How to teach children phonics

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Postdoctoral research fellow, Macquarie University

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Hua-Chen Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Macquarie University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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How to teach children phonics

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The efficacy of phonics as a method of teaching has been debated for several decades, and has recently come back to the forefront of public debate.

This time, the focus is on the phonics check – a screening tool designed to identify early readers who may be in need of intervention, and provide some indication of how successful current phonics teaching methods are. The UK has been using the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) since 2012, and now there is a push to implement a trial of the same check in Australia. This has raised some concerns.

So what’s the fuss about phonics?

What is phonics?

Scientific studies have repeatedly found that explicit systematic phonics instruction is the most effective way to teach children how to read. Without it, some children will end up having serious reading difficulties. But what is explicit systematic phonics? Let’s break this term down.

Phonics – teaching children the sounds made by individual letter or letter groups (for example, the letter “c” makes a k sound), and teaching children how to merge separate sounds together to make it one word (for example, blending the sounds k, a, t makes CAT). This type of phonics teaching is often referred to as “synthetic phonics”.

Explicit – directly teaching children the specific associations between letters and sounds, rather than expecting them to gain this knowledge indirectly.

Systematic – English has a complicated spelling system. It is important to teach letter sound mappings in a systematic way, beginning with simple letter sound rules and then moving onto more complex associations.

The term “phonics” has been used quite loosely by several reading programs, with some straying from these fundamental principles.

For example, some programs, such as Embedded Phonics, teach phonics by asking children to guess unfamiliar words using cues, such as the meaning of a word gleaned from sentence context.

Other programs ask children to look at words (for example, pig, page, pen all start with the same sound) and learn letter-sound rules by analysing or making comparisons between those words (analogy or analytical phonics).

These programs are not as effective as those focusing on letter-sound knowledge taught in an explicit and systematic fashion.

Why is it important?

Phonics instruction teaches children how to decode letters into their respective sounds, a skill that is essential for them to read unfamiliar words by themselves.

Keep in mind that most words are in fact unfamiliar to early readers in print, even if they have spoken knowledge of the word. Having letter-sound knowledge will allow children to make the link between the unfamiliar print words to their spoken knowledge.

Another aspect that is rarely discussed is that the letter-sound decoding process itself is a learning mechanism. For example, make a mental note of how you feel when reading the following words:

When you first read these words, you probably used your letter-sound knowledge, which involved two important processing stages:

1) It helped you produce the correct sound of an unfamiliar print word. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the pronunciation also probably lit up connections to the meaning of the word.

2) It drew your attention to the details and the combination of the letters of the word.

These two steps then function as a learning mechanism, allowing you to recognise the previously unfamiliar word quicker the next time around (go back to read the words again and see how you feel about them now).

This transition from slowly sounding out a word, to rapidly recognising it, is what we call “learning to read by sight”. Every reader must make this transition to read fluently.

It is true that there are many English words, such as yacht and isle that do not follow typical letter-sound rules. Even then, research has shown that children can still learn these words successfully by decoding some parts of the word (yt for yacht), with help from spoken vocabulary knowledge to facilitate the learning.

Phonics is important not only because this knowledge allows children to read on their own, but it is also a learning mechanism that builds up a good print word dictionary that can be quickly accessed.

Will it really improve reading?

Recent National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results have shown no improvement in reading and writing skills despite much government funding.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results demonstrated a steady decline in children’s reading ability in Australia since 2000.

So will more effective phonics instruction really help to improve these results?

Of course, reading effectively (whether to learn or for pleasure) is not just about phonics or having a decent store of single words.

Functional reading requires several other skills such as good vocabulary, the ability to extract inferences, and synthesise and hold information in memory across several sentences. But if your single word reading is not efficient, comprehension is going to be dramatically affected.

If we use building a house as an analogy, understanding text is the complete home; single word reading ability is the structural frame of the house, and phonics is the foundation of that frame.

Effective phonics instruction is important because letter-sound knowledge is the foundation needed to build up reading and writing abilities.

The phonics screening check will indicate whether children have gained the necessary skills. If not, schools need to review current methods of teaching and implement methods that stick with evidence-based principles of explicit, systematic phonics teaching.

