Why Kids Need to Learn Phonics

Red Cat Reading Team Blog, fun activities, Phonics

Learning to read is essential for children. Reading and understanding the written word plays a huge part in our everyday lives. Whether children learn to read for work, school, or pleasure, reading is necessary for all children to have developmental success. While there are various ways to teach reading, teaching children phonic sounds is a great place to start. In general, phonics are the sounds that are associated with a letter or group of letters. Read on to find out more about helping your child to learn the easiest phonics sounds!

Easy Phonics Activities

1. Sound it Out

Many parents and/or teachers including myself have said the phrase “sound it out.” That’s exactly what phonics are. They are sounds put together to form words and help children learn to read and spell words. The easiest phonics to teach children to read are s, a, t, p, i, n, d, e, m, h, and, b. Even though you might not think you know how to teach phonics, I’d like to share with you some fun ways to incorporate phonics into your everyday life so that you can help your child be a super successful reader. It’s easy, I promise!

2. Collecting Items

One of the best ways to teach phonics is to identify things in your child’s environment that begin with the corresponding letter sound. For example, you could grab a basket or bin that you and your child can fill together with items that begin with the letter P. In the container, you could add a pencil, a paperclip, a picture, a popsicle stick, and a Peppa Pig toy. All of these items start with a letter P and you and your child can practice saying the P sound as you identify the items in the basket. Your child won’t even realize they are learning with this fun activity.

3. Building Blocks

Another fun way to teach phonics sounds is to use interlocking building blocks. Not the tiny little ones, but rather the Duplo or Megablok sized blocks. Take a permanent marker and write letters on the side of the blocks to spell simple sight words. Then, use a longer block as the base and write the correct word on it so the child knows what letters to look for. For example, you might write the letter T on one block, A on another, and N on the final block. On the longer, rectangular block, write the word “TAN.” Then, you can explain to your child how to find the T, A, N and you can put them all together to “build” a word. As your child gets more comfortable with the different phonics sounds, he or she can change up the first letter to practice other easy phonics such as man, ran, pan, and so on. You can find more info about this activity by visiting The Printable Princess. Kids who aren’t necessarily huge fans of reading and writing, might be hesitant to start learning about phonics, but when presented as a game, they won’t even know they’re learning. This one is sure to be a hit!
When Learning Phonics Gets More Challenging

1. Identifying the Problem with Hard Phonics
The first thing to do for a child struggling is to identify the problem. This can be done with reviewing phonics the child already knows. Reading with the child and making notes of the words they’re having difficulty with is a good first step. This allows you to isolate the particular sounds that are giving your child problems. After you have identified the issue, you can work with your child’s teacher or come up with your own ideas at home for how to help your child to develop better skills.

2. Talk to Your Child’s Teacher
If your child goes to school, one thing that you can do to help your child is to talk to their teacher. If he or she has noticed that your child is having difficulty with some of the hardest phonics areas, they might be able to help you discover new ways to help your child at home. Your child’s teacher might be practicing a certain technique in the classroom that you can implement in your learning at home. Perhaps he or she might even have additional advice to offer. It might be easy for your child’s teacher to provide you with worksheets or reading materials that could make mastering these difficulties a lot easier for your child.

3. Practice Reading at Home
Perhaps the biggest thing that you can do to help your child master the difficult areas of phonics is to read together. Reading together allows you to see where your child is struggling, and come up with a plan to help. Choose books that focus on the harder phonetic sounds, such as those with hard th, soft th, ch, sh, ng, r, wh, and ck sounds. The Red Cat Reading phonics program has plenty of books and videos that you and your child can explore together – all tailored towards a specific phonic sound.

Activities to Try

  • Flashcard Flip
    Write up some flashcards. Color code them based on their phonics sound. Place them face down on a table. First, flip over one card. Challenge your child to think of a word using that phonic sound. Better yet, make a sentence using the word! If you’d like to add to the challenge, flip over 2 or more cards at once and make a sentence using multiple words using the phonics you chose.
  • Phonics Slam
    Using the same cards, take one card from each phonic group. (For example, one “Ph”, one “Y”, one “Le”, etc.) Lay them on a table face up. Call out a phonic sound. Have your child smack the correct card. This is a very exciting chance for your child to get a little fired up and have fun learning phonics! After they’ve gotten used to the game and feel confident about their phonics, up the stakes a bit! Say a word containing the same phonic sound as those on the table. Now your child has to identify which phonic sound the word contains and must smack the correct phonic sound.
  • Play Time
    Is your child a drama lover? Here’s a great chance for them to learn phonics and put on a show! Choose a phonic sound and practice the words containing them. Make some simple props out of paper, markers, and tape.Ask your child to put on a play and use some of the new words they just learned. Be sure to lend a hand by playing a part in the play and helping to come up with a script! If you’re struggling to come up with some play ideas, re-watch the video and imitate one of the stories. Perhaps your child could be a sea captain sailing in the hopes of finding a white whale! This would be a great and creative way to reinforce the wh- phonic sound!
  • Mini Author
    If your child enjoys writing, invite them to write their very own book! Using only one group of phonic sounds or many from all of the groups presented in the video, ask your child to write a simple story with pictures. If this is too difficult for your child at their current level, drawing pictures and writing the word associated with it underneath is also a fantastic way to practice phonics. Try reading the book together until your child can read it confidently. Then, ask them to read it to you. They’ll feel so proud of themselves, it might become their and your new favorite bedtime story!
  • Toy Teacher
    Does your child like to play with toys? If you have some stuffed animals or dolls around, invite them to learn phonics with your child. After reviewing some words and phonic sounds your child feels they can use confidently, ask them to become a little teacher. Your child can sit in the driver’s seat and take charge of the lesson! Let them try to explain some of their favorite phonic sounds and vocabulary words to their dolls. The toys are sure to be good listeners! This activity will reinforce what your child has just learned because they’ll have to think hard about the lesson and understand it well enough to explain it to someone else. Don’t forget to keep learning fun and interactive! Even the most difficult phonic sounds can be mastered after a little work and a lot of play.
  • How Red Cat Reading Can Help
    Learning phonics and reading go hand-in-hand. Reading can help you visualize the phonics that you’re trying to learn and speaking helps to boost your phonics abilities! You can find all of the resources you need to master phonics at Red Cat Reading Download Center. You’ll have access to free books and videos that’ll make learning some of the most difficult phonic sounds easy!

4. Learn Slowly

Do not push your child. If he or she is struggling with one of the harder phonics sounds, allow them to learn at their own pace. Work with your child slowly so that he or she has a firm grasp of the sound before moving on. This will ensure that your child does not easily forget the sound that the letters make while working on other phonics sounds.

5. Use Media to Help

The use of media, such as videos, flashcards, and even audio, can really help a child learn. Since all children learn differently, you have to experiment with your child to find out which media is most helpful. Writing words down on flashcards that have a certain letter sound in them is one idea. This allows your child to see the letters used in a variety of words and gives them the chance to see the letters being used in the words. You can accompany this method with an audio recording of you saying these words and using them in sentences to allow your child to practice even when you aren’t in the room with them.

The more your child hears these sounds and associates them with letters and words, the better readers they will become. If we give children a good foundation and quality phonics training, they will grow and develop into strong readers. The tools offered through Red Cat Reading are engaging, very kid friendly, and all free! The phonics videos, books, and games for kids on our website make learning phonics a blast! While we don’t necessarily want kids to have tons of screen time, these educational activities are well worth checking out. Don’t miss out and visit our website today!