When you start learning about phonics, or teaching phonics, you realise that it's not as straightforward as some people think. It isn't just 'a few sounds and letters'. It's actually a bit of a minefield. Especially if you want to do a good job of it.
'Conquering the complex English language for reading and writing is jolly tough.'
My job is to make learning about, and teaching, phonics as clear and straightforward as possible. If I can help teachers to have a deeper understanding of the way phonics works then they will be more effective in teaching children to read and write.
One of my key messages is: 'Relate back to the Systematic Synthetic Phonics Teaching Principles (SSPT principles).'
Get the picture?
So what are these SSPT principles?
It's surprisingly simple... there are four points...
*The skill of handwriting wasn't specified by the DfE in their explanation of the principles. The DfE cites the fourth point as knowing that blending and segmenting are reversible skills. To me, and several others in the world of phonics specialism, this isn't a skill. It's a fact. A fact that is useful for teachers to know but doesn't need to be directly taught to children like the other principles. So it's unofficially replaced with the skill of handwriting because that makes absolute common sense :-)
Going back to phonics being a minefield... the more you learn about it the more straightforward and logical it becomes... and the easier it becomes to teach confidently and effectively. Of course, for young and beginner learners the principles are fairly hefty. To know all of that code! To be able to blend! To be able to segment! To be able to write! Fear not, the SSPT principles can be broken down into much smaller sub-skills (and I'll cover this in another post).
Abigail Steel is an Education Consultant for Early Years and Primary (KS1 & 2) Language and Literacy. Her specialist area is Synthetic Phonics.
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