Kiz Phonics is an excellent progressive program for teaching kids to read using a systematic phonics approach.The Kiz Phonics program is carefully arranged by levels from Preschool Ages 3-4, Kindergarten Ages 4 -6, 1 st Grade Ages 6-7 & 2 nd Grade Ages 7-8. It is suitable for school teachers, home-school parents and other educators trying to help children learn to read.

Preschool Phonics – Ages 3-4

Learning to read starts here. From as low as 3 years, your child needs to build the following skills that will prepare him/her for reading. Print Awareness and Phonemic Awareness are the hallmarks of this level. We provide the following types of resources:

  • Reading & Handwriting Worksheets
  • Letter Sounds Video & Songs
  • Phonics Videos for Preschoolers
  • Reading Games Online for Preschoolers
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

Kindergarten Phonics L1 – Ages 4-6

The Kindergarten Level 1 Reading Program, is suitable for kids between the ages of 4 to 6. Children will learn short vowels a & e, beginning and ending consonant sounds. The will learn how to read words, sentences and 2 short stories.

  • Reading Worksheets
  • Phonics Videos for Kindergarten 1
  • Reading Games Online for Kindergarten 1
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Reading Short Stories
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

Kindergarten Phonics L2 – Ages 4-6

The Kindergarten Level 2 Reading Program, is suitable for kids between the ages of 4 to 6. Children will learn short vowels i, o & u, ending and beginning consonants & digraphs. The will learn how to read words, sentences and 2 short stories.

  • Reading Worksheets
  • Phonics Videos for Kindergarten 2
  • Reading Games Online for Kindergarten 2
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Reading Short Stories
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

First Grade Phonics L1 – Ages 6-7

The 1 st Grade Level 1 Reading Program features a review of all the short vowels, beginning and ending consonants. Your children will learn words with the S blends, consonant digraphs ch, sh, th, wh and ph. They will also learn the soft C and G sounds.

  • Reading Worksheets
  • Phonics Videos for First Grade L1
  • Reading Games Online for First Grade L1
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

First Grade Phonics L2 – Ages 6-7

The 1 st Grade Level 2 Phonics Program features the long a & i with the silent e. Kids will learn how the silent e changes the sounds of words. This level also includes vowel digraphs ai & ay, vowel digraphs ee & ea and final y as long e.

  • Reading Worksheets
  • Phonics Videos for First Grade L 2
  • Reading Games Online for First Grade L 2
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Reading Short Stories
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

Second Grade Phonics L1 – Ages 7-8

The 2 nd Grade Level 1 Phonics Program features the long o & u with the silent e. This level also includes vowel digraphs like oa & ow, ui & ue and final y as long i. Special vowels like aw & ew will be also be learned.

  • Reading Worksheets
  • Phonics Videos for Second Grade L1
  • Reading Games Online for Second Grade L1
  • Listening Materials for Worksheets
  • Three Short Stories
  • Phonics Stories
  • Phonics Powerpoint Lessons
  • Lesson Plans & Pacing Guides
  • iPad/iPhone Apps

Pre-K & Kindergarten Books

Want hard copies of our products? No problem. You may order our phonics activity books and more from our store – for Preschool & Kindergarten. Each set comes with CDs and the playing card sets and board game.

1st & 2nd Grade Books

Want hard copies of our products? No problem. You may order our phonics activity books and more from our store – For 1st Grade & 2nd Grade. Each set comes with CDs and the playing card sets and board game.

Board Games & Playing Card Sets

The teaching set is complete with board games and phonemic cards. we have grapheme cards, phoneme cards, alphabet cards which can all be used with the board game for fun phonics learning. Pages

If you’re the parent of a beginning reader, chances are you’re hearing a lot about phonics. Here’s what you need to know about how your child will learn phonics — and how you can help teach phonics at home.

For more book and reading ideas,В sign upВ for our Scholastic Parents newsletter.

What is phonics?
Phonics is knowing that sounds and letters have a relationship. In other words, it is the link between what we say and what we can read and write. Phonics offers beginning readers the strategies they need to sound out words. For example, kids learn that the letter D has the sound of “d” as in “doll.” Then they learn how to blend letter sounds together to make words like dog.

Why is phonics important?
In order for kids to understand what they read, they must be able to do it quickly and automatically, without stumbling over words. Phonics facilitates that process.

