What is Phonics?
Phonics is knowing what letter (or letter combination) makes what sound and in what context. When a child attempts to work out an unknown word, s/he will need to be able to identify the letters’ corresponding sounds. Our phonics activities are designed to target areas of need to help children progress.
Want to give your child a flying start but not sure where to start? Follow the Easy Teaching steps:
- Letter-Sound Knowledge
- Blends and Digraphs
- Long Vowel Patterns/Diphthongs
1) Letter-Sound Knowledge
To begin, children need to learn individual letter sounds. For vowels, that is their short sound (‘a’ as in apple, ‘e’ as in egg, ‘i’ as in insect, ‘o’ as in orange, ‘u’ as in up). For your child’s reference, print and display this Alphabet Chart.
- This is something that can easily be incorporated into everyday life from a very young age. “Can you help me find a fruit starting with ‘b’. ‘I spy something beginning with…’
- Print and laminate our Alphabet Flash Cards. Practice makes perfect!
- CVC words are perfect to use when working on basic letter-sound knowledge.
2) Blends and Digraphs
Certain consonants ‘blend’ together. Once basic letter-sound knowledge has been learnt, recognising sounds of blends and digraphs is the next step in phonics . Head over to our Blends and Digraphs Page for more great phonics activities.
Blends are two letters that go together to make two distinct sounds. ‘tr’ is a blend. You can hear both the ‘t’ and the ‘r’ sound. There are also three letter blends such as ‘str’ and again, all three sounds can be heard.
Digraphs are two letters that combine to make a different, single sound, such as ‘sh’. Neither the sound ‘s’ nor ‘h’ can be heard. Other digraphs are ‘ch’, ‘th’ (hard as in ‘that’ and soft as in ‘thumb’), ‘ph’, ‘nk’ and ‘ng’.
- Help your child come up with a short singable song line for each letter (‘br’ says /brr/, /brr/, /brr/, /brr/. The Broom is Broken. /brr/, /brr/, /brr/). Practise the rhymes. Make these into flash cards so your child can practise independently!
- Focus on one (or two similar) blend or digraph at a time. Help your child to come up with words- “cr says /crr/. Can you think of any words that begin with ‘crr‘?”
- Print and laminate our Blends and Digraphs Flash Cards. Practice makes perfect!
Blend & Digraph Worksheets
3) Long Vowel Patterns and Diphthongs
Long vowel patterns (or diphthongs) are two vowels joined together to form one sound. This is the next step in phonics instruction once your child has a solid understanding of blends and digraphs. Head over to Long Vowel Patterns page for more information and resources.
‘Bossy e’– a ‘bossy e’ changes a short vowel sound to long vowel sounds. For example, hop – hope.
Long vowel patterns– vowel can be combined to make different sounds (also known as diphthongs). In the table below, you can see the sounds that common vowel patterns make.
|Long a sound||Long e sound||Long i sound||Long o sound||Long u sound|
|ai, ay, a_e||ea, ee||i_e, igh||oa, o_e||ew, u_e|
Other vowel patterns:
|oi and oy||ou and ow||Long oo and Short oo|
- Try focusing on one vowel pattern at a time. Help your child come up with rhyming words. “Can you think of any other words that rhyme with ‘train’?”
- Use the board game ‘Upwords’ and replace the beginning letter to make new words.
Long Vowel Pattern Worksheets
More Phonics Resources