Phonics is the system that all schools use to teach children to read. It breaks down written language into single sounds; 44 to be precise. Once children learn with these sounds, they combine and blend them to make words. This method makes our, at times confusing, English language that much easier to digest. Moreover, the phonics method helps children learn their sounds in a certain order (a bit like learning to count). When families copy this order at home, children really thrive.
When your child is learning each set of sounds it is really important they have access to books that closely match their phonics knowledge. There is a big difference between phonics books and popular storybooks. Sharing stories is an important part of developing a love of reading, however, when children are learning to read they need access to books that match their phonics knowledge.
Phonics books contain the sounds that children already know or are in the process of learning. With this simple approach children quickly find that they can read and in turn want to read more!
When your child is learning to read, the best thing that you can do is to have phonics books readily available for them. You never know when they might pick one up and read to you for 10-15 minutes. Ideally keep some books in the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room – wherever your child spends time.
Learning to read is not easy. It requires practise and support from teachers, family and friends. The best way to help your child is to spend time practising focus sounds, and encouraging them to try reading themselves.