child does not know the sounds parents can sound the word out for the child so they can use the sounds they have heard to blend the word together. For example, a child points to a stop sign and says what does that say to their mum or dad. The parent can ask the child to sound it out or can say S – T – O – P and ask the child to blend it together. If the child is at the beginning of their blending journey, the parent can put some sounds together to make a smaller blend, for example, ST – O – P or ST – OP.
The more the child practices sounding out and blending - the quicker they will get at it!
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