The Singapore education system can be cut-throat. Starting from primary school, an intense form of competition is easily palpable, culminating in the notorious PSLE. In order to prepare your child for Primary school, and the subsequent milestones down the road, it is thus essential to ensure that your child is well-prepared to learn. It is important to note that a vital skill required for learning is reading. Throughout their schooling life, students will have to read content, understand the information and subsequently apply the learnt knowledge – in written or oral forms. It is no secret that fast learners are usually voracious readers. Evidently, reading is a habit that should be introduced and encouraged from a young age.
Phonics as an Effective Strategy to Help Children Learn How to Read
Most parents would have heard of Phonics before. Indeed, Phonics has been increasingly popular, especially in pre-school.
To sum up the study of Phonics, it is a branch of linguistics concerning the sounds and physical properties of human speech sounds. In the realm of education, Phonics is a key technique used to teach children to recognize sounds in words. In addition, Phonics also helps children spell words correctly, as well as teaches them important reading skills. In the longer run, the study of Phonics can also help increase the child’s fluency in the language.
Why Should My Child Learn Phonics?
If you find your child struggling to read, it may be prudent to consider phonics. Some parents mistakenly believe that their child will be able to start reading “naturally” somehow, sometime. While it is true that all children are born with an innate language ability, Phonics is still essential to help them grasp reading and spelling better. If left to their own devises to pick up reading with little supervision or guidance, children may end up lagging behind their peers and underperforming in school. Given the competitive nature of the education system in Singapore, it would be helpful to give your child a boost with Phonics tuition.
Some children have problems in reading because they are unable to recognise the sounds of the alphabets. With Phonics tuition, children will be trained to recognise the sounds of the words, hereby improving their reading skills. Apart from reading, Phonics tuition will help your child gain more confidence in articulating and pronouncing words properly. With effective Phonics tuition, children are expected to grow more fluent in spelling and reading. In the longer run, a solid foundation in Phonics sets a good background for the development of strong communication skills – an essential skill needed in daily life, school and work.
In addition, taking into consideration the shorter attention span of preschool kids, Phonics tuition classes are typically structured to be engaging and fun. You need not worry about your child droning off during class as Phonics tutors intentionally incorporate elements of fun in lessons. As a result, Phonics classes are usually genuinely interesting. In turn, children are able to associate learning with fun, and may in turn develop a genuine love for the language. Moreover, making learning fun for children is also extremely useful as it sets a precedent for the subsequent years of learning in their schooling years.
What do Children Learn in Phonics?
To explain what to expect when you enrol your child for Phonics class, you will need to have a simple understanding of what Phonics constitutes.
Every word is made up of smaller blocks of sound. The smallest unit of sound is called a phoneme. For example, in the English language, there are a total of 44 phonemes, or 44 unique sounds. These 44 distinct sounds help one to distinguish between words. Children are taught how to identify these phonemes. The ability to identify these phonemes would help children learn how to read and spell all the various words in the English language.
Phonics tuition can be roughly categorised into 3 main types.
The first step in Phonics that children will be introduced to is decoding. The aim of decoding is to get children to be able to recognise letter sounds. The aim is to get children to be able to see a letter, automatically associate it with a sound, and subsequently say the sound it represents aloud. There is a certain structure that professional phonics tutors follow when they teach decoding. Typically, the letters s, a, t , n , i, p are taught first. The rationale behind this is because once these few letters are learnt, various words can be formed already. Some examples include sit, tip, sat, pin, tan, etc.
After learning the individual letters and their sounds, children will then learn how to blend the letters together to read entire words. They will also learn how to write these words as well. Blending is an important part of Phonics lessons as it is vital to reading. Thus, it is expected to be one of the more time-consuming sections.
It comes without saying, that children must be able to remember all letters of the alphabets and retrieve them immediately without any struggle in order to read and write fluently. Thus, it is important that they encode all they’ve learnt into their memory. This entails lots of practice. Phonics helps to guide and facilitate the encoding process by providing weekly practice sessions.
Phonics tutors provide ample reading practices that are age-appropriate so that your child’s reading skills can be continuously refreshed. In addition, with more lessons, Phonics tuition will also try to guide children to produce their own work, such as short pieces of writing.
Phonics Made Easier with Nanyang Academics
If you aren’t a Linguist, all these can be quite a handful, can’t it? Thankfully, parents do not have to struggle alone in their journey in helping their child read and write. Nanyang Academics is home to a team of professional phonics tutors. Our phonics tutors are trained in well-known phonics techniques and employ best practices in their teaching. Lessons are also intentionally structured to be fun and engaging, comprising songs, games and various activities. Not only will your child learn to read and write, they will also grow a genuine love for the language.
Interested to give your child a head-start for school? Contact us for a tuition assignment anytime.