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Engaging Parents in Phonics Learning

posted 28 Nov 2015, 02:26 by Craig Nicholson   [ updated 28 Nov 2015, 04:43 ]

Research into teaching children to read and spell often advocates the use of synthetic phonics (Rose 2006; Johnstone & Watson 2005). Here at North Ormesby Primary Academy, we firmly believe that getting children started on their phonics as soon as they start nursery is vital for accelerating learning in communication and literacy. Furthermore, we know how imperative it is to share children’s learning with parents.  

In nursery, parents can join in activities, such as a listening walks, with their children and together they are encouraged to listen for sounds they can hear outside. This helps children build auditory discrimination, auditory memory and develops vocabulary and language comprehension. Acquisition of these vital speaking and listening skills lays the foundations for children learning in the next phase of phonic teaching.

Almost as soon as children start in reception, the staff in EYFS invite parents to come along and participate in a phonics lesson with their children. Together, children and parents learn new sounds and letters and then enjoy practising and applying their new learning in fun activities. The children love showing their parents what they can do! And parents love it too!

Parents tell us they are pleased and relieved that they are learning how to say the sounds the letters make and the actions that help children remember them. They say it is invaluable in supporting the children with homework. Parents are often amazed to hear the children using the correct technical vocabulary; calling sounds 'phonemes' and letters 'graphemes'. We believe that using this vocabulary in EYFS means children are getting a consistent approach to phonic learning all the way through school.

Ofsted say that 'reading is taught effectively and the vast majority of children gain the skills they need in reading and writing to make a good start in Year 1'. Over the last few years, our high expectations for children’s phonic learning has had a significant impact on outcomes in EYFS. Sharing our practice with parents was a very successful step in that journey!


Johnston R S & Watson J E (2005) Insight 17 A Seven Year study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonic Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment IAC: ASU Schools UK

Rose, J. (2006) Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading DFE UK

Helen Charlton (EYFS leader) - 30th November 2015