[If your child is not yet ready for this class, try Alphatots Sounds & Signs!
If your child already knows all the letter sounds, come to Alphatots Wordsmiths!]
These sessions for 2-4 year olds have the children giggling, playing, and entranced... all while learning the sound of a new letter of the alphabet each week! With a fun new theme every session and creative activities (we might be pilfering pirates, or relaxing at the beach, or making magic milkshakes), Alphatots Phonics classes are a great way to help your little one develop early reading skills. We sing songs with fun actions to help them remember the sound each letter makes, listen to engaging and interactive stories, meet puppets, play active games, and do crafts that help strengthen little fingers ready for writing! The sessions are very relaxed and friendly, with time for the grown-ups to chill out with a cuppa while listening to some happy family tunes (move over nursery rhymes, our music will have you tapping your feet as much as the little ones) and have the little ones play with toys. So what are you waiting for? Come and join the fun!
(2-4 year olds)
ABCs have never been such fun!
Learning to read through phonics
At Alphatots Phonics sessions and Alphatots Wordsmiths sessions we use synthetic phonics, which is a method of teaching the sounds that letters (or groups of letters) make, and then how they sound when they fit together ('synthesise') to form words. This differs from teaching the names of the letters first and expecting children to simply remember what whole words look like. In this way, children learn how to 'decode' words so that they can read any word, no matter whether they have come across it before or not. In Alphatots Wordsmiths classes we help 3-5 year olds learn to 'blend' letter sounds together into short words, and to 'segment' words (to break the words they hear into individual sounds in order to be able to spell them). See more information below in 'Why teach my child phonics'.
We recommend that when sharing books with children, adults trace over the text with their finger, to show little ones that English is written from left to right (rather than top to bottom like Chinese) - this is called Directional Tracking. This is another key skill we need in order to read - after all, we can't put the letter sounds together in the correct order otherwise!
"Our little one really loves it. She has been remembering what she has learned in the class and is delighting in sharing it with our friends and family. She is not a big fan of sitting down so I wasn’t sure how she would find this class but it is ran in a very creative and active way and she is really enjoying it (in fact she would happily come every day if she was allowed!) I’ve also learned things and feel more confident helping her with her phonics at home."
Why teach my child phonics?
It works! There have been many studies across the world that have found that this method of teaching, in particular the synthetic phonics model that we use at Alphatots, is the most effective in teaching children how to read fluently. UK studies in primary schools have shown that children taught this way demonstrate reading ages far in advance of those taught with other methods.
Reading confidence & fluency: Children learn how to 'decode' words, so that they can confidently read words that they may never even have seen before - that makes progressing further much easier as they get older.
Effective for boys and girls alike! Some boys have a natural aptitude for reading and writing, however trends in the UK have tended to put them behind their female peers in this area. This could be because boys and girls have a different timetable of brain development. Young boys often remember shapes and pictures well but struggle more with finer details. Teaching them to link the shapes of letters with the sounds they make at a young age helps develop the necessary neural pathways in their brain. And of course this is excellent for girls too!
Reading for pleasure: Learning phonics helps make reading more fun, as learning faster means children will be able to concentrate on the meaning of the words at an earlier age, rather than struggling to work out what each individual word actually is. Research has shown that at age 14 children who enjoy reading have a reading age 3 years ahead of those who don't.