Phonics is the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language.   



  • Using index cards, encourage your child to help you write the following letters or letter groups, one per card: at, an, ap, et, en, ell, it, in, ick, ot, op, ock, un, ut, ub, b, c, d, f, h, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w. Show your child one letter-pair card, such as the "at" card. Then have her use the single-letter cards to make words with "at." Invite her to choose a card, place it in front of the "at," then try to sound out the word.Help your child, as needed, by blending, or singing, the sounds together. If it is a real word, encourage your child to write the word on a sheet of paper. You can use the word lists you and your child create for reading practice.
  • From a collection of items, play I spy with the phonic starting sound of the items.  For example, gather objects or pictures of a cat, a ball and an apple.  I would choose a letter, in this case “c” and say “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “c”.” (phonic sound) and place the letter card in front of me. Your child would then pick up the letter card and place it next to the item that started with that sound. It would then be her turn to choose an item to spy.  Again how many items you would play with would depend on the stage of the child.
  • Writing is a great way to practice phonics skills.  Have your child engage in writing activities whenever possible.  Have them send letters and cards to friends and relatives.  They can send emails and help create shopping lists.
  • Building Words - Using magnetic letters, make a three letter word on the refrigerator (cat). Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Every day, change one letter to make a new word. Start by changing only the beginning letter (cat, bat, hat, sat, mat, rat, pat). Then change only the ending letter (pat, pal, pad, pan). Finally, change only the middle letter (pan, pen, pin, pun).
  • Making Words - For this game, you will need magnetic letters and three bags. Put half of the consonants into the first bag. Put the vowels into the middle bag, and put the remaining consonants into the last bag. Have your child pull one letter from the first bag. That will be the first letter of their word. Then have him pull from the vowel bag for the second letter of the word and from the other consonant bag for the third letter of the word. Next, the child will read the word and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. Take turns, replacing the vowels as needed until there are no more consonants left. 
  • Hunting Words- Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound. As each object is found, help your child write the word on a list. For example, if the target sound is "m", the child might find and write mop, mat, Mom, money, and microwave. 


  • Hints For Helping Your Child Decode Unknown Words:

1. High Frequency Words - If the word is a high frequency word (such as, is, of, or could), say the word and explain that it doesn't follow the rules. It just needs to be memorized. 

2. First Sound - Have your child say the first sound in the word and make a guess based on the picture or surrounding words. Double-check the printed word to see if it matches the child's guess. 

3. Sound and Blend - Have your child say each sound separately (sss  aaa  t). This is called "sounding it out", and then say the sounds together (sat). This is "blending".

4. Familiar Parts - When your child starts reading longer words, have him notice the parts of the word that he already knows. For example, in a word such as presenting, your child may already know the prefix (pre), the word (sent), and the word ending (ing).