Understanding phonics

Phonics is a system that helps us understand how words are formed. Words are built out of small units of sounds called phonemes

Phonics is the connection of these units of sound with the letter symbols (called graphemes). 

Using this system of learning enables fluent reading and writing. 

E.g. If you take the word ‘frog’ for example, although it consists of a single syllable, it contains four different phonemes: /f/ /r/ /o/ /g/. 

A letter sound
S letter sound image
How does phonics help children to read

Phonics contains the building blocks of reading. For children to be able to read they must have an understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds

Phonics is a vital part of reading and provides children with the tools to connect printed letters with the sounds they represent.

 

t letter sound
n letter sound
m letter sound
How does the phonics work

There are five main areas of learning through Phonics. Letter soundsletter formationblendingsegmenting and tricky words.

Children start with the letter sounds and letter formation, before moving on with blending (for reading), segmenting (for writing) and tricky words. This unique system teaches these key skills from the start, in a fun and multi sensory way, ensuring children become a clear and confident communicators now and in the future.

u letter sound
h letter sound
lollipop
letter sounds

There are 42 letter sounds formed from the alphabet and digraphs. Digraphs are combinations of letters that make ‘new’ sounds such as: sh, th, and ue.We break the 42 letter sounds into seven sections that increase in difficulty as your child progresses through the Phonics system. 

w letter sound
z letter sound
letter formation

We use a variety of multi-sensory methods to teach your child how to form and write letters. From colouring exercises to familiarise them with the letter shapes and easy to follow finger patterns to writing exercises, sticker and craft activities. 

k letter sound
v letter sound
blending

Blending is a vital tool in the journey to fluent reading. Children are taught to merge the various letter sounds that form a particular word together until they can hear and recognise the word. 

Children can start to practise this skill as soon as they have learnt the first 3 letter sounds – /s/ /a/ and /t/. This skill will continue to develop as children begins their journey to fluent reading.

f letter sound
o letter sound
segmenting

In order to blend the sounds to form words, children must first learn to recognise the segments that make up the word – understanding where the split between the letter sounds falls. With Phonics, they are taught to break up each word into the phonemes that form the whole. Recognising, listening and understanding these letter sounds gives children the best start in their spelling skill level.

ai letter sound
x letter sound
tricky words

As with all things in the English language – rules are made to be broken. We tackle words with irregular spellings separately so children learn to recognise them without getting confused.

y letter sound
g letter sound
alternative spelling

We also show children the different spellings of nine of the vowels with sample words and illustrations. 

For ai, for example, it also shows ay as in day, and a-e as in snake.

 

j letter sound
p letter sound
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