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Phonics & More!

Wednesday 6th April 2022

Schools have been increasingly encouraged by the Government to teach children to read using synthetic phonics. Learning to read using phonics isn’t a new concept, but in the past, it has been used in combination with other teaching methods.

At school, children learn letter sounds (phonemes) in groups and then work on blending them to make words. The first group is normally ‘s, a, t, p, i, n’. Once children know these phonemes, they will be encouraged to blend them together to make words, such as ‘s – i – t’.

Later, children learn that one phoneme can be represented by different letters, such as the sound in the middle of ‘rain’ can also be represented as ‘ay’ (play) and ‘a-e’ (tale).  After learning the first few phonemes, children can start to read.

Recent research by the Institute of Education at UCL says that a more balanced method of teaching reading is needed. An open letter from 250 education experts including the researchers from UCL was recently sent to the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, calling on the Government to allow for a wider range of approaches to teaching reading, also allowing teachers to use their own judgment about what is best for their pupils.

So - when helping your child learn to read at home, keep an open mind. The most important thing is to encourage a love of books and reading for pleasure. Whilst phonics is an important tool in learning to read, it is part of a much bigger picture.

Reading Chest members are able to choose their books from a wide range of schemes to suit all tastes. Our range of decodable reading schemes are carefully written so that children can sound out the words using only their phonic knowledge. (Bug Club Phonics, Red Squirrel Phonics, Big Cat Phonics, Floppy’s Phonics, Yellow Door Phonics).  We stock many other children’s favourites such as Oxford Reading Tree - Biff, Chip and Kipper Stories which continue to make children smile!

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