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Phonics games and activities for beginner readers

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When starting out teaching kids phonics, or anything new for that matter, it’s important to make it fun, interactive, and to give your child small wins, to develop their confidence. Let’s explore 6 fun ways you can help your toddler, preschooler, or emerging reader to master the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.

1. Read with your child every day – let them see you enjoying reading, and make it a part of daily life.

2. Teach you child the names of letter as well as the phonemic sounds. Play letter games, sound games, say letters that rhyme, stick letters up on furniture around your home, use alphabet cards and charts.

3. Spend time “dissecting” words with your child – break the words down into their phonemic sounds. Clap along with the sounds “c” “a” “t”. Sound out the phonemes and ask your child to tell you what the word is.

4. Encourage your child to identify letters and words on posters, signs, in books and magazines and talk about the sounds that each of the letters make.

5. When out and about, ask your child to spot letters / sounds that you name – for example, pick the letter
“d”, and ask them to find one for you. Ask what other words they know that start with the same letter/sound. – such as on packaging at the supermarket, on magazines in the news agency.

6. Ask them to write the letters – you write it first and get your child to trace it, or paint pictures around it. After a while, your child will develop the confidence to write without tracing.

For most kids, somewhere around 1000 hours of fun, games, exposure and repetition is enough to give them a really solid understanding of phonics and to enable them to springboard into the world of reading.

You will clock up those hours easily if you read a few books together each day, talk about the letters and sounds a few times each day. Do this and your child will have a huge advantage by the time the enter kindergarten or school.

What tips do you have for helping kids to read in the early years?