How can I help my child with phonics?

If your parent there is a good chance you will have heard about phonics being used at school, as your child starts to learn to read. Before you start teaching or reinforcing phonics at home there are some things that you should consider:

  • How does my child's school teach phonics?
  • What is the importance of using phonics?

How does my child's school teach phonics?

Each school has a different method of teaching phonics, most will be working on different sounds and reading short books to practise individual sounds.

The first lesson in phonics is teaching children to recognise and differentiate between different sounds. This typically starts by asking children to listen to sounds that you can hear, such as the sounds that animals make, or sounds you hear when you go outside.

As schooling progresses children are then taught simple, single letter sounds from the alphabet, before moving on to learning about digraphs, trigraphs and split digraphs.

Phonics is often used in listening and writing lessons as well as reading lessons. Often for example, children in schools are taught and encouraged to spell phonetically before they spell correctly, as this shows an understanding of how words are made up of sounds, and that different letters make certain sounds.

To make learning fun, schools and teachers will often teach sounds through multi sensory activities such as singing or dancing or by playing games, both physical and online. All children learn differently so it is vital that teachers make learning as varied as possible. Practising sounds as they are taught in school when at home is one of the biggest ways children improve their reading. From my experience, children who are read to at home, or read at home themselves, even for just a few minutes a week, make really noticeable improvements compared to those who do not. Check with your child's teacher and talk about which method they are using at school.