How To Learn Phonics for kids

How To Learn Phonics for kids

Before we talk about why it’s so important for toddlers to learn about Phonics we should learn what phonics actually is.

Phonics is learning that letters and sounds are a partnership i.e. it is the link between what is said and what we read and write.

Phonics is the first stage that younger readers will need to sound out your words. Within pre school children will begin to build their listening skills so they can tune into the varying sound in many different words, laying the basis to learn sounds and names.

How To Learn Phonics for kids


The next step would of course take place at primary school level where a child would learn the letters within the alphabet in a set order, then sound out each letter. Once learned a child will start to sound out and read short simple words. Here is an example, children would learn the letter C has a sound of a “c” as in of course “CAT”, then the child then learn to blend the remaining sounds, “c/a/t/” to then pronounce the whole word.

Of course, practice makes perfect, after working with short simple words a child’s self-confidence will begin to grow and they will be thus be able to begin making connections to more complex words. All this while relishing a new love of reading. Listed below is a list of Buzzwords to assist you to help your child to read.. 

Phonics: using the sound made by a letter and groups of letters to read words.

Decoding: using the knowledge of phonics to sound out and read words.

Grapheme: a written single letter or group of letters, like “s”, “a”, or “she”.

Diagraph: two letters that make one sound together, for example “sh”.

Phoneme: the sound a letter or group of letters make. An example is the word “mat”, which has 3 phonemes, “m”, “a”, and “t”.

Sounding Out: using your phonic knowledge to help you say the sounds within a word; e.g., “r-e-d”, pronouncing each phoneme.

Blending: reading the sounds in the word all together to read the whole word; e.g., “r-e-d, red” or “m-o-m, mom”.

High-Frequency Words: also known as “common exception words”, we use these common words often, but aren’t always decodable using phonics. Examples of high-frequency words are, “the”, “one”, and “where”; children are taught to recognize these words on sight.

In school, teachers give children plenty of time and practice when working with phonics. Working with phonics in my classroom, children read short, easy books, containing a particular letter sound or words they are working on, allowing them to build knowledge and confidence towards phonics. As a parent, it can be a bit of a puzzle trying to work out the best ways to support your children in the early stages of reading, especially since teaching methods are always changing, and are sure to have changed since you were in school! Learning about phonics does not have to start and stop within the walls of the classroom. As a teacher, I have come up with several ways to work on phonics with your child from the comfort of your own home. Some of those ways are:

  • Form a partnership with the teacher

Ask your child’s teacher how you can highlight reading and phonics inside the home and feel free to express any concerns you may have.

  • Listen to your child read

If you notice when reading with your child that they stumble on a word, encourage them to use phonics to sound it out. If they are still unsure after sounding the word out, don’t be discouraged, provide the word and some encourage to your child to get the next one right!

  • Boost comprehension

When reading with your child, take breaks from the story to ask questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Can you make up a different ending to the story?”

  • Reread familiar books

If you notice your child wants to reread their favourite book, that’s okay! In fact, it’s beneficial as it shows a desire to read, builds fluency, and builds confidence in your child as they can demonstrate reading on their own with little to know assistance.

  • Read aloud

When choosing a book to read, choose a book that excites your child and their interests, and, if you can, use different voices for each character!

  • Spread the joy of reading

Keeping plenty of books and/or magazines around the home will show your child how valuable reading is, while cultivating a lifelong love of reading

Once your child has learned to read words with the most common letter-sound combinations, they will move on to learn other, harder combinations. With daily practice, your child will be well on their way to reading pretty much any familiar word in the English language! Teaching children is not a simple task, and if after reading these steps you’re left feeling a little overwhelmed, no need to worry, I have a solution for that too! Click the link below to see how Sarah Shepard, a fellow teacher, has taught over 35,000 children how to read with her program Reading Head.