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Beyond the Basics: Learning with Phonics

Some further ideas for progression in phonics once the little ones begin:

Phonemic segmentation learning ideas

Segmentation can be practiced by your child listening to a word, and whispering out the sounds. Word ladders or word wheels provide further ways to practice.

In the word ladder, your child will need to identify the first sound of a word and then others that share the same first and last sounds.

A word wheel requires your child to find words that begin or end with the same sound, starting with the first sound of the first word on the wheel and going from there to other words sharing the same ending sound.

How to acquire grapheme-phoneme knowledge?

Grapheme-phoneme knowledge is taught through worksheets and games: worksheets to practise letter sounds and use them in a range of reading, writing and spelling activities.

For instance, games make learning fun. They can involve using cards, dice or boards that you create on your own. The aim here is to guide your child on how to map certain letter symbols into different sounds.

Phonemic blending activities

Blending activities involve the child taking several letters or phonemes and putting them together to form a word, usually in rhyming games or matching games where the child matches a set of letter symbols to the words that they hear.

Digraphs and trigraphs activities can also provide good practice in phonemic blending. Children need to know how two- and three-letter symbols blend into one single sound. Do a word search; find the words that contain the digraph or trigraph.

You can also give your child an introduction to diphthongs – the sounds that combine two vowels together, like the è in speed but seriously. Simply find something that your child has to complete the word, matching whatever letters or sounds come together to form a diphthong. Diphthong matching or filling-in activities are perfect for this.

Decoding and Encoding:

The bridge between reading and writing Other important skills for your child to master early on are the concepts of decoding and encoding. Decoding is reading or interpreting a written word as sounds. Let’s take an everyday word such as like, and break it down. It can be pronounced like a long ‘e’ – / Like this phrase is an example of encoding, which means taking the sound components (in this case that begins with a long vowel sound/ to create a written word. Simple games online or in interactive books ask your child to match words with pictures (called initial activation strategies) or ask your child to draw a picture, based on the sound of a word being spoken.

How to teach young kids how to spell?

Not only do children practise key words when trying to unscramble a word, both word-squares and crosswords encourage individual spellers to recognize the letters in the target word. Perfect for the playing cards tray Hangman and Boggle are two other games that you can use for spelling practice with your children.

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