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What is phonics?

How can you help your child?


Phonics is our main teaching method for teaching children how to read unfamiliar words. It is a process of breaking words down into each of their separate sounds (phonemes) and then blending these phonemes back together to read the whole word.   


In the English language there are  approximately 44 different sounds and during our daily phonics lessons we teach children how each of these sounds can be represented.    They will learn that each individual letter of the alphabet makes a unique sound and that other sounds can be made by combining two, three or four letters together.   For example the s and the h can go together to make the ‘sh’ phoneme as seen in the words ship and shop  and the i,g and h can go together to make the ‘i’ phoneme such as in the words light and bright. From as early as reception they learn the correct terminology and know that when two letters make one sound it is called a digraph and when three letters make one sound it is called a trigraph. 


It is  important to note that while phonics is our primary strategy for teaching children to read unfamiliar words, some words are not decodeable using phonics. These are 'tricky'words and we teach children to read these words using other strategies such as developing their sight memory or looking at the start and end sounds of the word and thinking about the word in the context of the sentence.


The children are also taught to spell words using their knowledge of phonics too.  To spell a word they are not familiar with they are taught to orally segment the word into each of its separate phonemes and then record these phonemes with representations that they have been taught.


In order to help you support your child, we have attached two sound maps which shows some of the different sound representations that your child needs to be able to recall; the picture should support your child in remembering the sound.  It would really help your child if you could help them to recognise and use these sounds when they are reading with you. 


Thank you for your support.