The below posts all contain resources that can be made to help support you in the teaching of phonics.
Click on the activity titles to go straight to the original Facebook post where you will find more photos an videos.
Fantastic way to identify the phonemes (sounds) in words and practise blending and segmenting. Draw a picture and then cut the amount of puzzle pieces corresponding to the amount of phonemes in the word. The word ‘monster’ will need 6 pieces. Once the pieces are cut write the graphemes on the individual pieces. Muddle up and get your child to complete the puzzle. Identifying the graphemes they need to find next and reading the word once complete.
To make this activity even better your child could draw the pictures for the puzzles first. Older children could write a sentence for the word in each puzzle afterwards.
For younger children you could just focus on CVC words appropriate to the phase they are working on. For pre-school children you could do a puzzle for their name so that they can start to identify the letters and order of the letters they need. My son drew a picture of himself for the puzzle first.
A super easy activity to set up that not only prompts the phonics skills of segmenting and blending but develops scissor control too!
You don’t need a whole range of resources either just paper, pen and some child friendly scissors. Using squares of paper you will need a strip for each phoneme (sound) in the word, so for example ‘shell’ will need 3 strips and ‘brush’ will need 4 strips. I highlighted with a dotted line the place that needs to be cut and wrote the grapheme on each. Your child cuts along the dotted lines until they get to the solid line. Once they’ve cut the strips fold them all over so you can’t see the letters on each strip. As the say the sounds in the word they fold up one of the strips until all strips are unfolded and they say the complete blended word.
The activity can easily be adapted for whatever phase your child is working on by choosing the appropriate words and number of strips to cut. For extra fun they can draw the pictures too.
Easy to make all you need is paper and a stapler. A great way to support the reading of rhyming words and word families. Older children could flip the book and write a sentence for each of the words. If you can write the base word (first word) on to card as it makes it more stable to flip.
High frequency words are words that occur most commonly in books that your child might bring home from School or stories that you read together. The words are a mixture of decodable words (you can sound them out) and tricky words that need to be learnt by sight. Learning and recognising the high frequency words, alongside developing their phonic knowledge, will build your child’s confidence when reading as they will be able to identify a lot of words from the text already.
In order to support your child’s recognition of these words you could make a ‘High Frequency Tree’. I just collected a small branch that I found whilst on a walk. I put some of the high frequency words on some leaves and attached them to the tree. You can then display this somewhere around the house and encourage your child to read the leaves. Once they can confidently read a word and consistently recognises it in books you take the leaf off the tree. This will act as real motivation seeing the leaves coming off the tree. Replace the leaves with new words and repeat.
You could just focus on tricky words instead or just have graphemes from the phase your child is working on.
We go through a fair few packs of baby wipes in our house and I was looking at them the other day and thought they would make a great bag to hold grapheme cards.
For this game you need to cut up small pieces of card and write onto them all the graphemes learnt in the phase your child is working in. On a separate piece of paper write some words with some of the graphemes that are in the bag. Your child can now shake the baby wipe bag to select a card inside. They look to see if they need it on their sheet. If they do they cover over the grapheme on the sheet with the card. Once they’ve collected all the cards they can shout BINGO. Write some different words on a sheet and they can play again.
For children working in Phase 2 they could play with just the single letters or you can write simple CVC words and highlight the letter they are looking for in a different colour.
You could create a bag for all of the phonemes/graphemes taught in Phase 2, 3 and 5 and now you’ve got a handy bag of grapheme cards and it only takes a couple of minutes to write words on a sheet for your child to play bingo again. Easy win.
I was thinking about what resources I could try and replicate at home that our Early Years department has at School. We are lucky enough to have a large sensory light box. These are a really engaging resource and offer a whole host of ways to use them and support learning across the curriculum.
You can make your own version by putting some battery operated fairy lights inside a plastic box. You can then draw or write directly on the top with chunky felt tip or white board pen. If you have magnetic letters or small wooden letters these are great on top too. You can also write on a punched pocket with marker pen and stick it on the inside of the lid. Write letters/words or draw patterns that your child can trace. You could also draw a phoneme frame. You say a word and your child writes the correct graphemes in the correct box. If you want more of an explanation on how to use a phoneme frame then type it into the search bar at the top of the page and it will bring up a couple of activities where I have used them.
Just a fun and engaging way to encourage your child to write letters and words 👍🏻
I realised they a perfect thing to write graphemes on. They are really inexpensive to buy, there are lots of them in a pack, the don’t rip easily and they come in a handy bag!
