Synthetic Phonics Ltd produces materials to support the teaching of synthetic phonics in schools and at home. We also arrange conferences and provide synthetic phonics training.
Synthetic Phonics Ltd commenced operations in September 2006 and acquired Ridgehill Publishing in the same month. Ridgehill Publishing was founded in 1999 and has developed a wide range of products to teach synthetic phonics. Ridgehill Publishing continues as a trading arm of Synthetic Phonics Ltd.
As well as products based on the Sound Discovery® literacy programme and the Snappy Lesson® teaching method Synthetic Phonics Ltd offers materials for numeracy teaching and training.
What is synthetic phonics?
The smallest speech sound which makes a difference to meaning is called a “phoneme” and spoken English uses just over forty. A “grapheme” is a letter or group of letters representing one “phoneme” when it is written down. A “digraph” is two letters together which represent one phoneme.
/c/, /a/ and /b/ are three alphabet sounds which can combine to form the spoken word “c-a-b” and can be written down using the letters c, a and b. /sh/ and /ou/ are two digraph sounds, as in the spoken word “sh-ou-t” and written down as “shout”.
Teaching these sounds and matching them to their written form is the basis of synthetic phonics. Also essential are immediate application of this knowledge to reading and spelling regular words and a quick pace of teaching.
The term “synthetic phonics” is used because it describes the phonological skill of blending sounds together (synthesis) for reading.
Also important is the phonological skill of the reverse process (segmenting) whereby spoken words are segmented into their constituent sounds for spelling.
In 2005 the UK government commissioned Jim Rose to undertake an independent review of the teaching of early reading. He concluded that synthetic phonics was the most effective systematic approach to teaching reading and spelling. His final report was published in March 2006. He reported that the key features of synthetic phonics are to teach:
- Letter/sound correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence.
- To apply the skill of blending phonemes in left to right order all through a word to read it.
- To apply the skill of segmenting spoken words in to their constituent phonemes to spell it.
- That blending and segmenting are reversible processes.