How does your child’s school teach phonics?
Systematically and sequentially. Teachers give children plenty of practice before moving on. Your child will read short, easy books containing the particular letter sounds or words they’re working on. You can help them practice by providing similar books at home, such as those in the Peppa Pig Phonics Book Set.

Here are more ways you can reinforce phonics learning at home:

  • Team up with the teacher. Ask how you can highlight phonics and reading outside of class, and share any concerns you have.В
  • Listen to your child read daily. If your child stumbles on a word, encourage them to sound it out. But if they still can’t get it, provide the word so they don’t get discouraged.
  • Boost comprehension. Ask questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” or “What did he mean by that?” Here are more great questions to ask during story time.
  • Revisit familiar books. It’s okay if your child wants to re-read favorite books from earlier years. In fact, it’s actually beneficial!
  • Read aloud. Choose books on topics that excite your child (get great suggestions from ourВ book lists), and read with gusto, using different voices for each character.
  • Spread the joy. Show your child how much you value reading by having plenty of books and magazines around the house. You’ll teach phonics as well as cultivate a lifelong love of reading.

Shop these great phonics box sets to get started! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.В

How to teach children phonics

What is phonics?

What is a phoneme?

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. The phonemes used when speaking English are:

How to teach children phonics

Print out a list of phonemes to practise with your child or listen to the individual sounds being spoken with our phonics worksheets.

Phonics learning step 1: decoding

Children are taught letter sounds in Reception. This involves thinking about what sound a word starts with, saying the sound out loud and then recognising how that sound is represented by a letter.

The aim is for children to be able to see a letter and then say the sound it represents out loud. This is called decoding.

Some phonics programmes start children off by learning the letters s, a, t, n, i, p first. This is because once they know each of those letter sounds, they can then be arranged into a variety of different words (for example: sat, tip, pin, nip, tan, tin, sip, etc.). While children are learning to say the sounds of letters out loud, they will also begin to learn to write these letters (encoding).

They will be taught where they need to start with each letter and how the letters need to be formed in relation to each other. Letters (or groups of letters) that represent phonemes are called graphemes.

How to teach children phonics

Phonics learning step 2: blending

Phonics learning step 3: decoding CVC words

Children will focus on decoding (reading) three-letter words arranged consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC words) for some time.

They will learn other letter sounds, such as the consonants g, b, d, h and the remaining vowels e, o, u. Often, they will be given letter cards to put together to make CVC words which they will be asked to say out loud.

Phonics learning step 4: decoding consonant clusters in CCVC and CVCC words

Children will also learn about consonant clusters: two consonants located together in a word, such tr, cr, st, lk, pl. Children will learn to read a range of CCVC words (consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant) such as trap, stop, plan.

They will also read a range of CVCC words (consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant) such as milk, fast, cart.

Phonics learning step 5: vowel digraphs

Children are then introduced to vowel digraphs. A digraph is two vowels that together make one sound such as: /oa/, /oo/, /ee/, /ai/. They will move onto sounding out words such as deer, hair, boat, etc. and will be taught about split digraphs (or ‘magic e’).

They will also start to read words combining vowel digraphs with consonant clusters, such as: train, groan and stool.

Phonics learning step 6: consonant digraphs

Encoding, or learning to spell as well as read

Alongside this process of learning to decode (read) words, children will need to continue to practise forming letters which then needs to move onto encoding. Encoding is the process of writing down a spoken word, otherwise known as spelling.

They should start to be able to produce their own short pieces of writing, spelling the simple words correctly.

It goes without saying that reading a range of age-appropriate texts as often as possible will really support children in their grasp of all the reading and spelling of all the phonemes.

Phonics learning in KS1

By the end of Reception, children should be able to write one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes.

In Year 1, they will start to explore vowel digraphs and trigraphs (a group of three letters that makes a single sound, like ‘igh’ as in ‘sigh’) further.

They will begin to understand, for example, that the letters ea can make different sounds in different words (dream and bread). They will also learn that one sound might be represented by different groups of letters: for example, light and pie (igh and ie make the same sound).

Children in Year 2 will be learning spelling rules, such as adding suffixes to words (such as -ed, -ing, -er, -est, -ful, -ly, -y, -s, -es, -ment and -ness). They will be taught rules on how to change root words when adding these suffixes (for example, removing the ‘e’ from ‘have’ before adding ‘ing’) and then move onto harder concepts, such as silent letters (knock, write, etc) and particular endings (le in bottle and il in fossil).