I wrote the graphemes for both Phase 2 and 3 on them and still had loads left over. If you want to write the graphemes for Phase 5 you could write the split digraphs by cutting one pad almost in half.
You can then use them to prompt recognition and build words. A super resource to have in the cupboard 👍🏻
I was trying to think of a way to make reading word cards and sorting them more fun and engaging. Then I thought why not make a Harry Potter Sorting Hat! Every time it is worn the wearer knows that some sorting will need to be done!
To buy a Sorting Hat it seems you have to fork out £20-£30 so I decided to attempt to make one instead. I have to be honest this wasn’t a five minute job but it wasn’t difficult either. You just need some time to let the paint dry. All I used to make the hat was a circle of cardboard, a cone of brown paper, masking tape, white sheets of paper and brown paint (I didnt even have this so had to mix yellow and purple poster paint). See the photos to see what it looked like before I painted it.
Even though this might not be a quick one to put together once the hat is made you will be able to keep it to support learning across all the phases. It can be a fantastic resource not only to develop phonic knowledge but within other areas of the curriculum too (sorting odd and even numbers, multiples etc).
Your child puts on the hat and sorts the cards. The cards can be adapted for whichever phase your child is working in. Here are a few ideas:
1. Sort picture cards according to their initial sounds (like my son in the photo)
2. Sort letters from numbers
3. Sort rhyming words
4.. Sort words according to the grapheme they have in them for example graphemes that children often mix like ‘ar’, ‘or’ and ‘ur’.
5. Sort real and non words
6. Sort words that are split digraph and words that are not. This is a good one to do if your child is working at recognising split digraphs and still attempting to ‘sound out’ the whole word including the ‘e’ at the end. I would not put sound buttons on these cards and children have to spot that it’s a split digraph because it has the ‘e’ at the end.
7. Sort past and present tense
To ‘read and write numbers 1-20 in numerals and words’ is one of the Band 1 (Year 1) curriculum statements for Maths. I try where possible to fit the reading and writing of these words into phonics sessions too as some are easily decodable (three, six, seven, ten), are a Phase 4 tricky word (one), are split digraphs (five, nine) and some will become decodable once they are within Phase 5 and learning the alternatives (for example eight and four). Children will need repeated exposure to these words throughout Year 1.
As it’s forecast to be sunny over the next few days (in the UK at least) I thought a good way of reinforcing the reading of numbers in words would be to create your own sundial. All you need is a paper plate, a pencil and I stuck the pencil in a blob of play dough underneath in order to keep it standing. You can write the words onto cards for your child to place in the correct position around the clock or you could chalk the words around the outside.
I think children will be fascinated with reading the time as the sun moves and therefore motivated to read the words.
Keep the sundial out and you could take away some of the cards (or rub out the chalk) over the course of the next few days and your child can write in the missing word. This can then be adapted for phase, for example take away six, three, seven and ten for children working in Phase 3 and nine and five if your child is learning split digraphs.
I wanted to try and make something similar to support children who are working at a higher level and can now segment, blend and write words and so the ‘Phonics Tablet’ was born.
It’s not restricted to those children who are reading and writing words as you can see from the pictures. My son was so engaged and motivated to say the phonemes, press the ‘buttons’, mark make and attempt to form the letters on the screen just because it was in the shape of an Ipad!
It is really easy to make. All you need is a rectangle of cardboard, a few bits of plain paper, pen and some sellotape. I cut out a screen shape and made a keyboard with all the graphemes from Phase 2 and 3. Adapt this for the phase your child is working in. You can have fewer buttons so that your child has fewer options to spell the word. I then coloured around the edge with black marker pen and covered the whole thing in sellotape. This now can be used as a wipeable whiteboard. You could just laminate a printed A4 sheet with a kepboard at the bottom but I know lots of you won’t have a laminator at home and there is something about it being made of cardboard that makes it more realistic. It is also a lot more stable than a laminated sheet.
You say a word or show a picture. Your child segments the word and presses the corresponding buttons on the keyboard. They can then write the word, using whiteboard pen, onto the ‘screen’.
Hopefully this resource will be a super way to engage and motivate those reluctant writers and a great way to encourage the spelling of words.
