In recent years there has been a change in the way that children are taught to read and write in schools. This preferred method is formally known as phonics, which essentially teaches children the sound made by each letter and identify the phoneme that make up each word. By helping children to sound out words, they can then start to read and write.
There are three main stages to teaching phonics –
GPCs is short for grapheme phoneme correspondences, which denotes that children are taught all the phenomes in the English language and ways of writing them. These are taught in the following order, starting with the most familiar sounds first.
s, a, t, p, i, n
m, d, g, o, c, k/ck
e, u, r, h, b, f
l, j, v, w, x, y
z, qu, ch, sh, th, ng
ai, ee, igh/ie, oa, oo (short), oo (long)
ar, or, ur/er, ow/ou, oi
air, ear, ure
Blending is when children are taught to speak the sounds that a word is made up of until it becomes clear and they can obviously hear what the word is.
Segmenting is the total opposite of blending, this is when children are taught to break a word down by the phonemes that it is comprised of, which essentially helps them with learning to spell the words.
Here are three fun ways in which you can teach phonics in your classroom:
Making Simple Words
To create simple words, you can use magnetic letters or you can cut out card letters. Give the children a picture of something easy to spell such as mat, hat or cat and ask them to use the letters to spell out the word.
Letters on The Board
Start by writing some letters down on your School Dry wipe magnetic whiteboard, Wedge Whiteboards or Folding Wedge Whiteboards are perfect for this. Then read out a word, one at a time, and ask your pupils to try and spell the word using the letters that you have written on the whiteboard. Once they have tried to spell the word, it is imperative for you to write the correct spelling down, as this will allow the children to visualise it. Do this for 4-6 words, each time writing down the correct spelling. You may wish to limit the number of vowel sounds that you practise because the mixture of sounds they denote can be difficult for children, particularly early learners.
I Spy Game
It can take a while for children to be able to recognise and hear the sounds in words. The ‘I spy’ game is a fantastic way to support children to distinguish and identify the sounds within words. Instead of playing the usual game of ‘I Spy’ where you can refer to anything within eyesight, you can put a selection of things in a box, which will limit the number of options available. Obviously, the items that you put in the box must be things that children will be able to identify. Encourage your pupils to take it in turns to select their own items for the box, so that they can challenge other children.
We would love to hear how you teach phonics in your classroom. Please feel free to leave us a comment.
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