Top reasons to introduce phonics to children BEFORE they start school
Updated: Jun 24
We all want our children to be successful at school and make sure we give them the BEST preparation we can. Giving them an introduction to phonics in advance of starting school is a real asset. Phonics is the term used for the sound each letter makes and knowing the sounds is a THE key to unlocking the code of reading and writing.
When it comes to teaching your child to read, you may have already heard of phonics but….. what is phonics and why is it so important?
The use of Phonics helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
So we have come up with our top reasons why your child should be exposed to phonics BEFORE they start school.
To get a head start for school
How good would it be for your child to start school knowing all the sounds that make up our alphabet? No child is expected to start school being able to read or write, but having the ability to identify letters, the sound they make and being able to write them - would give them the building blocks needed to set them up for success for the rest of their school life.
Recently in Australia, the government introduced a phonics screening check for all year 1 students as they have come to realise how crucial phonics is in learning to read and write. It is designed to help teachers identify students who may need more help in learning to read and ensure targeted learning can be in place before they fall behind.
The results of the 2021 screening check showed that only 56.7% of students achieved at or above the required level to pass. Aboriginal students performed at a much lower rate of 29%. These results show us that there is a big gap with over 43% of students not meeting the required target for reading.
To have a deep knowledge of the different sounds needed for reading
Do you know that in Australia, schools do not have a set way of teaching phonics? Different schools use different methods and programs, some better than others. Most schools teach 2 to 5 different sounds each week and for some children it can be hard to keep up. In kindergarten, the change from play based learning to formal teacher directed learning can be a massive change, with many children not ready for this style of teaching. They find it difficult to focus and retain information with all the distractions around them.
As teachers with over 20 years of experience, one of our greatest concerns is students who slip through the gaps and reach later school years without having a secure knowledge of the different sounds needed to be a successful reader, writer and speller.
Our Funky Phonics Learning Pack enables you to teach your child at their own pace, moving on to the next sound when they are ready and have a secure knowledge of the other sounds you have taught. Our program can also be used to support those children who are finding it hard to keep up.
To understand the importance of learning phonics through play
We believe that children all learn differently but they often learn most effectively through guided play. When your child plays individually and with others, their cognitive skills, such as thinking, remembering, learning and paying attention are all being developed. Learning through play reinforces memory as opposed to sitting and listening or watching someone talk. Preschool aged children should be playing and we believe our Funky Phonics Learning Pack is designed in such a way that they will learn and retain it through the different activities suggested.
We believe you can teach phonics at the same time as developing fine and gross motor skills. Our catchy rhymes all come with a set of actions, to help reinforce the sound as well as focusing on using their body to help remember the sound.
There are 3 main types of learners, visual, auditory and kinesthetic and our program caters for each of these styles specifically through seeing a picture, hearing a rhyme and doing an action. Our cute and cuddly Phonics Fox puppet - Felix, also brings in another element of fun. He can bring alive the different sounds being taught and the children love role-playing by teaching him the different sounds they have learnt. Felix can go on sound hunts, join in the actions to the rhymes and get up to all sorts of creative fun (and mischief)!
Making phonics fun and part of their daily life, helps open their eyes to how sounds and words are all around them and unlock the skills needed to decode them.
To develop their confidence and self esteem
Often school can be quite a daunting place for children and with so much to see, do and learn, it can be quite overwhelming.
One of the main reasons we started Funky Phonics was because I saw my daughter struggle in kindergarten. She was a very active child and loved learning through play and being outside. Once she started school, she was stuck inside a classroom, told to sit still and became overwhelmed with all the different sounds she had to learn each week. She was getting left behind. By the end of kindy, she was struggling with her reading and writing. I wish I’d had something like the Funky Phonics Learning Pack which I would have used to give her key skills before school. This is why we created it - to support parents like us.
Arriving at school with a tool belt full of skills needed to be successful, is one of the best gifts we can give. Using our Funky Phonics Learning Pack before your child starts school will give them confidence and improve their self esteem. As they start their learning journey, they will realise they know a lot already - much more than other students in the class. They will be able to build on what they already know to gain a deeper knowledge of other new sounds which will enable them to have the key skills needed to read.