Phonics plays such an important role in children’s school lives, especially if they are in KS1. They would usually take part in a daily phonics session with their teacher to help them to practise and consolidate their sounds. Phonics can be taught in a number of a ways and through a variety of schemes depending on your school’s preference, however the main schemes in the UK are ‘Jolly Phonics, ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Read Write Inc.’ By practising the sounds and blending the sounds into words, children will begin to develop better reading fluency with the aim of becoming highly confident readers. Below are some ideas of how to support your child’s phonics at home as part of their home-school learning:
Become familiar with the sounds your child has been practising at school
At school, children will either be accustomed to learning their phase 2, 3, 4 & 5 sounds or their Set 1, 2 & 3 sounds. The ‘phase’ sounds are part of the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme. Whereas the ‘set’ sounds are part of the Read Write Inc Scheme. What’s the difference? The main difference is how the sounds are categorised, however the sounds that all children will learn across the country will be the same. If your child is learning phase 3 sounds, it’s important to keep going with these sounds during home-school learning so that they can begin to recognise them independently and blend them within words. If you’re unsure about which sounds your child might be learning at this point in time, your child’s class teacher should be able to support you with this or you can run through this checklist and discover which sounds your child needs to work on.
Use pure sounds
When first learning phonics, many children can fall into the trap of mixing the alphabet sounds with the pure phonics sounds. Children can also begin to stretch out their sounds with an elongated ‘er’, which can cause some challenges when trying to blend words. For a more comprehensive guide on how some schools teach phonics, here’s a guide according to Read Write Inc phonics on teaching the sounds at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjlPILhk7bQ.
Using the pure sounds will help children to continue their phonics learning at home and support better reading fluency.
20 minutes a day
To keep phonics fun and enjoyable, it’s a good idea to keep daily phonics sessions brief. By limiting the phonics sessions to 20 minutes a day, children can recap on all of the sounds that they already know using flashcards and working on one sound a day. These videos demonstrate some children recapping the phonics sounds and can help with phonics pronunciation:
After recapping all the sounds, you could focus on one sound that your child needs to work on and help your child to practise saying, writing and blending this sound in different words. This way, your child can continue to keep up their phonics learning at home in a positive and constructive way.