Phonics breaks down written language into single sounds. 44 to be precise. Once children get to grips with these, they combine and blend them to make words. This method makes our clunky English language so much easier, helping children learn 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 that they have easy access to the books that closely match their phonic knowledge to practise reading with at home.
There is a big difference between phonics books and picture books or other bookshop books. Sharing picture books and popular character books together is an important part of developing a love of reading. However when children are learning to read themselves and becoming independent readers, books that don’t match their phonics knowledge can cause frustration and slow down their progress (and enthusiasm for reading).
Phonics books contain the sounds that children know or that they are learning. They don’t contain any other sounds, so children quickly find that they can read and in turn they want to read more!
When your child is learning to read, the best thing that you can do is to have phonics books at the right level for them all around the house. You never know when they might pick one up and read to you for 5-10 minutes. Ideally keep some books in the kitchen, their bedroom, the living room – wherever your child spends time.
Learning to read is not easy. It requires a lot of practise and support from teachers, family and friends. The best way to help your child is to spend time practising focus sounds with them, and encourage them to try reading themselves with the right books.