This is the central skill for learning and state schools are guided by the Primary Framework for Literacy to provide lessons for teaching this, building on the foundation of what has already been achieved in the Early Years Foundation Curriculum. How to teach literacy skills has been a subject of controversy and debate for many years and presently the Department for Education (DFE) considers that the teaching of reading should be sound based not meaning based for beginner readers You can research the different approaches to reading should you be wish to know more about this debate.

Synthetic phonics is thought to offer the majority of learners the best route to becoming skilled readers so that core phonic work is to be taught regularly, systematically, in dedicated lessons and at a brisk pace. For most children, it will be appropriate for this to begin by the age of 5. However, it is stressed that phonic teaching should be set within a broad and rich language curriculum. The development of speaking and listening skills is paramount as the foundations of phonic work and as central to children's intellectual, social and emotional development. The DFE expects teachers to offer phonics using meaningful and multisensory strategies that keep the children interested and engaged so that they enjoy their lessons, while learning their sounds. Parents are expected to work with their child at home to support his learning.

When your child stammers

Your child can fully participate in these lessons as long as his speech is supported and he has the confidence to contribute. Teachers need to know how to give this support; advice from a speech and language therapist, who visits the school and works in partnership with the teacher or assistant to demonstrate effective strategies, is immensely valuable, together with information for teachers from BSA:Education-Oral Tasks.

If you have concerns about your child's responses to phonic work then it is best to mention them at an early stage to the class teacher so that any necessary adaptations can be made and you can help with these at home. For example, if your child finds it difficult to respond, as he would like to a request for a specific letter sound then strategies where he can work with a partner may help him. This should allay any anxiety he may be feeling at having to make a quick and paced response.

In this resource, the sections Help in the home for your child who stammers and How to help your child's learning provide information for developing at home your child's confidence in communicating, so that he will be better able to participate in speaking and listening activities at school.

Further information on phonics

Literacy Trust
Phonics techniques

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