Phonics and Reading
There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.
Year 1 phonics screening check - The check will take place in June each year when the pupils will read 40 words out loud to a teacher or test administrator. Parents will find out how their child did, and their teacher will assess whether the child will need extra help with reading.
If pupils do not do well enough (Meet the standard. In 2018 it was 32/40) in the check they will be screened again in Year 2.
In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:
ch th oo ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)
There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters igh) and even a few made from 4 letters. (eigh)
Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef.
There are assessment systems in place to keep track of how all children are doing in phonics.
Where children do fall behind, they are given intervention (specific support with their phonics) to help them catch up as soon as possible.
Your child’s reading book will have been selected from a colour Book Band. This means that whatever book your child has chosen, it will be at an appropriate level for them. Your child should then be able to practice some of the phonic strategies to sound out new words. At this stage it is vital that the child uses the sound of the letters rather than the name. (c-a-t blends together to make cat, but see ay tee does not!)
One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child is a love of reading. Research has shown that one of the biggest indicators of success in a child's life is whether or not they have books in the home. As a parent, try to focus on making reading fun and enjoyable rather than getting bogged down in trying to teach skills. There are many, many different things that you can do. Here are just a few:
- Let your child see you reading - This can be a newspaper, magazine, anything you like. This is a powerful message to send to your child. Read something with your child - It doesn't need to be a book. The secret is to find something that your child is desperate to read - comics, magazines, football programmes, newspapers, internet pages, texts, e-mails, catalogues etc. However, never underestimate that power of a book that a child really, really wants to read, even if it is too hard for them. If they are very keen to read a particular tricky book then go for it and just help them out when they need it.
- Talk about what they are reading - Talk before you start. Talk whilst you are reading. Talk after you have finished. You can still talk about what your child is reading even if they don't want to actually read with you anymore.
- Praise your child - Studies show that children who are given specific support with their reading make much greater progress if they are given lots of praise than if they are given the support alone.
If you would like more information or ideas to help your child please don't hesitate to contact us.