Many thanks to Rob Randel for this guest-post:

In this series of short videos, you can see my five-year-old daughter, Lumen, using No Nonsense Phonics resources at home to learn how to read in English. She attends a Welsh-medium primary school where formal English instruction only begins in Year 3 – she is currently in Year 1:

   Video Gallery

I completely agree with the immersion model that Welsh-medium schools use to ensure that all children become competent in using Welsh early on; this is particularly important for children like mine that come from English-speaking homes.

I want to give Lumen the best chance of excelling in both languages, and with No Nonsense Phonics, I am able to teach her to read in English at home. I want her to have access to all the wonderful books out there regardless of whether they are in Welsh or English, but I don’t want her to have to wait until Year 3 and leave it just down to the school to enable her to do this.  

Some might argue that teaching her to read in English at the same time as she is taught to read in Welsh at school might be confusing. I am finding the opposite to be true, and that learning to read in two languages is reinforcing the logic of how alphabetic codes work.

For example, Lumen will sometimes say /th/ for the grapheme <dd>, and I will just say, ‘In Welsh this is /th/, but what is it in English?’ and she will quickly answer with the sound /d/. Another example is <f>, which in Welsh is code for the sound /v/, so sometimes she might read ‘from’ as ‘vrom’; I just say, ‘In English, this is /f/,’ and straight away she corrects herself and says “/f/ /r/ /o/ /m/, ‘from’.”  She is aware of both languages and will ask questions like, ‘Is this Welsh or English?’ ‘What sound is this in Welsh/English?’

If parents of children in Welsh-medium education want to support their children in learning to read English before Year 3, I can’t recommend No Nonsense Phonics highly enough. You can see from the video the impact it is having on my daughter; she thoroughly enjoys being able to crack the code and read unknown words easily, and it is absolutely magic to be able to teach her how to do it.  Last bit of advice, don’t leave it to chance, have a look at how No Nonsense Phonics can help you to teach your child to read, and get started as soon as you can! 

Note from Debbie:

Information and guidance for the DfE-validated No Nonsense Phonics (Skills) programme is provided HERE.

Parents and carers can also investigate the free Phonics International resources to use in the home (suitable from 4+ to adult as required). This is a complete, comprehensive, systematic synthetic phonics programme validated by the Department for Education in England.

Parents and carers of nursery-aged children can also investigate the free nursery resources: Teeny Reading Seeds and the two Phonics and Talk Time books.

Lumen attends a Welsh-medium school and, meanwhile, she is learning to read in English at home with the No Nonsense Phonics (Skills) Pupil Books

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