graphemes and split digraphs are like a different language for most people. So, if you’re struggling with understanding anything related to phonics, don’t panic, you are not alone! At Ladybird we understand that the
whole subject of phonics is tricky to get your head around, but we hope that by answering some of your phonics related questions, it
will all finally make sense.
What’s the difference between phonemes
and graphemes? Sarah, mum of Sammy (4)
Phonemes are the 44 sounds in the English language and graphemes
are the letter or groups of letters which represent a phoneme. So for the sound
‘sss’, at the start of ‘sun’ the phoneme is the sound ‘sss’ and the grapheme is ‘s’. Take a look at our phonics
sound chart to see (and hear) more phonemes and graphemes.
What is Synthetic
Synthetic phonics is the most common method in UK schools
for teaching children how to read. Phonics involves making the connection between
the 44 sounds (phonemes) of spoken English with letters or groups of letters
(graphemes). Through synthetic phonics children are taught that these sounds
can be blended together to form words and this gives children the skills to identify
these sounds and start to blend them to make words and segment them to learn
spelling. For example, children blend /c/a/t/ to make the word cat, and
/sh/o/p/ to make the word shop.
You can read more about synthetic phonics in our Starting
School and Learning to Read guide over on Issuu.
I’ve heard talk of tricky words, but
what are they and how many are there?
‘Tricky words’ are the words that can’t be sounded out or
decoded phonetically. So words like said and
the. Children are taught about these
words early on, so that they can learn to recognise these words as whole words.
How can I help my daughter understand
phonics without complicating things further or disrupting how she’s being taught
at school? Gemma, mum of Chloe (5)
Below are a
few ways you can help your child learn using phonics, but it’s also a good idea
to talk to your child’s teacher. For more information on the ideas below read our Learning to Read guide.
phonemes correctly –
listen to our phonics sound chart to ensure you’re pronouncing everything
phonemes and graphemes – you can do this when sharing a book at home, when learning how to spell your
child’s name and when playing with fridge magnets!
learning fun –
through games like I Spy and matching words to pictures your child can enjoy
Practice – Encourage your child to use their
phonics knowledge as much as possible.
and books – Ideal for
supporting your child’s phonics learning, books and apps can really help. Try the I’m
Ready for Phonics range of books or our I’m Ready for Phonics app which has 12 levels of interactive fun. You can read more about one parent’s experience with
the app here.
Why are my children learning phonics
at school? I was never taught using phonics, so why are they? Jon, dad to Owen (6) and Martha (4)
phonics is considered an important tool for teaching early reading skills as it’s
agreed that breaking down the language into pieces often helps struggling
readers. In the UK all children are now given the Phonics Screening test at the
end of Year 1 to assess their ability to decode a series of real and nonsense
words using their phonics knowledge, so it is important that your child understands
phonics and how to decode each word.
There’s a lot more information on learning to read over on the Age and Stage pages at Ladybird.com, but if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or via email.
WIN WIN WIN!!
We’ve got one set of two I’m Ready for Phonics books and the I’m Ready for Phonics app (for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) up for grabs. To enter simply leave a comment below about your child’s phonics
experience and we will select a winner.
Leave your comment by midnight Sunday 1st September 2013. Winners will
be selected at random and notified by 5th September 2013.
UPDATE 3rd September 2013. Thank you to everyone who has left a comment, it’s great to hear that our phonics post has been helpful. The winner has now been selected and notified.