Practising Phonics With Your Little Ones

By Teacher Ravisara

Imagine what our world would be like if we didn’t have water? Or access to any healthy foods? There is a different world in each subject taught in the early years. A world where words are like puzzle pieces waiting to be put together. Each puzzle has a letter, each letter has a unique sound and action. Putting the puzzle together would mean blending them and creating words which will be the foundation of every future communication. This subject is Phonics. This world is the phonetic world, which is a very important part of the early years education. 

Without phonics, children may struggle to develop these critical literacy skills. They may struggle to decode words, leading to frustration and lack of interest in the subject, which will further impact their communication skills. They will not be able to understand the relationship between letters and sounds. By introducing and practising phonics with your little ones you are helping them develop strong literacy skills which will help throughout their lives. There is no specific way to teach phonics. This can be through phonetic awareness activities in school, or worksheets, flashcards, having instructional strategies such as direct instruction, small group instruction and one on one instruction. 

Research by International Literacy Association shows that phonics, when taught correctly, is one of the most effective ways of teaching children to read. It simplifies the English Language down into 44 sounds. Children, therefore decode words breaking it down into the sounds instead of ending up memorising over 1000’ individual words. 

How can family members help their children with phonics?

  1. Take interest – ask your child what they have learned and ask them to demonstrate it for you so you can help them at home and encourage them to boost their confidence
  2. Listen to your child read – children should practise reading at least 20 minutes a day for them to cover reading sight words, CVC words, CVCE words, initial sounds, final sounds & short sentences. 
  3. Avoid giving them the answer – do not tell your child what the word is so they repeat after you, and do not help them memorise these words. Encourage them to decode the sounds individually. 
  4. Read to your child – have bed time story dates, or have a reading time where you’re showing your child we pick up a book and ready individually then we come and read together

Phonics can be tricky, however, helping your child decode their sounds will only result in them being more confident when they are to communicate with other individuals in English.