I had a bit of brain wave this morning and thought why not write graphemes on the back of playing cards. I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of this before! They are the perfect size, come in a handy pack and there are 52 of them so you can fit all the graphemes from Phase 2 and 3 if you want.
If you have a spare set of cards, that you don’t mind writing on, then this is a simple game to set up. I made a card holder by folding a piece of card into a triangle and taping the ends. I also weighed it down with a couple of stones at either end; this is so it doesn’t topple over when you slot the cards in. I then adapted a dice so that it only had the numbers 2, 3 and 4 to roll. Adapt the graphemes on the cards according to the phase your child is working in.
Your child rolls the dice to find a number. They then have to build a word with that many phonemes. Pick the corresponding grapheme cards and place them into the holder. Roll the dice again and repeat. They could record all the words they make on a separate sheet.
Alternatively, if they are struggling to build the words independently you could provide them with a sheet with two, three and four phoneme words. They roll the dice, make a word from the list with that number of phonemes and then cross it off. This can also be played as a team game too. Who will be the first to cross off all their words?
You can then turn the cards over and play it to support mathematical development. Roll the dice, pick that number of cards and your child adds the numbers on the card together.
A real gem of a resource. They just look so inviting and tactile. I absolutely love them! A perfect tool to aid with the spelling of words and they can be used in a variety of activities. I’ll definitely be slipping them into small world role play soon.
I ordered these clear gems with a flat back from Amazon. They were £7.99 for 100. A great investment as they will last and there is enough gems to write the graphemes from Phase 2, 3 and 5 so they will be reused and can be returned to as your child moves up the phases. I just wrote on them using black permanent marker. I know you can get glass pens too. You could also write tricky words on them.
For this activity I cut up a plastic ice cube tray to create mini phoneme frames. I think the tray was from B&M and it was really easy just to cut with scissors. I then used the gems to build words into the trays. You could say a word and your child finds the corresponding gems to place into the tray or you could have pictures for your child to segment the word independently and then spell the word with the gems. They also look brilliant if you draw a phoneme frame onto a coloured piece of paper and build words into the frame.
A fantastic tool to help support a variety of skills and knowledge across all the phases as long as you don’t mind a little noise. Not one to do if you are after a bit of peace and quiet or have a headache! I bought these from Tescos. There are 12 in a pack and I can’t quite remember but I think they were around £1.50.
I’ve shown in the photos how they can support learning across each of the phases.
Phase 1: using the party blower to show the amount of syllables in a word. I drew some pictures of fruit that had a different number of syllables and your child could pick a picture and blow the amount of times for the number of syllables.
Identifying phonemes: blow the party blower for the number of phonemes in a word, for example 3 times for ‘sock’.
Phase 2: have a grapheme under each of the party blowers. You say a phoneme and they find the corresponding grapheme and blow from that party blower. You could also build up to saying a simple CVC word and then your child finds the corresponding party blower to spell that word.
Phase 3: as the Phase 2 game but use digraphs and trigraphs from Phase 3 and spell out the word.
I wanted to make a simple board game that would not only support my son’s mathematical skills but also a chance for him to identify initial sounds. Playing board games are a fantastic way to develop turn taking and the skill of counting along spaces too.
I made this using a piece of cardboard and drew on the board and pictures with marker pen. For the pictures I focused on simple CVC words so that my son could identify the initial sounds but we can return to the game when he is building words in Phase 2. Adapt the pictures on the board depending on the phase your child is working at.I also sellotaped completely over two pieces of card in the middle of the board. One is a space to find the letter or build the word and the other acts as a mini whiteboard to write the letter or word. You will also need a couple of counters (I used some pebbles), a dice and something to act as a coin (I used a milk bottle top). On the coin you will need a picture on one side that represents ‘make it’ and on the other needs to be something that represents ‘write it’ (I had some building blocks and a pen).
How to play:Take it in turns to role the dice and move that number of spaces. Your child identifies the picture and then flips the coin to decide whether they have to build the word or write it. For my son he had to identify the initial sound and then either find the letter or write it on the mini whiteboard. The winner is the one that gets to the finish line first. Tip – put the dice into a small Tupperware box so that it doesn’t keep rolling off the table and getting lost.
Tip – put the dice into a small Tupperware box so that it doesn’t keep rolling off the table and getting lost.
