Practicing your phonics sounds for just 5 minutes a day is proven to be the best way to improve reading skills, whether in the car on the drive home from school, snuggled up on the sofa or sitting outside in the garden on a nice summers day! The positive reward system the game offers is very motivating and the different ways the app challenges a child to think about each letter; from recognising the grapheme to putting it into a word is impressive.
Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that offers a wealth of research-based reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Our reading resources assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
Children normally start on Phase 2 near the start of their first year at school. This is when most of the letters of the alphabet are introduced. Children learn the letters’ names, and they also learn one common sound for each letter of the alphabet. So for instance, the letter ‘c’ is introduced with a hard ‘c’ sound as in ‘cup’, not the soft sound it has in ‘ice’. And children learn a short sound for each vowel (a, e, i, o and u) – as in ‘hat’, ‘pet’, ‘dip’, ‘pot’ and ‘mug’.
Jolly Phonics is a comprehensive programme, based on the proven, fun and muliti-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. This means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. These 42 letter sounds are phonic building blocks that children, with the right tools, use to decode the English language. When reading a word, they recognise the letters and blend together the respective sounds; when writing a word they identify the sounds and write down the corresponding letters. These skills are called blending and segmenting. These are two of the five skills that children need to master phonics:
There has been much research all over the world on Jolly Phonics, which can be viewed here. The research shows that the progress made by children using Jolly Phonics far exceeds that of children not taught using a synthetic phonics approach. It is effective across the ability range, with boys doing just as well as girls, while those with English as their second language can do as well as children who have it as their first.
You can teach phonics in many different ways. You can use word or picture cards, magnetic letters, letter tiles, games, or even more traditional methods. However, if you want phonics instruction to be effective, you need to know the content (e.g., consonants, short vowels, digraphs) that you are teaching and the order in which children typically learn, and thus that you will teach, that content. We call this a scope and sequence.8 Across decades, evidence has accumulated to suggest that systematic phonics instruction with a scope and sequence will produce better outcomes than instruction that does not follow a scope and sequence.9
Dig right into phonics books to give him a head start in reading comprehension. Many phonics programs include books that are written specifically for beginning readers. Sit down for some one-on-one time to tackle letter sounds and sight words. You can make reading fun for him, which will make him look forward to sitting down with a good book in the future.