Phonics & literacy

  • 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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