At the end of January, a news report from the ABC highlighted the possibility of a Grade 1 phonics check throughout Victoria. The phonics check will be implemented by Matthew Guy's Coalition if it wins the November state elections. The phonics test aims to test a student's reading ability, help improve the teaching of reading and to identify children that need extra support.
What is phonics?
Imagine not being able to make the "a" or "s" sound! Not knowing how to sound out these letters would mean that you would struggle with stringing letters together, pronouncing words, reading or spelling! Phonics is about making connections between printed/written letters and speech sounds e.g. looking at the letter "k" and being able to make the "k" sound. It is also about being able to merge separate sounds together to make one word. An example of this would be h-a-t to hat.
Why is phonics important?
Being able to decode (read) and encode (spell) words is essential for children. When a child comes across an unfamiliar word, their phonics skills can help them read the letters and link them together to make a word. Generally, children who cannot recognise or verbalise letters of the alphabet will struggle with reading and spelling.
Learning phonics at a young age also helps improve reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension. Reading fluency relates to the speed or reading rate of a student along with the ability to read with expression. It is important to note that reading at a fast pace, without understanding the words being read, isn't fluent reading. In regard to phonics, accuracy is when a student can sound out the words properly while reading comprehension links to the ability to understand the meaning of the words being read. Having good reading comprehension helps widen a child's vocabulary.
At the end of the day learning phonics is important because it helps children pronounce words and understand them. We want our children to be able to read well and feel confident in their abilities.
Here are 3 fun ways to teach your child phonics:
Feel the Letter before Saying it
Create letters using sandpaper. You can stick each letter onto a colourful piece of paper and make an alphabet deck. Before teaching your child how to sound out the letter, trace the letter with their fingertips. After they have felt the letter, say it together and then ask them to repeat it. Once you have gone through it a few times, check to see if they can say them without your help.
Sound of the Week Table
Start each week with a different sound. For example, create a table for "a" to stick on the wall. Print out six images from the internet, or from magazines. Find three objects that make the sound and three that don't make the sound. Scramble the images and have your child stick the correct images on the table.
I Spy with My Little Eye Something that Begins with "b"
Find a couple of objects around the house that start with different letters. You could use a ball for "b", a pencil for "p" and a doll for "d". Put these objects in front of your child and begin the game with "I spy with my little eye, something that begins with…the letter b!". Your child needs to be able to identify which of the objects begin with the letter "b".
Is your child struggling to make a connection between letters and sounds? Having a hard time reading? Or difficulty in recognising words with similar sounds? We can help! Get in touch with us today at 1300-698-886 or book a time to chat with Nicholas Holmes from our Education team to discuss your child's needs.