Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify the individual sounds, known as phonemes, which make up words. Phonics is the ability to link the individual sounds in words, or phonemes, to individual letters – what is also known as the alphabetic principle. Both phonemic awareness and phonics skills can be developed through word games, rhymes, language play and other activities that develop skills with words, syllables and phonemes.
In Reading Eggs, lessons include activities that develop skills with alliteration, splitting and blending syllables and manipulating the individual sounds in words. For example, activities ask kids to listen to two or three words and choose the one that includes the lesson’s focus sound. The programme also allows students to play with onsets and rhymes like c-at, b-at, r-at, etc to develop an understanding of how words can be segmented into individual parts.
The level of a child’s vocabulary is strongly correlated with their ability to comprehend a text and read for meaning. The larger the bank of words that they can automatically recognise and understand, the more fluent their reading will be, allowing them to focus their mental efforts on the meaning of a text.
To help build vocabulary, Reading Eggs lessons use matching pictures when new words are introduced to help provide context and aid word retention. New words are also presented around a theme, which helps children more effectively commit new words to memory.
Comprehension is known as the ‘essence of reading’ – a skill critical to a child’s success in future education. When children are using the five most effective strategies for developing comprehension skills, they are able to:
Monitor their comprehension
Use graphic organisers
Generate questions, and
Recognise story structure.
Reading Eggs lessons give children a meaning-based approach to reading, with each lesson following the same structure: an introductory animation, followed by activities that help build vocabulary, before ending the lesson with the reading of a new book. Reading a book at the end of the lessons teaches kids that reading isn’t just about doing activities, but reading real books for meaning.