What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write quickly and skillfully. Children are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as 'sh' or 'oo'; and
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to 'de-code' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Why Phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

At Shaw Ridge Primary School we follow a structured scheme called ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’ as well as using additional resources the class teacher sees fit to cater for the needs of specific children.

The teaching of phonics at Shaw Ridge is multisensory; the children use all their senses to learn each new sound e.g. by singing, dancing, acting, making shapes in the air, using computers, playing games and using tactile manipulatives. This ensures all learning styles are catered for and the children enjoy their phonics lessons.

At Shaw Ridge, early readers will be taught:

  • grapheme–phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence
  • to apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words
  • to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes in order to develop spelling skills
  • that blending and segmenting are reversible processes.

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