Free phonics worksheets and information for parents

For more information about the phonics system look through our phonics articles, including ways to boost phonics confidence, details of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, parents’ phonics questions answered and more.

We also have a large selection of free phonics worksheets to download for your child.

Flummoxed by phonics? Here’s the what, why and how of phonics to help guide you and your child.

How to teach children phonics

Ladybird team

How to teach children phonics

From making friends to confidence with letters and numbers, there’s a lot to learn when starting school. Children learn a lot through play – but these days, reading skills are also taught systematically, from the earliest days in nursery or reception class right through their first years in primary school.

It can be a bit of a puzzle to work out how best to support your child through the early stages of reading, especially since teaching methods may have changed quite a bit since you were at school! Read on if you’d like to find out what to expect as your child builds their reading skills, how to help them – and how you can both have fun while you do so!

Phonics: using the sounds made by individual letters and groups of letters to read words.

Decoding: using your phonic knowledge to sound out and read words.

Grapheme: a written letter or group of letters, like ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘she’ or ‘air’. Some graphemes are single letters like ‘a’; others are digraphs like ‘ai’.

Digraph: two letters that make one sound together, like ‘sh’, ‘ai’, ‘oo’.

Phoneme: the sound a letter or group of letters make – e.g. the word ‘mat’ has three phonemes, ‘m’, ‘a’ and ‘t’. The word ‘through’ is longer, but it also has three phonemes, ‘th’, ‘r’ and the ‘oo’ sound in ‘ough’.

Sounding out: using your phonic knowledge to help you say each sound within a word, e.g. ‘r-e-d’ or ‘s-au-ce-p-a-n’.

Blending: running the sounds in the word together to read the whole word, e.g. ‘r-e-d, red’, ‘s-au-ce-p-a-n, saucepan’.

High-frequency words (also known as ‘common exception words’): the very important, very common words which we use a lot, but which aren’t always decodable using phonics. This includes crucial words like ‘the’, ‘one’, ‘where’, etc. Children are taught to recognise these words on sight – a few of these words are introduced and learnt at a time.

How to teach children phonics

Phonics means using letter sounds to help you read words.

Most schools in the UK now teach reading through phonics. The reason phonics is so widely used is that research shows it works! That’s why the official school curriculum says that children need to be taught to read using a systematic phonics system.

In pre-school or nursery, before they even start learning letter names and sounds, children begin developing their listening skills so that they are tuned into the different sounds in words.

Then, usually in reception or year/primary one, the letters of the alphabet are introduced in a set order, and children learn one sound for each letter. At that point, they can sound out and read simple, short words like ‘c-a-t, cat’ and ‘s-u-n, sun’. Next, children learn that some letters make different sounds when you put them together, like ‘sh’, ‘ee’ and ‘ai’.

Once they’ve learned to read words with the most common letter-sound combinations, children move on to learn lots of alternative combinations. They practise reading increasingly complex words. By the time they finish their first year, most children will be well on the way to reading pretty much any familiar word in English! In their second year, children develop their skills still further, practising using phonics to read and spell words that are less familiar and more challenging.

Of course, while all this is going on, children are also learning to understand and enjoy what they read! From nursery and beyond, teachers share wonderful stories and non-fiction books with children and encourage them to think about, talk about and enjoy their reading.

One of the most common difficulties a child will encounter when learning to read is the failure to understand phonics, that is, how written spellings represent the sounds of spoken words. To help teach your children phonics skills, try engaging them in activities at home that incorporate the following:

Playing with your child is actually enormously significant to their language development. As you play with them, in whatever activity, whether it’s building Lego, block towers, train tracks, playing with dolls in their dollhouse, or drawing, be intentional about using language. This can feel stilted and unnatural at first, but it becomes easier with time. There are few different types of ‘talk’ you can use—this helps you have a means of discussing things if you’re struggling:

Parallel Talk – This focuses on what the child is doing. You simply report back to the child what they are doing. For example, ‘You are pushing the blue train along the train track’, or ‘you are building a high block tower’. In this way you link language to what they are doing, thereby making direct links between words and things in the mind of the child.

Descriptive Talk – This focuses on the object. You provide words and descriptors for the things your child is playing with. For example, you might say, ‘the red play dough is squishy’, or ‘the blocks tumble down to the ground’.

