At The Bear Can Read, we’re big fans of phonics! It’s the quickest and most effective way to teach children to read, so what’s not to love? Phonics makes it easier to achieve our goal – fun, fluent and stress-free reading for every child.
But we’d go further than that and say that learning to read with phonics can offer your child five big benefits that will stay with them for life!
1. Read with speed
Your child’s school uses a systematic approach to teach phonics and reading, breaking the letters and sounds in words down into tiny steps. From the very start of learning to read, your child will be acquiring skills very fast – often learning several new letter and sound combinations every week. This quickly builds up into real reading skills. As phonics is systematic, everything is covered in a logical order – and children’s early reading skills support them to learn more and more. It’s amazing how fast children go from being unable to read at all, to reading a whole short book by themselves!
A good foundation in phonics will help your child to read with speed, even after they’ve finished their formal phonics lessons. It gives them the skills they need to read words fluently on sight, without puzzling over unfamiliar letter patterns. This in turn translates to faster, more accurate reading. With good early teaching, this can be a lifelong skill for your child!
2. Read with confidence
Phonics takes the guesswork out of reading! Learning their letters and sounds systematically will help your child read confidently, even when they encounter words they may not even have heard before. Your child will learn how to spot patterns in words and look for similarities between words they know and words they don’t yet know. Recognising the patterns can help unlock a whole world of words that might otherwise have been too tricky to read.
Did you know? Our Koala and Honey boxes come with two tricky word cards children have to learn by sight as they aren’t phonically regular. We slowly drip feed these words so children don’t get overwhelmed.
There’s nothing better for your child’s confidence than successful reading. Once they are using their phonic skills automatically, they will feel confident that they can tackle almost any word! And this in turn will encourage them to have a go at books that might otherwise have seemed daunting.
3. Read with understanding
Obviously, reading is about more than just saying the sounds in a word – you have to understand what you are reading! Phonics can help your child here, too. A good grasp of phonics simplifies the process of reading for your child. Instead of having to puzzle over each word as they read, they will be able to use more of their brainpower to think about the meaning. You can help them with this too – listen to them read and pause sometimes to ask them questions about what is happening in the book or predict what might happen next. This really helps them make connections between the words on the page and their own ideas – which is essential for learning, and for enjoying reading!
Accurate reading is also really important for your child’s future learning at school. Throughout primary and secondary school – and right through further education and beyond – it’s so much harder to learn effectively without good reading skills. Learning their phonics will help your child to read accurately and focus on the meaning – which will enable them to learn so much more effectively in every part of the curriculum!
Not sure which level your child needs? Have a look at our bear clubs and see what’s included in the boxes.
4. Read with enjoyment
Those of us who love reading know that it opens up a wonderful new world of fascinating facts and exciting stories! We all want our children to experience the pleasure of getting lost in a brilliant book. And the good news is that as your child’s phonic skills build up, and their confidence increases, they will find that reading gets less and less effortful and more and more fun.
Once reading the words on the page has become automatic for your child, they will be able to concentrate on enjoying their reading. They’ll have the confidence to explore different types of books and find out what interests them most. They’ll discover brilliant new authors and amazing new ideas. And best of all, they’ll be able to read whatever they like, just for fun!
5. Read with independence
Becoming an independent reader might just be the greatest benefit that phonics can offer your child. Once they have worked their way through formal phonics learning and acquired the skills they need to read most words in English, they will be well on their way to independent reading. As they progress through primary school, they will carry on using their phonics skills and building up their reading stamina. Soon they will find that they can tackle all kinds of books independently.
Independent readers are independent thinkers, and once your child has mastered the skills of reading, they will be able to access ideas, stories and information from right across time and all around the world. They’ll be able to read and understand information in every area of the curriculum and learn about any subject that interests them. Independent readers find far fewer barriers to future success, whatever direction they take in life.
So now you can see why we love phonics! And we hope that, with the fun resources and books in our monthly boxes, your child will soon love phonics and reading just as much as we do. If you would like to find out more about phonics, we have plenty more articles all about phonics on the blog.