Reading - Understanding Phonics

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a process of breaking words into letters, or groups of letters. Making the sounds of those letters, and putting those sounds together. This then means children can read words starting with sat, tap and pin. Then as they develop into words like snake, or failure.

This may be different to the way you were taught to read, but having a basic understanding can really support your child. It can seem quite daunting and unnatural. Don’t worry. It will seem strange if you have never seen it before, but these videos and pieces of information is aimed to offer you the support needed to help your child.

If you still find it tricky, don’t let it put you off supporting your child. If you can’t grasp it read with your child, give them take up time when they can’t read a word (count to ten in your head), then give them the word. This is much, much better than not reading with your child.

It is also important to note that not all words are decodable. Some words are tricky, like the cannot be taught through phonics the children learn these, and read them at a glance. Some words do not follow phonic patterns like alchemist, these words often follow other spelling patterns and are taught later in school. However most words are phonically decodable. We also offer the children phonically decoable books to ensure they can practise their skills regularly.

KS1 Phonics Screening Check Parent Meeting

Glossary of key terms

Here is a list of the key terms linked to phonics:

  • Blend: this is when you say the individual sounds that make up a word and then merge or blend them together to say the word as used when reading.
  • Consonant: most letters of the alphabet are consonants, except for the vowels: a,e,i,o,u.
  • CVC Words: this is an abbreviation used for consonant-vowel-consonant words. It describes the order of sounds. Some examples of CVC words are: cat, pen, top, chat (because ch makes one sound).
  • Other similar abbreviations include:
  • CCVC (Consonant, Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) words e.g. trap and black.
  • CVCC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant, Consonant) words e.g. milk and fast.
  • Grapheme: it's a written letter or a group of letters which represent one single sound (phoneme) e.g. a, l, sh, air, ck.
  • Phoneme: it's a single sound that can be made by one or more letters - e.g. s, k, z, oo, ph, igh.
  • Segment: it's the opposite of blending as it means splitting a word up into individual sounds when spelling and writing.
  • Tricky Words: they're the words that are difficult to sound out e.g. said, the, because which don't follow phonics rules.
  • Trigraph: this is when three letters go together to make one sound e.g. ear, air, igh, dge, tch.
  • Vowel: the letters a, e, i, o, u.
  • 4 Digraph: this describes two letters which together make one sound e.g. ee, oa, ea, ch, ay.There are different types of digraph:
    • Vowel digraph: a digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel: boat or day.
    • Consonant digraph: two consonants which can go together: shop or thin.

Split digraph (previously called magic e): two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. For example cake or pine.