Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.
Synthetic phonics teaches the phonemes (sounds) associated with the graphemes (letters). We use the Letters and Sounds Six Phase Programme which introduces the sounds associated with the letters at the rate of about one sound per day.
The sounds are taught on their own and then blended together (this is called synthesising), all-through-the-word. For example, children might be taught a short vowel sound (e.g. /a/e//i/o/u/) in addition to some consonant sounds (e.g. /s/, /t/, /p/). Then the children are taught words with these sounds (e.g. sat, sit, pat, pit, pot, tap, at, it). They are taught to pronounce each phoneme in a word, then to blend the phonemes together to form the word (e.g. /s/ – /i/ – /t/; “sit”).
We teach sounds in all positions of the words( for example /t/ at the beginning of the word “top”, but at the end of the word “pit” or in the middle of the word “pitch”), but the emphasis is on all-through-the-word segmenting and blending from the beginning of the programme.
We are rigorous in our approach making sure that our phonic teaching is FUN, FREQUENT, FAST and FAITHFUL. Research evidence has shown that the most effective way to teach phonics is by using one main programme (in our case Letters and Sounds). This can be complimented and enriched by other materials and we use the ‘Storytime Phonics‘ to make our early phonics learning fun, successful and accessible for all learners.
Storytime phonics uses real story books and follows the DfE ‘Letters & Sounds’ document, providing a structured, easy to follow plans. It includes assessment and tracking of phonics and involves Whole Class Learning.
The Pedagogy behind Storytime Phonics
The ‘Simple View of Reading’ final report by Sir Jim Rose 2006 for the National Literacy Trust, which informed and was embodied within the National Curriculum in 2013, defines the two key dimensions that identify reading skills as; ‘word recognition’ and ‘language comprehension’. It is a love of books that can, and should, be instilled long before anydecoding happens – and should be at the forefront of our minds and central to our lessons.