Partner Presentation – Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics

The majority of your children will have either learnt phonics in the past or will be learning it at the moment. In this article we are focusing on phonics and the programme we use – Jolly Phonics – to give you a better understanding of why it’s so important.

Earlier this year phonics consultant from the UK, Maureen Sibley, dropped into Singapore to give our teachers some specialist training. Here she explains why phonics is such an essential part of your child’s development:

“Learning about phonics gives children a major building block required for both reading and writing. A definition of phonics teaching is ‘Teaching that is focused on the relationship between letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes).’ 

“Whether children are learning English as their first or second language, having a secure knowledge and understanding of phonics enables their learning to accelerate. It also gives them a deeper understanding of how the complicated English language works.

“In English there are about 44 sounds – 20 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds (depending on dialect) and these are represented by the 26 letters of the alphabet either by groups of one, two, three or even four letters e.g. a; c; ck; sh; ai; ee; igh; tch; eigh; augh.

“To be confident and competent readers and spellers, children need to learn to recognise groups of letters that make a sound, and not each individual letter. This skill often takes a lot of time to master and it doesn’t end there.

“Children also need to be able to hear and say these sounds so that when they read they can break down an unknown word into its letter groups (graphemes), know the corresponding sound (phoneme) and then blend those sounds together from left to right quickly to form a whole word. This should then make sense in the context of the sentence they are reading.

“When spelling and writing, children need to be able to hear each of the sounds (phonemes) in a word, decide which letter or group of letters can represent this sound, choose the right one e.g. ‘ou’ or ‘ow’  and then write it.

“When phonics is taught in a clear and structured way children really benefit and can gradually add to their knowledge and understanding of words, so they can make secure progress from simple to more complex texts, even when they encounter words that are not entirely phonetic. It should also be pointed out that children’s progress tends to be more successful when a child has a good grasp of the spoken language, and are encouraged and supported by their parents to expand their comprehension of the world through many different experiences.”

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