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Helping your child with phonics

Posted in: Blog | April 29, 2021

Children’s spoken language supports reading and writing.

In order to make a good start in reading and writing, children need to have an adult listen to them and talk to them. Speaking and listening are the foundations for reading and writing. Even everyday activities such as preparing meals, tidying up, putting shopping away and getting ready to go out offer you the chance to talk to your child, explaining what you are doing. Through these activities, children hear the way language is put together into sentences for a purpose.

Books are a rich source of new words for your child; words you would not use in everyday conversations appear in books. Children need to have a wide vocabulary to understand the meaning of books, so read aloud and share books as often as you can. They will enjoy it and it will be useful to them when they come across these words in their own reading later on.
Sounds in spoken language – the beginning of phonics.

At TinyToes , when children enter their final year at preschool, they take part in high- quality phonics sessions every day. These are fun sessions involving lots of speaking, listening games, where the emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.

The aim of this information sheet, is to give you a clear picture of how we approach the teaching of phonics and word recognition and how, as a parent or carer, you can support and encourage your child at home.
At TinyToes, we use ‘Jolly Phonics’ to teach your children. The majority of primary schools use the same system. Some use ‘Letters and Sounds,’ which teaches exactly the same things.

There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with spellings that are unusual.

Phase 1
This paves the way for systematic learning of phonics.
Teachers plan activities that will help your children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. Teachers teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. They read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books.
Ways you can support your children at home Play ‘What do we have in here?’ Put some toys or objects in a bag and pull one out at a time. Emphasise the first sound of the name of the toy or object by repeating it, for example, ‘c c c c – car’, ‘b b b b – box’, ‘ch ch ch ch – chip’.
Say: ‘A tall tin of tomatoes!’ ‘Tommy, the ticklish teddy!’ ‘A lovely little lemon!’ This is called alliteration. Use names, for example, ‘Grandad gets the giggles’, ‘Milo makes music’, ‘Nichola’s nose’.
Teach them ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’.
Learning how to ‘sound-talk.’
We don’t say, ‘Ay, bee, Cece, Dee…’ This makes it more difficult for the children to under. Rather, we say, ‘Cuh, aa, t.
The teacher shows children how to do this – c-a-t = cat. The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending and is a vital skill for reading.
Children will also learn to do this the other way around – cat = c-a-t. The whole word is spoken aloud and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. This is called segmenting and is a vital skill for spelling.
This is all oral (spoken). Your child will not be expected to match the letter to the sound at this stage. The emphasis is on helping children to hear the separate sounds in words and to create spoken sounds.
Ways you can support your children at home.

Sound-talking
Find real objects around your home that have three phonemes (sounds) and practise ‘sound talk’. First, just let them listen, then see if they will join in, for example, saying:
‘I spy a p-e-g – peg.’
‘I spy a c-u-p – cup.’
‘Where’s your other s-o-ck – sock?’
‘Simon says – put your hands on your h-ea-d.’ ‘Simon says – touch your ch-i-n.’

The most important thing to do, is to talk to your child, and to listen to them, and of course, have a fun time!

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