What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully.
They are taught how to:
- recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/;
- and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.
It is particularly helpful for children aged 4 to 7. Almost all children who receive systematic teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
At The St. Teresa's Catholic Primary School, we use the Ruth Miskin phonics scheme 'Read, Write Inc' to teach phonics.
Freddie the Frog
Fred helps children learn to read.
Fred can only talk in sounds e.g. Fred can only say 'c-a-t', he can’t say 'cat'.
We call this 'Fred Talk'.
If children understand Fred, they can blend orally and blending is needed for reading.
Dots and dashes (sound buttons)
We use sound buttons to show which letters make a sound.
A dot for a single letter showing a sound and a line underneath digraphs (2 letter sounds) and trigraphs (3 letter sounds).
We encourage your child to press the sound buttons and say the sounds once as they sound out the word. They then blend these sounds together to make the word.
Fred talk helps children learn to spell as well.
Children convert words into sounds.
They press the sounds they hear onto their fingers.
We call this 'Fred Fingers'.