Phonics and Sounds
We begin teaching the alphabet letter sounds in the Reception Year and progressively build on this knowledge.
What can you do?
There are many things you can do to help your child to learn to spell new words. Try each of these during short but regular sessions and remember to make it fun!
• Ensure that you child experiences a rich environment of print.
• Encourage regular reading of a range of texts.
• Use fridge magnets, or letter tiles from games to spell out words.
• Play family games like Scrabble, Boggle and Hangman.
• Use a mirror so your child can see how their mouth moves when saying letters that can easily get mixed up when they write them down, like ‘m’ and ‘w’, or ‘p’ and ‘g’.
• Play games with lists of words. Can they put them in alphabetical order using the first letter of the word (for example cat, fat, hat, mat and sat)? Or can they do this by the second letter (for example bag, beg, big, bog and bug)?
• Give them old newspapers or magazines to play word-finding games, for example can they highlight words that begin with ‘c’, end with ‘ing’, have ‘ee’ in the middle? Adapt the activity to your child’s ability.
• Draw or cut out pictures of things that have only one letter different (like ‘pen’ and ‘pin’). This will help them to understand how different short vowel sounds work.
• Make up games to help your child see the difference between words like ‘tap’ and ‘tape’, ‘hop’ and ‘hope’ and ‘sit’ and ‘site’ where the last letter changes the sound of the word.
• Play games where you can rearrange letters to make other words (anagrams) out of their name, favourite toy etc.
• To memorise a difficult word make up a phrase or sentence, for example,
- Said = silly Anne is dancing
- Because = big elephants cry and upset small elephants
- Would = would old uncle lion dance
• Encourage your child to see a word in a word for example, one, hear and busy.
• Make the word into a picture, for example, look and eye.
• Sound out the syllables, for example
• Although copying out a word is not a particularly effective way to learn spellings, the Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check method is a useful way of memorising new words.
• Remember the more times you practice the better, but make it FUN