Fun with Phonics

What’s so great about boring old phonics? Well, it’s the reason you’re able to read this blog! Phonics are the building blocks upon which reading and writing are founded. If you want your kids to be able to “decode” new words, then they’re going to need to know all of the tricky nuances of the English language, and that’s where phonics comes in. 

What exactly is phonics? Technically it’s: “a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system.” But you know it as singing the ABC’s, identifying letters and rhyming words at home with your family. Maybe you remember sitting on a large rug in a kindergarten classroom and sounding out vowels and consonants. Perhaps you brought home tiny books that were 10 pages long with a few words on each page — “The fat cat sat on the mat.” Phonics are the hidden games we play to teach language and build a firm foundation for young readers.

To help your littles become successful readers, I’ve got three great library phonics resources that you’ve got to check out!

First of all, check out the Leap Frog videos. Start with “Letter Factory,” and let your early reader listen to it non-stop. It teaches the sounds that the different letters make in funny ways, with a catchy tune that is now absolutely stuck in my head. When I taught kindergarten, this is what we played in the background of indoor recess, and while waiting for busses. I cannot recommend these videos enough!

Another excellent resource in our Educare collection is “Fee, Fie, Phonemic Awareness,” perfect for caregivers and teachers alike. This short book has 130 activities for building phonemic awareness, geared toward children three to six. All of the activities are conversations and games to play with individual children or small groups that help them learn about differentiating between sounds, rhyming, letter recognition, letter sounds and letter blending. No workbooks, no matching cards, just talking, reading and creative writing!

Finally, I am LOVING these beautiful new early reader phonics books! They are small, thick books that are a compilation of multiple short phonics stories, ranging in complexity and with a ton of fascinating topics. I know I would have been much more interested in working on my phonics books in kindergarten if they were Disney Princess or Pokémon themed! (No offense Dick and Jane.)

With just a few minutes of work a day, you too can have a super reader in no time, all thanks to phonics!