Phonics forms the language we speak, read and write. Language is made up of words. Words are made up of sounds (phonemes). When we write, we use written symbols (graphemes) to represent the sounds. These graphemes may be single letters or combinations of letters such as sh, oy and igh. The 26 letters of the alphabet create 44 phonemes and 144 letter combinations.
At EYFS and KS1 phonics is taught for up to 20 minutes daily. This is called the discreet teaching of phonics. What is learnt during these discreet teaching lessons is applied throughout the day in speaking, reading and writing, in a language rich curriculum. Children are given lots of opportunities to practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. Schools are required to assess children’s phonic skills at the end of Year 1. This involves teachers sitting with each children individually and asking them to read a list of words. They are shown 40 words in total - 20 are real words and 20 pseudo (made up) words. The children read regularly with teachers so the reading of a list of words should not be unusual for them. The purpose of the check is to ensure children can use their phonics to decode words. Children who do not meet the standard in Year 1 will take the check again when they are able to decode. This is usually in Year 2.
Read to and with your child as often as possible. Talk about words, letters, and sounds in the house and when you are out and about. Make letters in fun ways such as in clay, play dough, or sand and talk about the sound each letter makes and the sounds they make when they are combined. Make an appointment with your child’s teacher to discuss other ways to help your child learn phonics.Reading can change lives. At Gateway we are committed to improving the teaching of reading. We aim to give children the skills to be ability to read independently and effectively for meaning.