What is phonics?
According to the Concise Encyclopedia, the definition of phonics is: –
“Method of reading instruction that breaks language down into its simplest components. Children learn the sounds of individual letters first, then the sounds of letters in combination and in simple words.”
What does this mean?
When children first learn to read at school, they learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet and then move onto learning when two letters make one sound (digraphs) such as sh, oa, er. Children then continue to learn different letter patterns and sounds, as they progress through their primary schooling.
Children initially learn how to blend the sounds together to make words such as d-o-g dog
Therefore, it is important for children to sound the word out when they are unsure.
You may have heard of different phonic programs that your children may learn in the first year of their schooling, such as Letterland™, Jolly Phonics™ or Thrass™, to name a few.
When spelling a word, it is important for them to hear the sounds in the word and know how to write them.
There are some words called sight or tricky words. Children can sound out parts of the words and be taught others. E.g. said. Children will know (s) and (d). The ai make an (e) sound as in elephant. He- h as in hat, e as in emu (the long e sound).
Why do children learn phonics?
Phonics is important in helping children read and spell. They learn to decode or break a word up to help them read or spell it.
If we can help children see that learning the letters and sounds is like using a code. When we know it, it helps us with our reading and spelling. It also gives them a challenge if they know that they have ‘to use the code’.
Some dyslexic children may need to go back and be explicitly taught the letters and sounds, as well as the spelling and grammar rules. This will help them with their reading, spelling and writing. This can involve lots of repetition and practise.