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What Is Phonics?

What Is Phonics?

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Most parents of young children will have heard the term ‘phonics’ and be aware that they have something to do with letters and words.


Phonics is a well-used method of teaching children to read. The system teaches children to read letters the way they sound so that they can use them to put words together. For example, the word ‘man’ would be spelled ‘em-ay-en’ by an adult, while a child using phonics would spell the word ‘mm-ah-nn’. This method makes it easier for children to put words together and learn to read.


Once children have learned the sounds that each letter makes, they will move on to start forming words from left to right. They’ll also be taught about special relationships between letters that join together to form another sound. These include ‘oo’, ‘ch’, th’ and ‘sh’.

Read alone

Research has shown that phonics is the most effective way to teach young children aged between five and seven to read. Children start out with easier letters and sounds before progressing on to the more complicated ones. Once the basics have been mastered then children can use phonics to read alone, sounding out words they’re unsure of.

Read every day

What Is Phonics?Teaching phonics benefits from children getting plenty of practice in an enjoyable way. Parents can help greatly with this by spending time looking at books with their children. Ask the child to read the book to you or as you’re reading pick out certain words you think your child will be able to manage, even if they need to sound them out. When reading point out sounds, such as ‘ch’ or ‘ee’, that you know your child has been working on at school. Try to find some time every for reading together and encouraging the progress being made.

Simple text

Your child’s teacher should be able to tell you what letters and sounds your child is working on each week or this might be evident from any homework they’ve been given. The class teacher or a librarian will also be able to offer advice on books at your child’s level. When your child is first starting to read then their books will usually feature simple text with a lot of repetition. Don’t be put off by this as it reinforces what your child has already learned.

Phonics screening check

The phonics screening check is used to test year one children’s progress in phonics. It is quick, easy and designed to be stress-free for children. Children will be asked to read out a selection of around 40 words, some of which they’ll be familiar with and others that they won’t have seen before. You should be informed of how your child is progressing after the check and if need be, you should also be made aware of any extra support the school has put in place to help your child.

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will be taught and phonics is a great for children to get the most from reading at an early age. It focuses children on listening carefully to pick up the sounds letters make and gives them the skills required to read independently. This in turn encourages kids to develop a love of reading, which is something to be cherished.




About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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