Q: When should my child start learning 'phonics'? I’ve been getting different views from those in my friends’s circle.

A: There is no definite age when a child should start learning 'Phonics' although most educators ensure that children are ready to begin this stage of their development in their first year of school, aged between 3 and 5 years, as by this time the children are able to identify all the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and their sounds.

Phonics is the relationship between letters and the way they sound to a child. Phonics lessons are used to educate children on how to read and write an alphabetic language independently and are done by demonstrating the relationship between the sounds of the spoken language, letters, groups of letters, and syllables of that written language.

There are some important factors that early years educators and good nurseries consider when starting to teach phonics before or after this time. Below are a few pointers they use to understand and adopt the developmental stages of phonics to assess whether the child is ready to learn the phonics strategy:

A successful phonics curriculum teaches children to both listen carefully and identify the small units of sounds (or phonemes) that make up a word for them to spell and identify the different sounds made by each letter of the alphabet and blend them together to read a complete word.

The child is made aware of different sounds around them. This builds their skills in accurate listening and spoken language which makes them verbally competent. The next step is to break down the words into different sounds where they begin to identify that those words are not just made of one sound.

The child is assessed at every stage so the nursery can decide where they stand in their learning journey. A successful phonics curriculum will continue to support your child's learning up to about the age of 7 years as they learn to read and write independently.

Developing spoken language skills whether at a nursery or at home, significantly improves later learning in school.

Vandana Gandhi is CEO and founder of British Orchard Nursery. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

Read more