What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word. Our approach to learning phonics is through using Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics. We also follow a kinaesthetic approach in Reception where children are given an action to help them learn each different sound. This is an effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes.
The phonics screening check
The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. All year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check in summer term.
It comprises of a list of 40 words and nonsense words (words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb). It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1 where each child is asked to read on a 1:1 basis to an adult familiar to them. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together.
The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore need help.
How can I help my child?
There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading development:
- Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself. They are influenced by you and what you do!
- Immerse your child in a love of reading
- Make time for your child to read their school book to you
- With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend from left to right rather than looking at pictures to guess
- Play phonic games for children on the computer: