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Learning to Read Through Phonics

Learning to Read Through Phonics



What is Phonics?

Phonics is the way we teach children to read quickly and skilfully, as they are taught how to-

• recognise the sound that each individual letter makes;

• identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;

• blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see.  This is the first important step in learning to read.

When children start at our school they will be taught to read through phonics using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme. This continues throughout Key Stage 1 and beyond as they progress from the easiest sounds through to the most complex.  They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and of course read for enjoyment.


Helping Your Child Learn to Read Through Phonics

Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement so that they learn to enjoy reading and books.  Parents and carers play a very important part in helping this process.

Your child will be bringing books home (mostly from the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’) as soon as they start school, and so they will need a ‘book bag’ to keep these safe as well as their Reading Diary/Contact Book.  This is a great way for us to communicate on a daily basis about what your child has read, and it can tell us whether they have enjoyed a particular book, together with any problems or successes either at home or at school.

• Try to make time to read with your child every day.  Grandparents and older brothers and sisters can help too.

• Books sent home will be ‘decodable readers’, because the story is written with words made up of the letters your child has learnt.  Your child should be able to work out new words from their letters and sounds rather than just by guessing.

• With all books, please encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words, and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess.  Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help them to follow the story.

• Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters.  You can also encourage your child to read words from items such as your shopping list or road signs to help them practise their phonic skills.

High Frequency Words and Sight Vocabulary

In addition to being taught phonics, the children will also be taught to read common ‘high frequency’ words (e.g. mum, cat, dog, was) by sight from an early age. This continues as they move through the school so that they eventually learn how to read and spell a large bank of words that are the most commonly used in the English language.