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Synthetic Phonics

There are two major approaches to teaching phonics...

  • Synthetic Phonics
  • Analytic Phonics

...and each one claims to be THE best way to teach phonics!   I am not here to take sides or enter into the phonics debate, but to bring you an accurate report so you can make an informed decision on how best to teach your child to read. 

  Synthetic phonics is an intensive approach to teaching reading in which phonemes associated with particular graphemes are pronounced in isolation before text is introduced.  

Interesting facts about the Synthetic Phonics Teaching Method:

  • It is often referred to as direct or explicit phonics
  • The word 'Synthetic' comes from the concept of 'synthesising', which means 'putting together' or 'blending'
  • Synthetic phonics involves an emphasis on hearing the sounds all-through-the-word for spelling

I would love to compile a typical  synthetic approach to teaching phonics for you, but when programmes vary so widely this is near impossible! - So here are some excellent websites that you can visit to learn more about what is involved with sythentic phonics:

www.rrf.org.uk

www.syntheticphonics.com

www.dyslexics.org.uk

Reading programmes that teach synthetic phonics include:

 

FREE online programmes include: 

If you know of any more please let me know and I will add them to the list!

How long does it take to learn the sounds?

Most of the letter sounds including the consonant and vowel digraphs, are usually taught in the space of a few months.  

To help you understand and get a real grasp of synthetic phonics,  it helps to look at what synthetic phonics is NOT!

What Synthetic Phonics does NOT teach:

  • Synthetic phonics does not teach whole words as shapes 
  • Synthetic phonics does not  involve guessing at words from picture and initial letter clues.   
  • Synthetic phonics does not emphasis the 'look, cover, write, check' method as a first option

How do they deal with 'tricky words'

Generally 'tricky' words are taught by explaining the irregular/tricky part and then the child will be encouraged to sound out and blend as normal.

Find more words like synthetic phonics in the phonics glossary


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