Teaching: Phonics and words

Children start to make sounds from soon after they are born. This is imitation of the sounds they hear around them. Even as young babies, children learn to say Ma-ma and Da-da, so they are already using and making phonic sounds.

Through nursery rhymes and songs this process continues subconsciously. Gradually, as the children grow up, their vocabulary increases and so does their phonic learning.

Ask your child to name each letter by saying its name.

Sometimes younger children know the alphabet by singing the Alphabet song. It helps if you sing the song slowly and clearly with the flashcards raised for each letter as it is sung.

When the time comes to start learning to read this sound process has to be transferred to paper. Some children will already recognise some letters - often the letters of their name.

S a m   M a y   B o b   T i m   P a t

If you use alphabet cards you can continue this learning process. Wall charts, floor puzzles and alphabet puzzles are all fun ways to reinforce this stage of learning sounds and letters. Children love playing the memory card game using a memory chart  with alphabet letters to cover each picture.

To continue the phonic and reading process, children have to learn how speech sounds make up words. Then they connect those sounds to alphabet letters. For example, they learn that the letter "r" makes a "ruh" sound. This progresses into children blending these sounds into words. 

e.g.
'b' and 'at' is sounded as bat 

'c' and 'at' is sounded as cat

As well as using the letters for sounds you can combine letters together to form simple words: 
c u p
d a d
b i n

There are many story books which will reinforce phonics.

It is a good idea to have separate magnetic letters for the fridge. This sort of incidental learning is very useful and can be done at any time of the day.

Us Book 1
Mac the bat
Rose and the sheep-ee sound
The cat in the hat

Also through our Worksheet Finder you will find other articles on how to help your child with phonics. There are many fun ways that phonics can be reinforced. 

Animal songs
Spelling patterns ance/ence Year 6 no 2
Nursery rhymes help with phonic sounds
Phonics can be fun

As your child progresses through the learning process, the phonic sounds become more involved and it is important to tell your child that there are some unusual sounds which come from blending two letters together. Sounds such as ‘br'   'sp'   and   'sl’ are easy to understand. Say:
broom
spin
sledge

Later on, children will learn that the English language is unpredictable. Here are some tricky words:

People                 The people walked  slowly.   

Looked                 The baby looked sad.

Called                  Mummy called the children in for tea.

Asked                  I asked Daddy to help me.

Here are examples of some worksheets on blends.

Phonic blends
Phonic blends revised
Phonics on blends
Phonic blends

You can download an illustrated version of this page 

Here are more worksheet suggestions to help with phonics.

How to teach phonics
Analytic and synthetic phonics
Phonics letters and sounds
Starting phonics

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