I know that for some parents, the way in which children learn to read in school, can be quite complicated to understand and grasp. Here is a quick run through of how your child is taught to read here at Crudgington. Hopefully you will find some useful ideas and advice on how you can support your child with phonics and reading at home. Don’t forget, that should you ever need advice or whether you have questions about phonics and reading, both myself and Miss Jones will be happy to help.
What is phonics?
Phonics is about knowing how letters link to sounds. From an early stage, children develop an awareness of different sounds in spoken language. They develop an understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds. i.e. ‘c’ as in cat, ‘ll’ as in bell etc.
Here is a run down of the key terminology you may hear your child mention when talking about their phonics learning:
Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.
Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.
Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme) i.e. ch in chip.
Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme) i.e. igh in light.
Oral Blending – This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words to read.
Blending– This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using their knowledge to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading. As a school, we use the ‘Blending arm’, to help children segment the word, then blend the phonemes (sounds) together.
Oral Segmenting – This is the act hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them. i.e. cat= c-a-t
Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.
It is important that children learn the ‘pure’ sounds. Any mispronunciation of a sound can hinder the child’s ability to blend the word to read it. The following video shows you how to say each sound for the 42 letter sounds:
As a school, we help children to remember graphemes and phonemes by linking them to actions (Phase 2) or rhymes (Phase 3 and 4). Learning the actions and rhymes that accompany each grapheme, will help you when it comes to supporting your child at home. Below is a run through of the actions and rhymes we use for each phase:
Not all words can be read by sounding them out phonetically. We call these tricky words. Each phonics phase has its own set of Tricky words, which must be learnt as whole words which can be sight read. There are lots of great songs your child can sing along with to help them learn the tricky words by sight. These are the ones we use in Class 1 and 2.
How to support at home:
There are lots of different ways you can support your child with their phonics skills at home.
Here is a link for the Phonics Play website, where you should be able to access some free phonics games. There is also a parents page, which can give you additional information about phonics.
Supporting your child with phonics and reading is the best way you can help your child to succeed at school. I hope you find this guide useful. Any questions, please come and see myself or Miss Jones.