Monday, 28 January 2013

#readitmummiesanddaddies2013 - When they start to read on their own - A look at Phonics

Since Charlotte began school, we feel like we've been snowed in by a swarming blizzard of phonics. It was quite surprising to see homework (HOMEWORK! FOR A 4 YEAR OLD!) being put in her schoolbag, but with the pressure for children to learn to read and attain numerical skills at an increasingly early age (even in Preschool if you read the latest recommendations), it's not enough to rely on (already overworked and put-upon) teachers to give your child that vital boost in their early reading skills.

As well as the national curriculum standards, and a wealth of material supplied by school we've been supplementing Charlotte's early reading journey with a combination of print, electronic and spoken resources. Not because we feel that it's a race, a competition with other children (and parents) in her class, but because she really wants to learn to read and finds it a little frustrating at times when the phonics books or classroom texts are so vastly different to books she enjoys having read to her.

Why is that, by the way? Even with some of the best writers (and illustrators) in the business contributing to programmes like the Oxford Owls / Oxford Learning Tree scheme, why are those books  such a turn-off for kids when by rights they should love them just as much as "The Gruffalo" or "Six Dinner Sid" ?

Supplementing Charlotte's classroom reading journey with things we've learned in phonics workshops at school, and also with things that worked for us way back in the mists of time when we were children do seem to have a direct effect but supplementing 'work' reading with 'fun' reading is essential.

Over the course of the week we'll be taking a look at some of the ways of helping a child's literacy journey (just some, as there are so many different books, apps, sites and helpful resources - each seemingly with the same aim but at times with some dizzyingly different approaches) with a mix of stories, games and exercises that really can help.

Whether you believe that reading aloud in class is useful to your child, or whether you believe phonics and decoding are worth anything at all, hopefully you'll find some new and exciting ways to get your children into learning to read and into books.