Phonics & ABC

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Whether you’re looking to support your child in their phonics alongside what they are learning in school or planning on home educating this series should help you get a better understanding of phonics and what you can do to develop phonics skills. The series is also suitable for student teachers who are learning to teach phonics.

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When I completed my teacher training I was a mature student. The hardest thing I found was understanding PHONICS – something that most of my peers seemed to understand completely and had been taught at school.

I certainly hadn’t! It was totally alien to me and a little like learning a new language. However, it gave me a great insight into how children feel when taught phonics and how the world around them is surrounded in this code that they are learning.

Language is all around us and It’s great for little ones to see it in many different forms.

Our fabulous lecturer ran our phonics sessions as if we were 4-5 years olds and really bought the teaching to life. Since then I’ve come to love phonics and it was certainly one of my favourite subjects to teach.

Phonics and Rich Texts

As with many things in life, I don’t believe phonics should be taught in isolation in learning to read and write. It should be part of a carefully thought out holistic approach to developing children’s literacy skills. Phonics is the building blocks of our complicated, English alphabetical code and certainly doesn’t always follow the rules.

In learning this code and how to encode and decipher you have to begin with the basics. Alongside this code cracking children must have access to quality, rich texts that fire their imaginations, help develop sentence rhythm and give them a love of literature.

Bitesize Blog

Periodically, I’ll be adding a new blog post about phonics, helping to demystify some of the language and giving you ideas of how you can support your child in their phonics journey through play. If there’s something specific you want to know or any advice please do get in touch through comments or email me at and I’ll do my best to help.

You should definitely check out and their very well researched blog post on An Essential Guide to Teaching Phonics in the Early Years. Great for everyone, but also wonderful advice for supporting children with Autism to navigate phonics.

Phonics Terms

Let’s get started! We’ll build on these in each blog post.

Letter Name – As it says – the names of a letters of the alphabet. Think ABC song. There are 26 in total.

Phoneme – A sound – not a letter. There are approximately 44 sounds in the English language (I say approximately as accents can make this differ). When you see something written as a sound it will have a forward slash at the beginning and end of the sound. For example /a/.

Grapheme – How you write the sound (phoneme) using a letter or number of letters. For example – the five letter word night consists of three sounds (phonemes): /n/ /ie/ /t/ and is written using three graphemes: ‘n’ – ‘igh’ – ‘t’.

Simple Games

My daughter Floss loves little matching games where she matches objects and cards. They’re really easy to set up with objects from around the home and you can just write on pieces of paper or card to match.

One thing to be aware of is what you are asking them to match. Are you asking them to match a letter, phoneme or a grapheme? What do I mean and why does it matter?

Take the apple and the letter card A with the angel on. If you’re asking a child to match the initial sound (first sound) of the word with a card this could be quite confusing. APPLE starts with the phoneme (sound) /a/. ANGEL starts with the phoneme sound /ai/.

Phonics Phases - Phase 1 - Phase 2- Phase 3 - Phase 4 - Phase 5 - Phase 6 - games - activities - ideas - satpin - tricky words - phoneme - grapheme - letters and sounds

One of Floss’s favourite letter recognition activities is the Learning Resources Alphabet Acorn Set that we were gifted. They are exactly the kind of thing that she loves. Small little objects that you can hide away in tiny pots!

Phonics Phases - Phase 1 - Phase 2- Phase 3 - Phase 4 - Phase 5 - Phase 6 - games - activities - ideas - satpin - tricky words - phoneme - grapheme - letters and sounds

I’ve never known her ask to play with things as soon as she wakes up, but she’s been asking to play with the acorns each morning. The pot has a capital letter on the front and inside the lid the corresponding lower case letter. Each tub then contains an item that matches that letter.

So, we’ve dipped our toe into the phonics water click here to go to the next phonics blog post on phonics phases, a couple more phonics terms and play ideas.

If you’d like more in depth information on phonics and phases before we get to it, do check out the Letters and Sounds document here.

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