As we already know, it is so important for parents and teachers to work together to give your child the best start. Reading together at home is one of the most effective and important ways in which you can help your child. Children should be encouraged to enjoy sharing books and read independently, as well as reading with an adult. This not only supports children’s progression in reading but leads to them seeing reading as a source of pleasure and interest.
Starting from the Early Years, children will be taught Phonics, these are vital skills taught to support each child on their individual journey of learning how to read and spell. To support your child in becoming an effective and confident reader we hope to work with you to develop their knowledge of phonics (letter sounds) to enable them to decode different words they may come across.
The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘e’ or ‘p’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘sh’ or ‘air’).
A letter consists of a sound, a shape and it has a capital form and a lower-case form. The letter sound is the first thing that children need to recognise. An important factor to remember is - only use capital names when the children know the letter sounds.
At Borrowdale School, we follow the Twinkl Phonics Programme. The six-level teaching programme focuses on high quality phonics work. The intention is to equip children with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers. You will have access to a parent information sheet that includes the visual aids, songs, letter formation and actions that the children have been learning in school, as well as focus words to practise at home. In Year 1 the children sit a phonics test which consists of 40 decodable words. They are split into 2 groups – real words and nonsense words. This test takes place in June and since 2012 when the test began, the pass mark has been 32 marks. However, this could change at any time.
The Twinkl Phonics approach combines rigorous progression with engaging learning materials. We believe that children learn best when they are enjoying their learning and that this comes from a mix of bright, fun lesson resources within a clear and systematic approach that builds children’s skills daily.
During the lessons, children will repeat the elements from the four cornerstones of phonics to ensure that they have rapid and automatic recall of GPCs and tricky/common exception words; each day, they will experience blending and segmenting activities to allow regular practice of these core skills.
Stories are used to provide a stimulus and context for the phonics teaching in Twinkl Phonics lessons. The story content also integrates games to practise the skills taught. So, while children are solving mysteries in ancient Egypt or journeying down the Mississippi River, they are practising and rehearsing their core phonics skills over and over, in many different and engaging ways. Within Levels 2 and 3, stories last for one lesson. From Level 4 onwards, stories develop over a week and, therefore, act as an additional hook into learning, often being left on a cliffhanger to be resolved in the next lesson.
Twinkl Phonics lessons are also supported by weekly decodable minibooks, which are part of our Core Provision, where children can apply the skills they have learnt in their phonics lessons. As part of the wider SSP provision, there are also follow-up activities that the children can complete independently, in pairs or in groups which relate to the day’s learning.
Please watch the videos below to see how to pronounce the sounds and do the actions in Level 2 and 3:
Firstly, please take an interest in your child’s phonics work. It may be helpful to practise some of it again at home as ‘little and often’ learning helps children to remember. Give your child plenty of praise for his or her work whatever the level of the knowledge and skill of the child. If you have any worries about the phonics work, or any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.
Please listen to your child read to you every day and support as needed (and talk about the story). Reading books aloud to your child and sharing the reading of books with your child are also important. Please continue to hear your child read aloud, even when he or she can read independently and chatter about everything,
Using phonics for reading and spellings are skills that even adult proficient readers and spellers need to draw on regularly. For instance when we want to read an unknown Latin plant name, a medicine or the name of a place we haven’t heard before. By teaching phonics rigorously, we aim to set up children for lifelong reading and spelling.