FAQs about phonics


Mother and child readingMy child won't sit still and read

It's quite normal for a young child not to want to sit still for very long. Make it more informal and fun, and read for shorter periods of time, say, five minutes. 

Let your child run around in between periods of reading to let off steam. You might even try acting out the story.

Likewise, choose a time when your child is not too tired. If they have just started school, they're likely to be very tired at the end of the day. Make it a special time that you share together and don't apply too much pressure. 

My child's book only contains six words - help!

Phonics readers frequently have very few words. This is especially true in the early stages, when learning the easiest letter sounds. 

The phonics readers my child brings home from school are really dull

Phonics readers need to be simple, and even repetitive, so children can learn the focus sound, but they don't need to be dull.

Try the Learn at Home with Phonics Bug or Fun with Phonics series. They have friendly, engaging characters.

Remember your child is only just starting. Phonics readers are carefully designed to enable children to develop a set of secure skills in reading and to build their confidence.

If books are too hard or too long, children can get demoralised. 

My child is at the end of their first term and they still haven't learned to read

Each child learns at their own rate. If you're concerned, you can speak to your child's teacher, who will probably reassure you that your child is progressing normally. 

What are multi-sensory approaches?

Children learn synthetic phonics through developing speaking and listening as well as reading and writing skills. Children see, hear, say and write each letter sound.

Many phonics programmes ask children to look, listen and do activities to help them learn phonic knowledge and skills in a fun, multi-sensory environment. 

What are 'tricky words'?

Tricky words contain letters that don't represent their normal sounds and these are taught separately. Children are encouraged to learn the tricky bit, then to sound out and blend the rest of the word. 

When are children introduced to letter names?

Letter names are usually introduced in nursery through the Alphabet Song.

Watch a video on tricky words

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For books to practise phonics at home, search 'Phonics Bug' 
in the Amazon Book Store.

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Last updated: about 3 years ago