We are away over the Bank Holiday weekend and I was inspired by a nature journal made by @findthelittlemind to create a phonics busy book to take with us. A perfect little book with brilliant pockets and flaps to store items, clip things and generally keep your child busyTo make the book all you need is a few paper lunch bags. I cut off the handles of three bags, top and tailed them, folded them in half and then stapled down the edge. I gave it a front cover and added a few stickers for decoration and some stickers with letters on the back. For older children you could arrange and use these like a Phonics Phone. I also sellotaped two pieces of white paper to one of the pages (completely tape over the paper) to act as mini whiteboards and a couple of silicone strips for word building using some letter tiles. I clipped on a few pegs and paper clips so that my son could clip any small items that he finds too. The paper clips also keep the pockets closed.Inside the pockets that are now created I put in a couple of letter wands, a letter fan that I made using some gift tags and ribbon, some flash cards, small bits of coloured paper and some small colouring pencils, a paintbrush which could be used to ‘write’ in the sand or searching for fossils, and some small sandwich bags to encourage collecting. All of these items fit perfectly inside the book. We’ll take the whiteboard pen and magnifying glass separately. A super cute little book Adapt what you put in to suit your child or leave the pockets empty and let your child choose what goes in.
A super simple resource to make that can be easily adapted depending on phase and will support children in building words and segmenting and blending them. All you need are some envelopes and a selection of grapheme cards appropriate to the phase your child is working in. I drew some pictures of objects on the outside of the envelope that the word can be made with the grapheme cards. I also put three circle stickers on the flap too. These can act as sound buttons for when your child has made a word. Place all the cards inside the envelope and they can now be easily kept together, stored and the activity can be returned to again. Your child takes out the cards from the envelope, chooses a picture, segments the word and find the corresponding cards to build the word. They place the cards above the sound buttons on the flap and can press each button to say the sound, blend the sounds together and check whether they have made the word correctly. The sounds are taught in a certain order within Letters and Sounds because as soon as your child has learnt Set 1 within Phase 2 (s, a, t, p) they are able to start blending the sounds together to form words (at, sat, tap, pat).
Really quick and inexpensive to set up. Turn an egg box upside down and make a slit in each of the little mounds. Using a few lollipop sticks with letters on your child can now build simple CVC words into the box.If they build a word and then you change one phoneme each time to create a new word, for example ‘pot’ to ‘pet’ to ‘pat’, it is a great way to support those children who miss out or change phonemes in words when blending and segmenting and really encourage them to listen to all the sounds. Excellent to build fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination too
A nice way to engage all those dinosaur fans with their reading and also provides a chance to practise reading real and non words.
All I used to make this activity was some old cardboard, scissors, stickers and Sellotape so hopefully easy to replicate at home. I drew a stegasaurus outline onto one piece of cardboard, cut out the three plates (have more plates if your child is working at reading words with adjacent consonants in Phase 4) and then stuck the picture down onto another piece of card so it now looks a bit like a puzzle with missing peices. I then cut out several individual plates and wrote some Phase 2 graphemes on one side and put a sticker onto the other according to whether the letter was a vowel or a consonant. These are like the puzzle peices. I also stuck the same coloured stickers into the cut out plates on the stegasaurus (red in the first space for a consonant, yellow in the middle for a vowel and a red in the final space for another consonant). The plates on the Stegasaurus now act as a phoneme frame. Place the individual plates with the stickers showing around the outside of the picture. Your child chooses a consonant, vowel and a consonant to build a word onto the stegasaurus. They read the word and then write it onto the mini whiteboards according to whether they are a real word or a non-word. Again I used cardboard for this and taped completely over the pieces with Sellotape so they can be written on with whiteboard pen. Replace the plates, choose three more and repeat. Alternatively have the letters facing upwards and you say a word and your child builds the word into the Stegasaurus plates. Great for children who are not yet confident in reading non-words.
Using a bit of old cardboard again! A nice little board to make to encourage tricky word or grapheme recognition. Really great as the words or letters are displayed on the board for repeated exposure and it is a nice way for you to assess what words your child might be struggling with.Using a strip of cardboard I placed 7 small sheets of coloured paper in the order of the colours of the rainbow (if you haven’t got coloured paper you could just use white paper and give each box a coloured border). I then sellotaped completed over the board so it now becomes a mini whiteboard. You now write tricky words or graphemes (letters or combinations of letters) in the red box using a whiteboard pen. These are your focus words/letters.
