Phonic Basics for Parents with Website Links

Many parents of beginning readers have heard about phonics and many have questions: What does my child’s teacher really mean when she talks about phonics? Does my child need to learn phonics to learn to read? Is phonics most effective if taught at a certain age? What can I do at home to support phonics?

What is phonics?

Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your kindergartener learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and your second-grader learns that “tion” sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.

Why is phonics important?

Learning phonics will help your children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as he reads. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as he writes words.

When is phonics usually taught?

Your child will probably learn phonics in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of the consonant letters (all letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, and u). First- and second-graders typically learn all the sounds of letters, letter combinations, and word parts (such as “ing” and “ed”). They practice reading and spelling words containing those letters and patterns. Second-graders typically review and practice the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic.

Children vary in the amount of phonics instruction they need and when they need it. Some children need very little phonics instruction, while others still benefit from phonics instruction in third grade. Many children with dyslexia benefit from phonics instruction even beyond third grade.

The purpose of phonics instruction is to enable students to understand the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.  Phonics instruction produces the best results when letter-sound relationships are taught in a clearly defined sequence. Instruction must include the letter-sound relationships of both consonants and vowels.  The simultaneous presentation of both written words and sounds has proven to be effective in improving children’s decoding skills.  A number of websites can assist educators in delivering sequenced phonics instruction that encourages students to construct knowledge about the relationship between written letters and spoken sounds. 

Phonics Word Match: 35 phonics activities- Learners match the word to its picture. (Needs Shockwave)

Word Builder: 35 Phonics Activities- Learners combine sounds to make words. (Needs Shockwave)

BBC: Words and Pictures - Phonics Year

Between the Lions . Games | PBS Kids

Between the Lions . Gawain's Word | PBS Kids

Fearless FriedaSkillful Skateboarding

Fearless FriedaBig Kahuna

Is this a word?Make "at" words.

Phonics Click and Drag Flash GamePut the 12 pictures in the correct 4 boxes.

Phonics Flash GameMatch blends and diagraphs to images.

Phonics Flash Game:Complete the rhyme.

Phonics Flash GameMatch lower-case consonant letters to images.

Phonics Flash GameMatch cvc words with different medial vowels to pictures.

Phonics Flash GameMatch upper-case consonant letters to images.

Phonics Flash GameMatch lower-case consonant and vowel letters to images.

Robot GameMake "wh" words.

Have a great week playing working on your phonics!


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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