As the children start school and are beginning to learn letter sounds, we start with formal phonics teaching. This is based on the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics scheme. This is important to us as reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out
What is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words. Two skills which are developed when using phonics include blending and segmenting.
Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make the word. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)
How can you help?
Please help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word. A good video to help with the pronunciation of the sounds can be seen here.
You can also help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending which is called Fred talk. For example you can break c-a-t into its 3 sounds and then blend to make the word 'cat'.
When children have a good grasp of blending through phonics we move children onto reading books. You can also help by reading your child's book with them every night.