Phonics is a way of learning to read and write by learning and then being able to identify the sounds letters make alone & when combined. There are 44 distinct sounds. More than one letter/combination of letters can make the same sound (boat/throw/folk), and different sounds can be made from the same letter/combination of letters (look/loop). The idea behind phonics is that if you learn the letters/combinations that make these sounds, then you don’t have to learn each word individually. Students generally learn a few letters at a time, then combine them in different combinations eg; sat, pat, mat etc. This document gives you an overview of how phonics is taught in UK primary schools.
Love to Learn has phonics flashcards to help you and your mentee practice recalling the different sounds.
WH Smith have a lot of low-cost phonics exercise books which Love to Learn can order in, or reimburse you if you wish to buy some for your mentee.
To practice word identification and pronunciation, ask your mentee to read a text aloud to you.
You can also sometimes practice reading sections of a text together simultaneously – this encourages readers with low confidence to have a go, and enables them to mimic your tone, expression and pauses in the correct place.
You will find some useful phonics worksheets here. These are especially good for slightly older learners.
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