Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your child in Reception learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and older children learn that “tion” sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.
Learning phonics will help your children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as they read. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as they write words.
We use a programme called ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach Phonics. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and some groups in Key Stage 2 children have a 25 minute daily phonics session where they learn about how to read and write using phonic knowledge.
We play lots of different phonic games which help children understand how sounds make words and how to use words to make sentences. We use the Interactive Whiteboard to play games and learn new phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters).
You can help your child with their phonics at home by reading with them as much as you possibly can. There are also some excellent websites available so why not visit www.phonicsplay.co.uk and www.familylearning.org.uk/phonics_games.html to play some games and see for yourself?