A new phonics check is about to be implemented in Australian schools, to identify children who may be in need of literacy intervention.

But a phonics check is only useful if there is intervention following the testing that remedies the problem!

What do you know about phonics? Phonics is the association between spelling choices (graphemes) and speech sounds (phonemes). So, in the word ‘cat’, the ‘c’ makes a /k/ sound. Similarly, in the word ‘chef’, the ‘ch’ grapheme (spelling choice) makes a ‘sh’ speech sound (phoneme) but in the word ‘chair’, the ‘ch’ spelling choice (grapheme) makes a traditional ‘ch’ speech sound (phoneme), written as /tʃ/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

BUT in the word ‘station’, the ‘ti’ digraph makes a ‘sh’ speech sound as well.  Letters only make sounds when they are in a word. In the alphabet, they are just letters without sounds.

English spelling is crazy. And that is why it can be difficult for some children to grasp.

The evidence, however, is definitely clear. Teaching explicit systematic phonics works. That’s what we want from this phonics check. The subsequent implementation of evidenced-based phonics teaching to improve literacy skills.

Check out this link at the conversation.com for more info.

Our speech pathology and psychology clinic is located in Braddon, ACT, in Canberra’s CBD. Call us on 5117 4890 or email reception@inpositivehealth.com to get in touch.

In Positive Health, Canberra. Nel MacBean Speech Pathologist Canberra. Campbell MacBean Psychologist Canberra.