Teaching Phonics in the UAE

**We are delighted to announce that we are a fully DfE validated phonics programme and on the government’s approved list of phonics programme providers.**

Phonics lessons in schools in the UAE may vary, as education is governed by the local emirate and can vary between emirates. However, in general, phonics is taught as part of the English language curriculum in the UAE.

In the UAE, teachers may use a variety of techniques to teach phonics, including interactive games and activities, reading and writing exercises, and the use of visual aids such as flashcards and posters. Some schools may use commercially available phonics programs like ours, while others may have developed their own phonics curriculum.

Regardless of the specific methods used, the goal of teaching phonics in the UAE is to help students develop the essential skills of reading, writing, and spelling in English. This foundation of phonics knowledge is intended to help students become successful readers and writers, and to provide them with the skills they need to succeed in their future education and careers.

We have a fair few schools signed up for Time for Phonics who are in the UAE, and other parts of the world of course. This was initially quite surprising as our programme is specially aimed at schools in England, where it has become the norm to teach children to read via a systematic synthetic phonics programme, especially one that follows the Letters and Sounds progression. As time went on however, we realised that the teachers signing their schools up, were generally speaking, in British schools where they were encouraged to bring their own experience and practice of what works well here in England. That’s not to say by the way that our phonics programme couldn’t be used in other parts of the U.K. (and rest of world) – it can. Over time we intend to adapt our programme so we have an offering that fits in with the approach to phonics in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the Republic of Ireland being next on our list.

Why use Time for Phonics in the UAE?

One of the obvious reasons that our phonics scheme is so popular in the UAE is how accessible it is. When we designed the programme, we decided to always assume that the person who is delivering the phonics lessons has had no previous experience of teaching phonics. Obviously they would have to take part in the robust on-demand phonics training that we offer, but our assumption has always been that they would have no experience of phonics before that. The world of education can often contain a fair amount of jargon and terminology that can be confusing, off-putting, and difficult to understand. We aim to minimise that by fully explaining each concept and lesson in a way that is inclusive and accessible for all. We understand from our members that some schools in the UAE are new to using phonics as a way of teaching children to read, or perhaps are new to teaching phonics in a daily, systematic way. Our phonics programme is designed to take the teacher or staff member step by step through each lesson, to help increase their confidence and up skill their phonics knowledge as they go.

Another great reason for signing up to our phonics scheme if you’re a UAE school is the online/digital nature of the programme. Due to the accessible on-demand phonics training that is integrated into the programme platform, and the downloadable nature of the phonics resources and decodable texts, it’s a great option for schools that don’t have budget for costly in-service or CPD training from overseas phonics trainers. Whilst we would consider going to the Middle East to provide additional phonics training, we would only think about doing this in a very cost-effective way for schools, perhaps for a cluster of schools in one area. All the training needed for our programme can be accessed via the website itself, once your school is signed up, plus we also offer 1:1 sessions with one of our trainers, via Zoom.

Likewise, you don’t need to worry about importing large quantities of books with an equally large postage and packaging cost. Our decodable texts can be downloaded either as ebooks, or as printable mini-books, to be sent home with pupils to read each week. Each of our decodable books is completely aligned with our order of progression, so you can be sure that children won’t be faced with sounds that they haven’t yet covered during the phonics lessons.

Another reason why schools in the UAE enjoy using our phonics scheme so much, is the active, inclusive, play-based approach that we advocate. Classrooms in the UAE may have such a huge mix of children from different backgrounds, abilities and first languages. Providing high quality phonics lesson that help children make rapid progress is a particular challenge that many teachers face. With our programme, we take into account children’s natural interests in our online phonics games (a firefighting pug!), with free options for parents to also use at home on their iPads, tablets or phones. We also take into account how much children enjoy learning by doing. Many of our activities are very hands-on, with songs and games, that naturally pique children’s attention and interest. In addition, we have our structured intervention programme, designed to help those children at risk of falling behind. We have created easy to follow lessons as part of the intervention programme, that particularly target the knowledge or skills gap the child may have.

What does Time for Phonics offer?

Time for Phonics benefits:

Explore our DfE validated synthetic phonics programme today with a no-obligation free trial.


Time for Phonics will be integrated into the Discovery Education Espresso Platform

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