There has been a huge shift in the past few year 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 to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.
Phonics consists of teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. When reading, it is sounding out a word and sticking the sounds back together to read the whole word.
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.
Feel/watch how your mouth changes when you say a word, every time your mouth moves/changes shape you are saying a new phoneme, e.g. b-r-i-ck
There are 44 phonemes in the English language
A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. A three letter grapheme could be igh in the word b-r-igh-t. There are 3 letters that make one phoneme..
A grapheme can represent more than one phoneme e.g. C = cat and city
Two letters, which makes 1 phoneme. e.g. d-u-ck
A consonant diagraph contains two consonants
e.g. sh ck th ll
A vowel diagraph contains at least one vowel
e.g. ai ee ar oy
A diagraph in which the two letters are not adjacent e.g. make
a-e is a unit of sound (diagraph)- it is being ‘split’ by the constant k.
Three letters, which make 1 phoneme. e.g. l-igh-t
Hearing a series of spoken phonemes and merging them together to make a spoken word without corresponding to any graphemes (no text is needed). e.g. teacher says “b-u-s” children say “bus”
Blending (links to reading)
Recognising the letter sounds in a written word and merging them together in the order they are written to pronounce the word. e.g. c-u-p = cup
Segmenting (links to writing)
Identifying the individual phonemes in a spoken word and writing them down to form a word.