Cracking the Code to Reading and Writing (Part 1)

Did you know that each ‘a’ in ‘Australia’ is said in a different way? English is a complex language and children need systematic, evidence-based teaching to develop strong reading and writing skills.

We are born with the capacity to learn spoken language through listening to people speaking around us, but generally we must be taught to read and spell. The alphabet is a code, ie. each letter is a symbol that represents a sound. Children need to learn to ‘crack the code’ in order to ‘sound out’ (decode) written words.

The key to building strong reading and writing (literacy) skills is to build strong oral language skills, specifically phonological awareness skills. Students need to:

  • understand that strings of spoken sounds (ie. words) are made up of individual sounds (eg. the letters in ‘cat’ make the sounds ‘k’-‘a’-‘t’)
  • be able to break words into syllables (ie. the ‘beats’ of a word, as in but-ter-fly)
  • recognise when words rhyme (eg. cat, bat)
  • identify when words start or end with the same sound (eg. ‘sat’ and ‘sing’ start with the same sound) or same chunk of sounds (eg. ‘mat’ and ‘pat’ both end with ‘-at’)
  • be able to add and remove sounds from words (eg. taking away the ‘m’ sound in ‘man’ and changing it to ‘r’ gives us ‘ran’).

Have a try!

  • Which of these words rhyme: Frog, log, bag, dog, cake?
  • How many syllables are in: Dog? Elephant? Teacher? Watermelon?
  • How many sounds (not letters) are in: Run? Flip? Telephone?
  • What is the second sound (not second letter) in: Pig? Said? Bridge?
  • What is the last sound (not letter) in: Dad? Rent? Studies? Giraffe?

Watch this space for upcoming newsletters on systematic synthetic phonics…

If you have any concerns about your child’s reading and spelling, call us on 9899 5494 to book an appointment.

Seek help early, don’t wait and see! Well-meaning family and friends may tell you not to worry but you are the expert on your child.

  • Rhyming words: Frog, log, bag, dog, cake
  • Syllables: Dog (1) Elephant (3) Teacher (2) Watermelon (4)
  • Sounds: Run (3) Flip (4) Telephone (7 – ‘t’ ‘e’ ‘l’ ‘e’ ‘f’ ‘oh’ ‘n’)
  • Second sound: Pig (‘i’) Said (‘e’) Bridge (‘r’)
  • Last sound: Dad (‘d’) Rent (‘t’) Studies (‘z’) Giraffe (‘f’)

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