We have all been there. An unfamiliar word is placed in front of us and when tasked with reading it aloud, the letters emerge from our mouths clunky and disjointed. The ability to read new words is a skill which we have developed over many years, and yet even as adults, we will resort to our letter-sound knowledge to spell a new word out. This can lead to some fun encounters with waiters when trying to order that fancy, Italian pizza.
This letter-sound knowledge is what we refer to as phonics. Phonics is when you teach children the sounds made by individual letters and letter groups, and create associations that they will use to gain an understanding of language. You may be asking, why is phonics important? Today we will cover the key ways in which phonics helps your child’s learning and development.
When you are teaching a child phonics, you are introducing them to the 44 sounds in the English language which combine together to make each word. Usually, these sounds are accompanied with images and repeated many times when they are being taught, to commit them to memory. This is a perfect opportunity to focus on your child’s pronunciation skills and see if there are any sounds they are struggling to enunciate.
In addition, when demonstrating how phonemes combine to make words, you can introduce your child to new words, and build upon their vocabulary bank. This will aid their communication skills and spoken language.
For reference to phonic sounds, see here
In order to comprehend and derive meaning from text, children have to understand all the constituting parts. Written text is similar to a code, which children need the tools and skills to then decode. Reading is not intuitive, and guided help is needed. Phonics provides structure and the foundation needed to develop reading comprehension.
As your child builds confidence with letter-sound pairings, they will be able to advance on to more complex books and enjoy stories for older children. This will allow them to enjoy new topics such as science, maths and nature. As their fluency increases, they begin to process more difficult words with ease.
By understanding the sounds that create a word, your child will begin to understand how words are sounded out. This will help them when learning to write and spell. Although not every word is spelt exactly as it is sounded, it will provide a strong foundation for them to build upon.
This is an essential skill that will help your child perform well in school and be able to express themselves in written form.
Learning how to effectively communicate can help build children’s confidence. The more comfortable children get with letters and letter pairs, the more confident they will be to read on their own without assistance. This will increase their independence as they will have to ask, “what does that say?” or “what does that mean?” less and less.
When learning the rules and exceptions of phonics, children are also developing an understanding of logic and reasoning, whilst improving their analysis skills. These skills combine to create critical thinkers, a strength which will translate to other areas of learning.
Overall, we hope that we have answered the question, “why is phonics important?”. However, if you would like to find out more, Our Online Preschool has a dedicated Phonics session that really helps children to start reading. Learn more about us!