Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
- blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
We have our own systematic synthetic phonics programme based on 'Letters and Sounds'. It is called 'Little Wandle'.
Children can use their knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.
It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
Here are some of the key terms you may come across:
Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound that can be extracted from a word
Grapheme - the written letters representing a phoneme
Digraph- two letters that work together to make the same sound
Trigraph - Three letters that work together to make the same sound
Split digraph - Two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter
Tricky words- words which cannot be decoded or broken down-they break the rules!
Blending- joining sounds to make words
Segmenting- breaking words into sounds