Self Talk – Using this kind of talk, you focus on what you are doing. ‘I’m drawing a purple butterfly with green polka dots’, or ‘I’m rebuilding the block tower now’. This type of talk may seem unnecessary, but it actually helps kids develop their own language skills, and the more words they have in their memory banks, the better readers that they will be.

Singing is often overlooked as a valid means of developing the language ability of children. But it shouldn’t be. Nursery rhymes were de rigueur once upon a time, and for very good reason. Anytime that you mix words, meter, and music together, you actually end up with an incredibly powerful learning tool. Words alone are powerful, but add rhythm, meter, and melody, and you have something that can burrow further into the mind than a burr under the saddle of a Palomino.

So sing to your child. Sing with your child. Teach them your favorite songs, and learn the ones that they enjoy. Here are a few to jog your memory to help you get started:

  • The Eensy Weensy Spider
  • Twinkle Twinkle little Star
  • Mary had a Little Lamb
  • It’s Raining it’s Pouring

And, of course, we cannot neglect the fine art of reading. In concentrating on phonics games that help develop a child’s understanding of phonics, it must never be done at the expense of actually sitting down and reading books to and with children. Reading to your child teaches them that books are enjoyable things to engage with. It also models book-handling skills, as well as the fluent reading of a text. They pick up a lot about how to read, just by listening to a parent or caregiver read to them.

The understanding of phonics for kids is very important to their reading ability. While emphasis on phonics can, at times, overshadow that of reading, the goal for any phonics game is to get kids reading real books.

Reading Eggs uses a synthetic approach to phonics with lessons that help kids map each letter or letter combination with the appropriate sound. Each letter of the alphabet is introduced in its own lesson, allowing kids to focus on the correspondence between a particular letter and its appropriate sounds, thus reinforcing the alphabetic principle. All the lessons in Reading Eggs build one upon the next so that by Lesson 9, kids read their first book. All activities in the program, including the phonics games, have as their focus the reading of real books.

From Lesson 9 on, kids read an e-book in each lesson. All of the books dovetail seamlessly with the content of their respective lessons; therefore, all phonics instruction that kids receive and engage with in a lesson is put to immediate use reading real texts. The lessons are engaging and highly engaging, and reward kids for every lesson they complete. This keeps kids immersed in the learning environment, and motivated to continue reading.

Rosie

7 Plus, 8 Plus, 11 Plus, English, Maths, Science & Spanish

How to teach children phonics

In this blog, Rosie sets out a step-by-step guide to phonics: a method which teaches children to read by identifying the individual sounds in a word and blending them together.

Read our parents’ guide to phonics

Step 1 – Letter Sounds

Most phonics programmes start by teaching children to see a letter and then say the sound it represents. Children are often taught the letters S,A,T,P,I,N first, so that they can sound out a wide variety of words (e.g. sat, pin, pat).

Children should also begin to learn how to write these letters using the correct formation.

Tip: There are a host of songs and videos available on Youtube to support learning letter sounds.

Step 2 – Blending

Children are taught how to blend individual sounds together to say a whole word. They will start with CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words such as sit, pan, tap, before moving on to CCVC words (e.g. stop, plan) and CVCC words (e.g. milk, past).

Tip: Invest in a set of magnetic letters for the fridge. Children can arrange different combinations of letters to form words.

Step 3 – Digraphs

Once the children have learnt individual letter sounds, they will start learning to read and write digraphs. They will learn consonant digraphs (e.g. ch, sh, ng) and vowel digraphs (e.g. ea, oo, ai). Then they will move on to sounding out whole words such as hair, moon, chin etc.

Alongside this, children should be introduced to ‘tricky words’ (also called common exception words). These are common words that don’t follow the normal phonics rules (e.g he, she, was, they, all).

Tip: Purchase a set of phonics flashcards. Collins do a good version of these, available at https://collins.co.uk/products/9780008201050. You can use these to play games (e.g. which sound is missing?) and to make new words.

Need support teaching your child phonics? View our 7 Plus tutors

Step 4 – Alternative graphemes

Once children are confident with the above, they will start learning more graphemes. They will learn that one sound can be represented by different graphemes. For example, the ‘ai’ sound (rain) can be represented as ‘ay’ (day), ‘a_e’ (make), ‘eigh’ (eight) and ‘a’ (apron). Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ‘ea’ in sea, head and break.

