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There are different schools of thought on how best to develop children’s phonic awareness and early reading skills. However, we can all agree that learning should be enjoyable - and the Pearson Phonics Bug programme, which engages children with reading and spelling by using a multi-sensory approach to phonic development, doesn’t disapoint.
Phonics Bug is based on the principles of synthetic phonics and is intended to provide schools with a highly structured and supportive programme to ensure children are developing their phonic knowledge; enjoying themselves whilst they do so!
The teacher’s handbook provides a wealth of information which is easily accessible for the busy teacher. Each of the units is accompanied by a detailed teaching plan, providing guidance on how to introduce the lesson, build on prior learning and then develop phonic knowledge through reading, spelling and writing - with advice on assessing progress. The detailed plans are also helpfully summarised in a quick-reference guide on each page, which is ideal for the teacher or teaching assistant during a hectic lesson.
An excellent aspect of Phonics Bug is the way in which each unit is supported by electronic resources. Refreshingly, these resources aren’t stored on a CD -ROM, which invariably gets lost or damaged; instead the electronic content is accessed through an online portal using a simple log-in. Once within the online resource there is access to an ‘electronic magnetic whiteboard’ offering the teacher an effective means of modelling phonic learning, which it is recommended is replicated by the children on their own magnetic boards. The website also offers an interactive alphabet song, videos to support some units and a range of different games that can be used to reinforce phonic awareness beyond the highly structured lesson.
Whilst the resource is heavily focused on high quality teaching and learning during discrete phonics sessions, it also provides some opportunities to extend learning. Within the electronic resource it is possible to access printable materials intended to support children in consolidating their phonic knowledge. The benefit of offering these resources electronically is that they are offered in a format which can be customised by the teacher to match the context and needs of each class.
Additionally, beyond the direct teaching of phonic skills, the programme also offers a broad range of high quality decodable texts as a part of the broader Bug Club reading scheme. The books linked to the early phonic stages are filled with appealing illustrations and high quality photographs, covering both fiction and non-fiction. The start of each book provides pre-reading guidance for the adult - whether that be a teacher, teaching assistant or parent - on the phoneme focus within each text, and how to appropriately segment new vocabulary. There are also some supplementary follow-up activities suggested at the end of each book, which would be equally achievable at home or at school.
Bitten by the bug
The Phonics Bug programme offers a comprehensive phonic development package that can be completed in as little as 16 weeks, or extended to meet the needs of individual children and classes. The high quality resources offered as part of this programme provide invaluable support to help busy teachers ensure they are effectively developing phonics within their classroom and having a lot of fun at the same time.
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