What is synthetics phonics?
Synthetic phonics teaches the phonemes (sounds) associated with the graphemes (letters) at the rate of four to six sounds per week. The sounds are taught in isolation then blended together (i.e. synthesised), all-through-the-word.
For example, children might be taught a short vowel sound (e.g. /a/) in addition to some consonant sounds (e.g. /s/, /t/, /p/). Then the children are taught words with these sounds (e.g. sat, pat, tap, at). They are taught to pronounce each phoneme in a word, then to blend the phonemes together to form the word (e.g. /s/ – /a/ – /t/; “sat”). Sounds are taught in all positions of the words, but the emphasis is on all-through-the-word segmenting and blending from week one.
Synthetic phonics involves the children rehearsing the writing of letter shapes alongside learning the letter/s-sound correspondences preferably with the tripod pencil grip. Dictation is a frequent teaching technique from letter level to word spelling, including nonsense words (e.g. choy and feep) and eventually extending to text level. We introduce letter names by singing the alphabet song and reinforce letter names alongside their phoneme.
If you would like to learn more about phoneme pronunciation, or how you can practise with your children, please watch the following videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCI2mu7URBc – sound pronunciation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw_6ZaV3KpE – teaching a sound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCaXHnaKhHQ – learning to blend