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Learning to read are some phonics vocabulary and ideas that parents should know.

Teaching your child how to read is sometimes a daunting task. The best method is to teach your child letter sounds first then blending those letter sounds into different smaller words, or phonics. The problem is, the English language is not that simple. Below is some background information/vocabulary every parent should know and some fun-filled phonics activities any kid would enjoy.


  • Phoneme- The smallest sound in a word. Every word can be broken into smaller sounds. A phoneme can be one letter or more. For example, the word day has two phonemes (or two small sounds) d and ay to make up the whole word.

  • Consonant- A speech sound that is not a vowel. Consonants are closed or partially closed sounds. Some examples of consonants are the letter sounds for P, G, N, L, S, R, D, T or any letter sound other than A, E, I, O, and U.

  • Vowel- A speech sound that is formed without an obstruction (without the use of the tongue, teeth or throat). Examples of vowels are the sounds A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.

  • Digraph- A combination of two letters to create one sound. Examples include the sounds in ph, ey, ar, ea, er, oi, ch, th, and sh.

  • Trigraph- A combination of three letters to create one sound. For example the sounds air, igh, ear, ore, and are.

  • Blending- Building words by adding phonemes or sounds to one word. For example, the sounds c, a, and t can be blended to build the word cat.

  • Segmenting- Breaking a word up into each sound or phoneme. For example the word map can be broken up to the sounds m, a, and p.

Ideas to teach phonics:

  • Practicing letter sounds daily is extremely important. To help with that practice, you can use a pop-fidget. All you need is a pop-fidget and a permanent marker. With the permanent marker write each letter of the alphabet on each pop. During your daily activities, have your child use the pop-fidget and each pop they use they can make the sound that the letter produces. You can also have your child pop the letter of the sound that you provide.

  • Once your child is comfortable with making each letter sound (consonants and vowel sounds) you can start adding blending/segmenting techniques focusing on Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) letter combinations. Examples of CVC words are big, mat, hat, cat, mop, map, tap, tan, fan, bat, hop, etc. To make learning letter sounds fun and hands-on, you can use sand, shaving cream, or play-doh to create the letters after hearing the sounds.

  • Letter smash is another fun activity to correlate letter sounds to letters. With written or magnetic letters, put a ball of play-doh under each letter sound. Have a child push the ball of play-doh and say each letter sound. After each letter sound, have the child say the whole word by blending all of the sounds together.

  • Next, you can start adding digraphs to the mix. To help practice with digraphs, you can use three notepads. On each notepad, write a letter or digraph on each page. Make sure you write every letter and digraph in each notepad. Have your child go to a random page in each notepad and create a word. If it is a nonsense word, have the child still sound it out and identify if it is or not a word.

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