We've created a parent's guide full of useful and practical advice for helping your child learn to read and write. It will introduce you to phonics and the different stages of literacy and give you fun ideas for things you can do easily to help develop your child's reading and writing skills.
Blend: When children have learned individual letter sounds, they blend – put them together – to form whole words, e.g. 'rrr-u-nnn' _ 'run'.
CVC Words: Simple words containing a consonant, a vowel, and another consonant, in that order, e.g. 'pot', 'mat', 'cat', 'cut'. Children typically learn CVC words as the first step in learning to decode (sound out) the letters to turn them into meaningful words.
Decodable Words: Words a reader can sound out, because he or she has been taught all the phonic facts that occur in those particular words.
Digraph: Two letters together that represent one sound e.g. 'ph', 'ch', 'gh' (consonant digraphs) or 'ai', 'ea', 'oo', 'au' (vowel digraphs).
Fluency: The ability to read a text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression and understanding.
Comprehension: The ability to understand the messages in print at various levels, and well enough to read them with expression.
High frequency words: Common words that occur most frequently in writing, e.g. and, the, as, it. Children are expected to recognise different high frequency words depending on which year they are in at school.
Phonics: Knowledge of the speech sounds that letters make in words, not their names, so for cat, not 'see' 'ay' 'tee' but the sounds 'c... a... t'.
Regular Words: All words that a child can read by just using their first knowledge of the 26 a–z sounds.
Segment: Breaking a word into its individual letter sounds, e.g. 'cat' _ 'c... a... t'.
Sight Vocabulary: Words that children learn to recognise at a glance by their overall look, rather than by sounding out each letter. It helps to learn many high frequency words at a glance because they turn up so often in books. As a child becomes a more confident reader, their sight vocabulary will grow naturally of words they instantly recognise.
Synthetic Phonics: A description of the method of learning to read whereby children learn letter sounds and how to blend these sounds together to make words.
Trigraphs: Three letters together that represent one unit of sound e.g. 'igh'.