Tip: Reading to your child is key. It is important that your child continues to listen to and (most importantly) enjoy stories while they are learning phonics. When you’re reading aloud to your child, ask them to read one sentence per page. They will enjoy using their phonics skills to decipher new words.

Step 5 – Fluency and Accuracy

By this point, children should be able to read many familiar words automatically and sound out unfamiliar words. They should be able to spell words phonetically, but not necessarily correctly.

The aim now is to support children to become more fluent readers and accurate spellers. Children will begin to learn more complex spelling rules such as prefixes, suffixes and silent letters. They should continue to practise reading on a daily basis to develop speed, fluency and comprehension.

Good luck! With plenty of practice and praise, your child should be reading in no time.

How to teach children phonics

Five ways to make Phonics fun!

In this blog, Laura sets out five ways to help your child prepare for the 7 Plus or 8 Plus school entrance exam and interview. Using these five activities as part of a long-term strategy will build your child’s confidence in speaking, reading and writing and ensure their skills and personality shines through on the day.

More about Rosie

Rosie qualified as a teacher in Primary education in 2016, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.

Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.

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Rich Scherr is a seasoned journalist who has covered technology, finance, sports, and lifestyle.

Phonics activities can be educational and fun at the same time. Get your kids excited about learning with fun phonics challenges that teach and inspire them at the same time. Start with seven fun phonics activities that help your kids learn to read.

Hunt for Letters

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Indeed / Getty Images

Who knew learning phonics could be so much fun? Turn old magazines and catalogs into phonics activities that develop your child’s comprehension even further. Pick a letter and spot everything in the catalog that has the same phonetic sound.

Grab the scissors and cut those items out of the pages. Together you’ll make a customized flashcard as you learn the letter and its sound. Kids will have the visual of the word, such as alligator, along with the letter you’re studying. You only need a few household items to get started.

Teach Phonics Through Picture-Taking

Tap into their creative mind when you hand them a camera and send them on a phonics adventure. Help them spot objects that navigate them from A to Z through photos. They can snap pictures of everything from an anthill to a Zamboni.

The lesson continues at home when your child makes their own alphabet book with their pictures. The activity never gets old and can be used to capture a field trip, vacation or regular day with mom or dad through their eyes.

Spell Phonetically

Help them practice writing skills as you spell words for them phonetically. Once they know the phonetic sounds of the alphabet (aah, buh, cuh, etc.), they’ll be able to spell and comprehend all of those words he sees in his storybooks.

Get them a notebook and help them create lists that cover everything from their favorite toys to games they like to play. Sound out every letter so they can write the word themself.   For example, if they like cars, sound out cuh so they’ll write the letter C, then aah for the letter A and so on.

Play Alphabet Ball

Burn some of your child’s endless supply of energy. Play phonics activities that teach them letters, letter sounds, and words. Alphabet ball is a multifaceted game that grows with them and can be adapted to fit a variety of school subjects.

There are three levels of play—one for toddlers, one for preschoolers and one for school-age children. To get started all you need are a ball, marker and a child who loves to play.

Use Worksheets

Print free worksheets from your computer to work with them on each letter and its sound. This is one of the most basic phonics activities your child can do and it’s easy to get started. As they become more confident with letters, this phonics activity will give you a mini-break because they can sit close by while you’re working, cooking dinner, or folding laundry.

Since you’ll be an arm’s reach away, you can periodically ask them questions about the letter as you work on something else.

Read Phonics Books

Dig right into phonics books to give them a head start in reading comprehension. Many phonics programs include books that are written specifically for beginning readers. Sit down for some one-on-one time to tackle letter sounds and sight words.   You can make reading fun for them, which will make them look forward to sitting down with a good book in the future.

They’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as they flip the pages and learns to read each word. They’ll become eager to get their hands on even more books, which is a habit that will encourage a lifelong love of reading.

Watch Phonics DVDs

They can learn even when you don’t feel like playing phonics activities right along with them. Their noggin can still get a workout with some of the top phonics DVDs available on the market today.

Watch the programs with them and talk about them later to test their memory recall. Engaging them in a conversation about what they watched helps reinforce what they saw and includes you in the phonics activity, even though your DVD player helped lend a hand in the teaching department.