How we teach phonics

We are now at the phonics stage with child #3.  Here are the methods we use.

1. Alphabet wall poster/wall-hanging

These are really popular – think the kind of thing plastered round the walls of a nursery school 🙂  I decided to make something myself since I don’t want my dining room to look like a pre-school!  I chose to use upper-case (capitals) since I didn’t teach these to our eldest and it was a disadvantage.  So the capital forms are there getting looked at every day and learnt subliminally, whilst lower-cases are in use daily with the following methods, and through practising phonics creatively.



2. Alphabet flashcards

Flashcards like these are one of the main methods used, but amazingly I actually haven’t needed these a great deal for phonics.  The children seem to pick the phonics up from their older siblings and from regular use of Alphablocks (see below), but I intend to use this method more.  It is tried and tested, and it certainly works well when I use it for French.  Here’s a simple, free set of Alphabet flashcards that can be printed off, cut up (and laminated if you like).  These would also work well as a frieze around the wall, or as colouring sheets.

3. Alphablocks

Alphablocks is a fantastic innovative approach to phonics, produced in the UK.  It is a graded series of short animations which build from the basics upwards, using fun, humourous sketches rich in assonance, and lots of catchy original songs to teach phonics rules (and exceptions).  There’s a lovely wide range of British accents too.  All our children love the Alphablock characters and they have become like dear friends!  But best of all they simply learn all the phonics- just by watching a few episodes a week.  There’s some supporting free resources online, such as colouring sheets of all 26 letters (the images from which could be worked up into a either of the above tools.) A whole program is now available, including books, but we have been more than happy with the box set which includes all 5 series.

4. Phonics storybooks

We enjoy reading Dr Seuss’ ABC together.  The humour is a bit wacky even for some of our children, but I love it and that’s what really matters as I will likely be the one reading it!

Apple Pie is an old traditional ABC story about all the mischievous things each letter does (or wants to do) with the delicious pie.  It teaches some great verbs along the way (‘Y yearned for it’), and I have created a colouring/copywork version.

I hope this gives you some pointers or fresh ideas.  How do you teach phonics at home or school?


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