Phonics

Phonics information for parents.

What is Phonics?

From a very 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 (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes). Phonics is about children knowing how letters link to sounds (graphemes to phonemes), e.g. c as in ‘cat’, ll as in ‘fell’, ee as in ‘sheep’.

Once children begin learning sounds, they are used quickly to read and spell words.

There are two key skills children need to learn:

Blending
To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds together.
The teacher shows children how to do this – c-a-t = cat. The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending – it is a vital skill for reading.

Segmenting
Segmenting is a skill used in spelling. In order to spell the word cat, it is necessary to segment the word into its constituent sounds; c-a-t. Children often understand segmenting as ‘chopping’ a word. Before writing a word young children need time to think about it, say the word several times, ‘chop’ the word and then write it.

Phonics Screening Check
All children in Year 1 complete a national phonics screening check. The phonics screening check comprises of a list of 40 words that children read one-to- one with a teacher. The list is a combination of both real and ‘pseudo-words’ (nonsense words). Children need to be able to blend the sounds together fluently to read the words.
The expected standard is 32 or more out of a total of 40. Any children who has not achieved this expected standard will be given further support and have the opportunity to retake the screening check in Year 2.

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