So What is all the fuss about Phonics?

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

Hi and welcome to my first blog on the Funky Phonics website!

My name is Kelly and I have been a qualified primary school teacher for about 20 years. I have taught in both England and Australia and now have two school aged children - one about to start kindy and the other about to start year 2.

As well as teaching, I have tutored many students over the past 6 years and noticed that students who struggle with English later on in school, was usually because of missing gaps in their knowledge of sounds. This can affect their reading, spelling, writing and confidence.

Recent results show that Australia is falling behind many other countries in literacy, ranked no. 28 out of 50 nations and 1 out of 5 students are falling below the required levels of literacy. Phonics is the proven method to turn a non-reader into a reader.

That is why I am so passionate about phonics!!

But don’t they learn about phonics at school?

Over the past few years, teaching phonics has become a bit of a ‘buzz’ word after many years of neglect. Currently, there is no set way of teaching children to read in primary schools in Australia, it is up to the individual school how they would like to teach it. Most schools are realising that teaching phonics explicitly is the best way to help children to read, no matter what their background. There can be 2 - 5 sounds taught a week, and for some children, that can be very challenging to retain, especially when their young brains would rather be playing.

My eldest daughter is very much an active learner - ask her about her day and she will tell you all about what she got up to in rock club and on the monkey bars - ask her about her favourite lessons and she will answer with 1) fruit break 2) recess and 3) lunch!! She would much prefer to be outside and not having to sit still in a classroom. Kindy was a hard transition from daycare for her, she found it hard to sit and listen for long periods of time and just wanted to play. Reading became a challenge and the fast pace of working through the different sounds was too much. By year 1, this was picked up and she was given lots of extra support to help her get back on track and thankfully she is now enjoying reading and really progressing.

One of the reasons I decided to start Funky Phonics, along with my lovely friend Claire, was because of seeing how something like this could have really benefited my daughter.

So how is Funky Phonics different from school?

We believe that young children need to learn through play. Everything we do is taught in a fun way, through dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, molding playdough, team work, games, craft, discos, parachutes etc etc!! The list goes on!

We have several aims:

  • children will be exposed to different sounds through fun activities and will not even realise they are learning

  • parents will enjoy supporting their child and learn a few things about phonics through the classes

  • exposure to the different sounds will enable the children to identify them in their everyday environment and become confident to say the sound when they see it.

  • fine motor skills will develop - this is so important for pencil grip and handwriting when they learn to write

  • gross motor skills will develop - regular participation in physical activities has been associated with improved academic performance and important school day functions, such as attention and memory, as well as supporting big arm movements needed to develop writing.

  • to develop listening skills and grow in confidence to take part in different activities

Different children learn in different ways and at different rates. We are not trying to force children to read early - we want to give them the tools they need to have the most successful start to their literacy journey.

That is why I believe providing children with this opportunity can only benefit them!

If you would like to delve a bit deeper, check out:

Four Corners - Digi Kids

Reading Wars