Phonics – phase 4

Children continue to practise previously learned graphemes and phonemes and learn how to read and write:

CVCC words: tent, damp, toast, chimp

For example, in the word ‘toast’, t = consonant, oa = vowel, s = consonant, t = consonant.

and CCVC words: swim, plum, sport, cream, spoon

For example, in the word ‘cream’, c = consonant, r = consonant, ea = vowel, m = consonant.  

Ways you can support your children at home

  • Practise reading and spelling some CVCC and CCVC words but continue to play around with CVC words. Children like reading and spelling words that they have previously worked with, as this makes them feel successful.
  • Make up captions and phrases for your child to read and write, for example, a silver star, clear the pond, crunch crisps. Write some simple sentences and leave them around the house for your child to find and read. After they have found and read three, give them a treat!
  • Look out for words in the environment, such as on food packaging, which your child will find easy to read, for example, lunch, fresh milk, drink, fish and chips, jam.
  • Work on reading words together, for example, a street name such as Park Road, captions on buses and lorries, street signs such as bus stop.

Phonics teaching will continue into Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2)

As your child enters Key Stage 1 (Year 1) they will continue to learn that most sounds (phonemes) can be spelled in more than one way. For example, the f sound can be written as f as in fan or ff as in puff or ph as in photo.

This develops their knowledge of spelling choices. They will continue with this spelling work into Year 2 and beyond

They will learn that most letters and combinations of letters (graphemes) can represent more than one sound.  For example, the grapheme ea can be read as /ee/ as in leaf or /e/ as in bread.

This supports their reading development.

Good phonics knowledge and skills help your child to read words fluently and spell words, but they need to understand what they are reading and understand the processes and purposes for writing too.  Your help is vital here.

Ways you can support your children at home: reading together

Teach lots of nursery rhymes – each one tells a different story. 

Enjoy and share books together – buy or borrow books that will fire their imagination and interest. Read and reread those they love best. 

Make time to read with your child throughout their time in school PLEASE continue reading to your child, even when they are reading independently. This is very important – your child needs to practise their reading skills every day, and needs the support of an interested adult. Grandparents, older brothers or sisters can help, too. 

Let them see you reading – grown-ups can share their magazines about their favourite sport or hobby. 

Read with your child – ask your child to attempt unknown words, using their phonic skills and knowledge. Make sure they blend all through the word. 

Talk about the meaning of the book, too – take time to talk about what is happening in the book, or things that they found really interesting in an information book. Discuss the characters and important events. Ask them their views. Provide toys, puppets and dressing-up clothes that will help them to act out stories.

Explain the meaning of words (vocabulary) that your child can read but may not understand, for example, flapped, roared. 

Listen to story tapes.  

Teach your child some action rhymes – ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’, ’Here we go round the mulberry bush’, ‘We all clap hands together’. Use tapes and CD-ROMs of nursery rhymes to sing along to. 

Read simple rhyming books together – leave out a rhyming word now and then, and see if your child can work out the missing word. If not, you say it. 

Borrow or buy the best books you can to share with your child. Libraries and bookshops can advise you of the most popular books. 

Add sound effects when reading a story and encourage your child to join in. 

A quiet area with some cushions and toys is a comfortable place where you and your child can go to look at a book together.

Ways you can support your children at home: writing together  

Magic writing boards are great fun for children, both little and larger versions. It won’t be long before they will be trying to write their names! 

Write with your child – ‘think aloud’ so they can hear the decisions you are making as you write. Make sure the writing is for a purpose, for example, a birthday message, a shopping list, an address.

Talk about the words they see in everyday life – food packaging, signs in the supermarkets, captions on buses and lorries, messages on birthday cards and invitations.

Write a shopping list together.

Send an email to a family member or a friend – your child says the message, you write it!

Provide your child with a shoe box full of things to write with – writing tools of various sizes and thicknesses: gel pens, crayons, glitter pens, rainbow pencils, old birthday cards, coloured paper, sticky tape to make little books. Rolls of wallpaper can be attached to a table or wall to provide a large canvas for their writing and drawing.

Praise them for their play writing – those early squiggles and marks show that your child is beginning to understand writing.

Ways you can support your children at home: what to do if your child is reluctant to read or write at home

Relax!

Reading

  • Make sure your child sees you reading.
  • Read to your child. Show you like the book. Bring stories to life by using loud/soft/scary voices – let yourself go!
  • Spread books around your house for your child to dip into.
  • Let your child choose what they would like to read – books, comics, catalogues.
  • Read favourite books over and over again. Enjoy!

Writing

  • Make sure your child sees you writing.
  • Compose an email together, inviting a friend over to tea.
  • Continue to make words together, using magnetic letters.
  • Leave a message on the fridge door and encourage them to write a reply to you.
  • Make up a story together about one of their toys. You write for them, repeating the sentences as you write. When the story is complete they can draw pictures to go with it.
  • Buy stickers of a favourite film or TV programme and make a book about it.

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