Phonics and Reading: Nurturing Confidence from the Very Beginning
What is phonics?
Learning to read is an extremely complex process. It is made up of five essential elements, or building blocks, that children need to master in order to become competent and fluent readers. These five essential elements are: phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
Phonics is a crucial building block in learning to read, and is widely promoted by governments, researchers, literacy experts and educators. The Rose Review in 2006 indicated that synthetic phonics is by far the most successful method of reading instruction. Similarly, in his address to the Reading Reform Foundation Conference in 2015, Nick Gibb MP stated, “…a substantial body of evidence shows that systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective way to teach all children to read.”
So, what exactly is synthetic phonics?
In order for children to read successfully, they need to understand the alphabetic code. This is the idea that individual letters and groups of letters represent the sounds of spoken language. While there are 26 letters of the alphabet, there are actually 44 sounds, or phonemes, in the English language. It is very important that children learn to make the association between these letters and sounds in a direct and systematic way.
Synthetic phonics is a method of instruction in which words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). It teaches children to make connections between the letters of written texts (graphemes, or letter symbols) and the sounds of spoken language. It also teaches children how to identify all the phonemes in a word and match them to a letter in order to be able to spell correctly.
Children are taught how to break up words, or decode them, into individual sounds, and then blend all the way through the word. For example, in the word bat, children learn to identify three individual phonemes: /b/ /a/ /t/ that can be blended back together to produce a word. The ‘synthetic’ part of this particular phonics instruction derives from the process of synthesising or blending sounds to create words.
New sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order, and they are introduced quickly. This is so that children are soon able to read a range of easily decodable words.
For example, if a child is introduced to the sounds /m/ /s/ /a/ /t/ they can quickly read the words at, mat, sat, am, Sam etc.
Reading Eggs uses synthetic phonics to help children become great readers
Reading Eggs is a highly engaging and motivating programme that focuses on a core reading curriculum of phonics and sight words. In addition, the programme also builds vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
Reading Eggs comprises of highly structured, systematic and sequential skills-based lessons and activities that match an individual letter, or letter combination, with its appropriate sound. The programme teaches children how to blend sounds all the way through a word in order to read it, as well as how to spell. It teaches these essential skills through a variety of interactive games and activities.
The Reading Eggs programme introduces the technique of reading words from left to right and blending all the way through the word from the very first lesson. ‘Sound Buttons’ are introduced in the early stages of the programme to encourage children to make letter-sound correspondences and to teach them how to blend individual phonemes to read words.
Early lessons and activities help children to identify how many phonemes they can hear within a word. Other activities prompt them to listen to individual phonemes and to identify the initial, middle and final sound within the word.
Building on from initial phonemic awareness and simple letter-sound recognition, Reading Eggs teaches children how one phoneme can sometimes be represented by two or more letters, such as /sh/ or /igh/. It also shows children how a single phoneme can be represented in several ways, such as /ee/ as in see, /ea/ as in sea, and /ie/ as in field. Children also learn how a single letter can represent more than one phoneme, such as /o/ in go, and /o/ in top.
You can view sample lessons from Reading Eggs here.
Building automaticity and reading confidence
Reading Eggs teaches children how to read a core list of high-frequency words quickly and confidently. This skill is called automaticity and is crucial for developing reading fluency. Activities within the programme also help children to build their vocabulary. This is an essential element of learning to read and leads to greater reading comprehension.
The programme also includes e-books that are read aloud as a model for the child’s own fluent reading of the text. These easily decodable texts are introduced from the very first lesson and are designed to reinforce new skills.
Children are independently reading their first decodable ‘real’ book as early as Lesson 9 of the programme. This is a huge milestone in their learning journey.
How your child will benefit from Reading Eggs’ phonics approach
Reading Eggs is based on solid scientific research and developed by a team of educators with over 30 years of experience. A subscription to the programme gives your child access to 120 specially written, carefully structured lessons that teach the fundamental skills they need to become readers. In addition, there are literally thousands of activities, e-books to read, games to play and rewards for children to keep them motivated to learn while they’re having fun.
The programme is organised into maps of ten lessons. As every lesson is completed, your child will progress to the next lesson, until they eventually reach the end of the map. Here they complete a mastery quiz before progressing up a level to the next map.
Each lesson has the same structure. It starts with a skills-based teaching sequence which your child can interact with. This sequence is animated and hosted by one of the key characters. The lesson then progresses through a series of interactive activities that consolidate the skills learnt in each teaching sequence.
Each lesson ends with a book that matches your child’s current reading ability, providing them with the thrill of reading on their own. Finally they’re rewarded with a hatching critter to add to their collection.
Reading Eggs supports every child, allowing them to work at their own pace and level. It constantly rewards them for their work and successes, and keeps children engaged, active and motivated.
It allows children to revisit activities they’ve already done and continues to reward them. It also keeps parents completely informed of their child’s progress with regular emails and detailed assessment reports.
See how Reading Eggs works with a free trial
Not only does Reading Eggs use proven methods to build essential phonics and reading skills, the programme is so much fun. Children love playing the games and earning rewards as they learn and develop a real love of reading.
By using the Reading Eggs programme, children learn to read in an engaging and enjoyable way. All of the lessons are embedded in game-like activities that encourage the children to play as they learn. When they succeed, they are rewarded with prizes, such as the golden eggs they receive at the end of each short activity they complete.
With the lessons being so fun, young readers enjoy spending time using Reading Eggs—and the more time they spend in the programme, the more that they learn! It’s what makes the programme so successful in home across 169 different countries.
See how Reading Eggs can help your child learn to read in just weeks. Start your free trial here today and join over 10 million users worldwide.