What is Phonics?
There are five key skills for reading and writing. The process of learning how to read and write starts from day 1 of the school and continues through school enabling the learning of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.
Letter Sound Order
The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.
The five basic skills for teaching reading and writing 1. Learning the letter sounds
Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds. Mind it here, not names of 26 alphabets. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue. In synthetic phonics, some sounds are written with two letters, such as ee and or. These are called digraphs. Note that oo and th can make two different sounds, as in book and moon, that and three. To distinguish between the two sounds, these digraphs are represented in two forms. The sounds are in seven groups. These are shown below.
Sounds of Vowels and Consonants
Vowel – a, e, i, o, u
Consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z
Digraphs – long sounds of vowels and others
Each sound has an action which helps children remember the letter(s) that represent it. As a child progresses you can point to the letters and see how quickly they can do the action and say the sound. One letter sound can be taught each day. As a child becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary.
Children should learn each letter by its sound, not its name. For instance, the letter a should be called a (as in ant) not ai (as in aim). Similarly, the letter n should be nn (as in net), not en. This will help in blending. The names of each letter can follow later.
The letters have not been introduced in alphabetical order. The first group (s, a, t, i, p, n) has been chosen because they make more simple three-letter words than any other six letters. The letters b and d are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.
Sounds that have more than one way of being written are initially taught in one form only. For example, the sound ai (train) is taught first, and then the alternative ae (gate) and ay (day) follow later.
2.Learning letter formation
Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.
Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.
4.Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)
Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.
Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.