The Oxford dictionary defines phonics as “a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system.” More simply put, phonics is the relationship between letters and their sounds. If you have an emerging reader in your home, now is the time to begin phonics practice. In addition to their reading program, Red Apple Reading has a list of creative activities to help your little one master phonic skills.
If you are doing phonics work with small children (preschool) you’ll want to begin with individual letter sounds. The following activities are great for practicing individual sounds:
- Noisy Letter Jump
If your child learns best when in motion, you’ll want to check out this activity from The Imagination Tree. All you need to create this game is some sidewalk chalk and outdoor space. After writing several letters on the ground, have your kiddo jump from letter to letter, saying each letter’s sound upon landing. Parents can create some variety in the game by making a letter sound and having the child jump to the letter that corresponds to the sound.
- Sorting Baskets
Here’s another great game from The Imagination Tree for practicing individual letter sounds. Gather several objects from around your home and have your little one sort them into the basket labeled with the letter the object begins with. For example, you might begin with 3 baskets – a B basket, a C basket and an F basket. You can switch up objects and letters as you play.
Once your kiddo knows individual letter sounds you can move on to something a bit trickier. Practice with digraphs is a good starting place. Digraphs are formed when two letters combine to make a single sound (sh, ch, th). Use these activities when helping your child master digraphs:
- Consonant Digraph Garden
This project will help your little one learn digraphs as well as produce a pretty piece of art. Grab scissors, construction paper, and glue stick and visit I Can Teach My Child to learn how you can create a cute digraph flower garden!
- Digraph Playdough Mats
What kid doesn’t enjoy playing with playdough? When you download these free digraph playdough mats from Playdough to Plato, your kiddo can learn digraphs as she plays. Grab this freebie today!
A consonant blend occurs when two or more consonants appear successively in a word and their sounds blend together. These are also important to practice as you are teaching phonics to your child. Take a look at these ideas to help your child grasp blends:
- Toss and Blend
This game is so much fun your kiddo will forget she is actually learning! After writing a different blend on the inner lip of several plastic cups, have your little learner toss a chip into one of the cups. After tossing, she must say a word that begins with that specific blend. Visit Education.com for complete instructions.
- Blending with Craft Sticks
The Literacy Nest created this cool blending activity. Kids Velcro the appropriate blend onto the craft stick to correctly spell the word. View directions for assembly at The Literacy Nest.
Word families are sets of words that have the same combination of letters producing similar sounds at the end of the words. For example, cat, hat, rat, and mat are all in the -at word family. Before children can learn to read, they must understand that words are made up of various sounds and the manipulation of these sounds is what creates words. So, another creative way of practicing phonics with your child is to learn different word families. Check out these ideas:
- Dr. Seuss Books/Poems
If you have small children in your home, chances are good you have several Dr. Seuss books on the bookshelf. Books such as Hop on Pop, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat are all great introductions to word families. Read these often with your little one so she can become familiar with words that have the same ending sounds. As you read ask questions such as, “What other words rhyme with ham?”
- Word Family Spinners
In this fun activity, compliments of Playdough to Plato, kids create words using homemade spinners. This simple to make game will yield maximum benefits for your kiddo and can be used with as many word families as you can create!
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed when practicing phonics with your child. With a few fun tools up your sleeve, you can help your kiddo master phonics in no time! Or leave it to the professionals and sign up for a Red Apple Reading membership. Want more great phonics activities? Visit our Phonics Fun Pinterest Board today.