What do you say : Suh or SSSS for the word ‘snake’ ?

How do you teach your children phonetics?

Children are now learning to read with Synthetic Phonics and are learning a new way of saying the letter sounds.

Whichever way the children are taught, whether it be through jolly phonics, letters and sounds or other phonic programmes, a whole new generation is growing up on ‘nnnn’ ‘mmmmm’ and also ‘sssss’. This is called learning through ‘pure sounds’ or ‘precise pronunciation’.

This may leave parents confused as they were not taught in this way.

Saying separate sounds in words does not come naturally to us, this is a fact! But if you go into a classroom today be prepared to hear robot like talk ‘d’ ‘o’ ‘g’ for dog and ‘c’ ‘a’ ’t’ for cat and so on.

Why is Synthetic Phonics so important?

There are reasons that teachers are not teaching the precise pronunciation of the sounds of the alphabet and there are reasons as to why this is so important.

In Synthetic Phonics, the letters prompt sounds which are then ’pushed’ or ‘blended’ together. In order for someone to recognise a word when you are blending sounds together, you need to hear them as they appear in a word.

For example:

Take the word ‘mat’ : If you think about it, you would say the sounds are ‘muh’ ‘a’ ‘tuh’ – but these blended together would give you ‘muhatuh’ not ‘Mat’. 

Using the Synthetic Phonic way, the sounds for the letters are  ‘mmmmm’ ‘aaaa’ ‘tttt’  – which will give you Mat!

The reverse process happens when children are taught to spell. First they need to isolate the sound  in the word and then write letters that represent those sounds. If they pronounce them incorrectly they are then likely to misspell them.

A common mistake of the following is when a child spells the word ‘jumper’ as ‘jump’, If they pronounce the letter ‘p’ as ‘puh’, they may think they don’t need to add the ‘er’ at the end of the word.

So the main key of synthetic phonics is pronunciation.

How can you, the parents learn this?

The best way to look into this is through Youtube. If you search ‘Sounds of the English Phonic Code’ you will be able to hear people demonstrate the sounds. The videos you will come across are specifically designed to help parents practice the sounds that children are taught in school.

You can also visit www.phonicbooks.co.uk, there you can download a free chart with spellings for the sounds. You will also find books that your children can read when learning to read with synthetic phonics.

Until next time,