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Dabrowskiego Parent Seminar

25 September 2014

On Thursday 25 September we had just over 30 Reception parents gather at Dąbrowskiego for a seminar on teaching Phonics and Reading. It is heart-warming to see how serious our parents are about assisting their children at home so that they can be successful learners. Ms Stevens demonstrated how phonics is taught in Reception and how all learning is linked. She introduced parents to ‘Get Reading Right’, the synthetic phonics programme that we use down at Dabrowskiego.


What is Synthetic Phonics?

Research shows that the most successful readers and spellers start with a Synthetic Phonics approach. ‘Get Reading Right’  has this at its core. We take your child step by step through Synthetic Phonics to give your child the Synthetic Phonics reading and spelling advantage!Synthetic Phonics is a strange, technical name that has nothing to do with being artificial! It is the synthesising or blending of sounds to make a word and enable children to read. It’s so effective, that the methodology underpinning it, forms the core of the UK, USA and Australian government’s literacy curriculum!     


Reading and Synthetic Phonics: 

The process of reading with Synthetic Phonics involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate sounds, which can then be blended together to read a written word. For example, I am trying to read the word ‘cat’. I start with the ‘c’ – what sound can that letter represent? I sound out each letter, and then blend ‘c’ with ‘a’ to make ‘ca’, and then blend ‘ca’ to ‘t’ to make cat!     


Spelling and Synthetic Phonics:

The process of spelling with Synthetic Phonics involves the opposite method to reading. It requires children to identify the sounds in a word and then to match a letter with that sound, to essentially ‘make’ the word.

For example, “I want to spell cat. What sounds can I hear, and what letters represent them?”


At a glance Synthetic Phonics teaches children:

  • That spoken words are composed of sounds
  • The 44 sounds of the English language
  • To blend sounds in a word to read
  • To listen for sounds in words to spell
  • All the different ways each sound can be represented, e.g. the sound /a/ as in ‘apron’ can be spelled (‘ay’ like in ‘pay, ‘ai’ like in ‘paid’, ‘a’ like in ‘apron’, ‘eigh’ like in ‘eight’ and so on…)
  • Irregular, high frequency words (we call them camera words), which are essential to help children progress the quality of their writing and move onto reading full sentences
  • The sound first and then the letter name


Synthetic Phonics & Spelling

Beauty of Synthetic Phonics is; as it teaches reading it also teaches spelling! Reading involves breaking words into separate sounds and blending them together to read the word. Whereas spelling involves listening for the sounds in the word and representing them with a letter. In Phonics Hero you child learns to read a bank of words, and then learns to spell these words.


The Spelling Code

Spelling difficulties are rife in English speaking word. However,when a child is taught the logic of spelling and explicitly taught the code, it gives them a solid foundation of rules from which to spell from. The code will teach your child:

  • That spoken words are composed of sounds and letters represent these sounds
  • That spelling involves listening for the sounds in words and representing it with a letter or letters
  • That there are different ways each sounds can be represented. For example, the sound /a/ as in ‘apron’ can be spelled (‘ay’ like in ‘pay’, ‘ay’ like in ‘paid’, ‘a’y like in ‘apron’, ‘ay’ like in ‘eight’ and so on…)
  • To try the spelling choices for a word and decide which one, looks right


Michelle Stevens
Head of Dąbrowskiego, Early Years Centre