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Helping your child with phonics at home: A parents guide

Lelia Ingram
Lelia Ingram - November 15, 2017

In all likelihood, your child will learn to read and write by using phonics.

Phonics is a way of teaching children the relationship between letters and sounds to form words, so they can learn to read and write.

When your child learns that the letter ‘A’ has the speech sound of /a/ as in Ant, or the letters CH together have the sound /ch/ as in ‘Chair’, they are learning phonics.

How can I support my child learning phonics?

To help you support your little one’s learning journey in literacy, we’ve put together this handy checklist.

  1. Speak to your child’s teacher or key worker to find out what phonics programme/scheme they are using in school. They will be best placed to tell you what sounds your child is learning and has already learnt in school.
  2. In all games and activities make sure you pronounce the speech sounds clearly using the pure sound, for example: the letter s has a short /sss/ sound NOT /s-uh/ and m has a short /mmm/ sound NOT /m-uh/.
  3. Play simple phonics word games that involve listening and recognising the sounds your child is learning and has learned at school for example:
    Sound Eye Spy: Eg. “I spy with my little eye something that begins with the sound __” or “What other things can you find that begin with that sound?”
    Speedy Sounds: Make or buy small flashcards with the speech sounds on them. Using the timer on your mobile phone, select the sounds and letters your child has been taught so far. Place them in a pile. Start the timer (set to whatever time you wish e.g. 30 secs). Ask your child to turn over the cards one at a time and say the sound clearly. (If they get to the end of the pile before the timer stops, they keep turning over the same cards). Count how many times they say a sound correctly. Keep a note and next time tell them that you’re going to see if they can beat their record!
    Sound Scavenger Hunt: Write/draw a list of items for your child to find in the garden/house all beginning with the same letter and they have to tick off & say the sound when they find it. Extend these by getting them to add more to the list.
  4. Don’t forget about rhyming games, songs and tongue twisters. Young children love these and they will support your child in hearing speech sounds that are the same and that are different.
  5. Continue to read to and with your child as often as you can. Reading will get them thinking about words and sounds from the get-go as well as develop their imagination and grow vocabulary. Alongside printed text, think about sharing an ebook with your child on a tablet, this can make for a fun, highly interactive storytelling experience which will make them want to keep coming back for more.
  6. There are lots of fantastic digital tools online to support your child with phonics. Hopster has some wonderful shows which teach all about letters and phonics e.g. ‘Phonics School’. We also have a wonderful literacy game, Alphabet hotel’ which teaches children to read and write the letters and sounds of the alphabet as well as the other sounds that make up the English language. Children play a series of fun, interactive mini games which will help them develop their phonic understanding and build a path to becoming a reader

How Hopster can help

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Using Alphabet Hotel, Hopster’s interactive phonics game

We have a brilliant literacy game called Alphabet Hotel. This game encourages kids to explore all the letters and sounds of the alphabet, as well as digraph combinations through a series of mini games.

That’s not all – we also have a show called Phonics School which introduces each letter of the alphabet and its corresponding sound in a fun, memorable way.

About Hopster

Striking a balance between learning and fun, Hopster is the app that helps kids aged 2-6 to learn through the TV shows, games, and books they love.

As one of the top-ranking kids apps on the Appstore in 24 countries and counting we already do this for over 1 million families.

Let your family try Hopster today with a free 1-month trial, using the voucher code LEARNPHONICS.