21 May 2013

Teaching phonics: A children's passport to literacy

Developing phonological awareness 
Year 1 students.
Colegio San Gregorio.

A couple of years ago I started to teach English to Year 1 students through a new a method for me, Synthetic Phonics. Most of you maybe know the Jolly Phonics method . What I want to present today is more or less the same but I have prepared all the materials and lessons to teach this without the “official” method and materials.

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS: It is the ability of listening to the sound of a letter or a group of letters (phonics). Then students will manipulate them to read and form words.

It is a very important ability to know for our bilingual students because it will be the foundations of the following abilities as recognizing words, or reading.

To achieve these skills in our students it is very important to be systematic and work with this as a daily basis in our English lessons. I follow these steps during the first cycle of Primary School (6-8 years old):

     Teaching phonics with the flashcards of sounds.
     Reading sounds inside words.
     Reading words and introduction of the “sight words” in the cloud. This is the word which doesn’t follow the pattern.
     Write simple words through the teacher’s dictation.
     Write sentences through the teacher’s dictation.
     Write paragraphs following the grammar pattern the teacher should offer them.
     Free and creative writing.

In the project, I have created a plan for teaching each sound, I introduce a group of sounds each week to the students during the twenty two first weeks of the school year when they arrive in Primary School. I teach them through a group of flashcard I have created as support material. 

Then, when they have achieved some groups of sounds, I start to write short paragraphs for them to read on the blackboard. Here you can watch an example about what the students can achieve with five weeks dealing with phonics.  She is Andrea, this video was recorded two months after she started working with Phonics. 

Later I start to dictate them some short sentences or paragraphs. But I dictate the paragraphs with phonics. Here you can watch an example about how we do the dictations and how they can write with seven years in the past without any problem. They are Edgar and Andrea, two of my Year 1 students.

And in this last video I will show you what they have achieved after two years working with phonics. They are Diego and Eva, two of my Year 2 students. They are eight years old: 

I hope you like it. And if you want further information you can contact me:

Javier Ramos Sancha


  1. My son is 10 now, he does have special needs, he did well before and during nursery, I prefer the jolly phonics, although we did do both, every child does things at own speed. But I don’t think it does any harm starting a few basics before nursery, and activities for the fine motor skills, as long as its fun play based and child enjoys it. My son had a baby toy that sounded out the letters and that helped a lot too. I’m very much enjoyedwatching that two videos (phonic dictation year 1 and Reading English books years 2) A reading program at educationalfun.infothat I found the most effective in teaching reading to young children.

    Dani Rren

  2. Hi, there! Your students look like that they are really engaged with the activities. I do believe in the audio-lingual method. Children learn language through listening and through exposure. Thanks for posting the videos. I immensely enjoyed watching your students learn.