There’s a myriad of ways for a child to consolidate the phonics knowledge he/she has gained. Here’s just a few of our favourite ways.
A tray with a sheet of coloured card sprinkled liberally with table salt makes a great tactile writing board. Children can draw lines, shapes, and letters with their fingers. It’s good for snowy scenes. NB avoid licking your fingers while in use.
Then just shake the tray gently from side to side to reset the salt ready for a new letter or word…
I have also used the contents of several (cheap) tea bags cut open and mixed up with some glitter – again on a tray – and, on warm summer days, a tray of builders’ sand in the garden.
This is brilliant – really tactile and fun – and children can start getting their phonics in order to quickly produce lots of simple words without the frustration of needing to confidently form letters. We use Junior Scrabble tiles because they are lower case, but ordinary scrabble tiles will do once the child can recognise capitals (it’s a good idea to teach both).
You can start by asking the child to point out a certain phonic, then move to suggesting short words they might like to try and make. It’s great for teaching or consolidating blends like ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ and so on.
The letters need to be formed on the page sooner or later, but we don’t rush this part. It’s a good idea to encourage lots and lots of drawing and painting first (the recycling box is your friend), to develop good hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.
Once your child is keen to practise letters there is a wealth of free and cheap practice sheets to print.
You could print off one of the fabulous and free ABC booklets from 123 Homeschool 4 Me, download at my free printable Apple Pie Alphabet Storybook, and make sure you check out Donna Young’s Handwriting section for a wealth of penmanship pages.
If you home educate, which approaches to practising phonics have you found work best for your children?