A synthetic phonics approach to literacy instruction starts with teaching alphabet sounds, phonemic awareness, blending for decoding and segmenting for spelling. In this approach the letter names are not as important as the letter sounds, because it is the letter sounds that allow children to sound out and read words.

Once a child has knowledge of the alphabet sounds and is using these to decode simple CVC words, they can then be introduced to letter names. With the introduction of digraphs (e.g. sh, ch, th) at stage 1 target 2 of the PLD program, letter names need to be established. As digraphs are introduced, children will be taught “see (C) and haych (H) [letter names] make the sound ‘ch’.”

It is imperative in the foundation year of schooling that students start decoding early in the year. In the PLD seminars we explain that children typically read first, spell second and write third. Term one focuses upon preparation for literacy (alphabet sounds, phonemic awareness, blending and segmenting). Later in the year once children are decoding, introduction to letter names can occur and this prepares the students for the learning of digraphs.

Hope this helps.
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