As your child spots them in the environment around them or within reading books and recognises them you move the word or letter along the rainbow board and write it on the next coloured sheet. Continue to refer to the board, moving the word or letter along the board until they reach the violet box. By this stage they, and you, can be confident that they have secured the recognition and learnt the word or grapheme. They could get a little sticker or stamp each time a word or letter gets to the violet box.
A great way to link phonics with a book and get children to use their developing phonics skills in context. Sometimes children are excellent at decoding words during phonics games but then struggle to put it into practise when reading a book. This activity aims to bridge that gap and provide an opportunity to apply their decoding skills whilst reading a story.
I made the flags from a bit of old cardboard and clothes peg. I taped completely over the flag with Sellotape so that the letter or word can be wiped away and changed when reading a different book (laminate or use sticky back plastic if you have it). Select some letters, decodable words or tricky words from the book depending on your focus and the phase your child is working. Read through the book together first for pleasure and then on the second reading get your child to find the words or letters within the book and peg the flag onto the corresponding page. They could then have a go at re-reading the sentence that includes that word.
In my phonics lessons I always get the children to count the number of phonemes (sounds) in a word using their fingers before we attempt to write it. We use our ‘phonics fingers’. The word ‘hand’, for example, has 4 phonemes so we would have 4 fingers up (h/a/n/d).
This activity is just a fun variation of using our own ‘phonics fingers’. Segment the word, count the phonemes and place the correct number of pegs on the card. They can then write the word on the card. A great way to develop fine motor control too 👍🏻
Perfect for children working in Phase 4 who really need to practise blending and segmenting words. Also good practise for segmenting polysyllablic words. These are longer words that have more than one syllable (lightning, moonlight, sailing). In the Year 1 screening test there are often quite a few polysyllablic words in there.
Adapt for age and phase by having different pictures on the card. Children in Phase 2 can segment CVC words and write the word.
This activity is perfect for children working in Phase 4 where they have to really practise segmenting and blending words with adjacent consonants. These are two consonants next to each other that make two separate sounds. This phase is vital for children to really become skilled at segmenting words correctly in order to not miss out any letters when they are trying to write the word. Quite often we might see children writing the word ‘went’ as ‘wet’ or the words ‘frog’ as ‘fog’ because they have missed out the adjacent consonants. There are two adjacent consonants that are particularly tricky these are ‘st’ and ‘tr’. Children can sometimes write ‘chee’ for ‘tree’ and ‘sdair’ as ‘stair’.
All you need to make these is some card/paper and some split pins. Whenever I’m doing a phase 4 activity I always have words with both adjacent consonants and Phase 3 graphemes so that we are constantly recapping previously learnt knowledge. These can be adapted for age and phase depending on the words you use. Children in Phase 5 could have the words blue, play, treat etc.
Alternatively younger children could just have CVC words to sort out and if your child mixes b and d then you could create one for the word ‘bed’ in order to help them recognise the letters.
I made these peg board using an old cork board from a tap art game, push pins, elastic bands and small word cards. If you haven’t got any cork board perhaps you might have a noticeboard or old chopping board that you could use. Adapt the word cards to target the phase your child is working at. I made an example of a Phase 2/early Phase 3 board, a Phase 3/4 board and a Phase 5 board. The Phase 5 board will encourage the recognition of different graphemes (letters) making the same sound, for example stew and blue.
If you are willing to spare a few bricks then I used permanent marker but you could use stickers or taped on bits of paper instead. The game with the duplo blocks is called ‘Full Circle’ as you start with a word and change just one letter each time and then get back to the original word. Have fun!
These are a great resource to help sort the phonemes your child hears and also aid in their independent writing of words.
You draw different sized phonemes frames depending on the length of the word you want to write. Each grapheme is written in a separate box within the frame. For a word that has three phonemes like the word ‘pin’ you would use a three boxed frame. The word ‘sheep’ would also need a three boxed frame. If you look right to the very bottom of the page I posted a little explanation of phoneme frames, as well a sound buttons, if you want to take a look 👇🏻
I had a couple of spare picture frames in the cupboard so I drew some phoneme frames on the back of the display bit of paper, which helpfully tends to be white. You then place the sheet back inside the picture frame and your child can now write words on the glass/plastic using whiteboard marker or just a chunky felt tip. You say a word and they write all the graphemes they need into the phoneme frame. Rub off with kitchen roll or a baby wipe and repeat! You’ve now got a permanent phoneme frame and you don’t have to draw one by hand and rub or throw away.
These were really easy to make and set up. In fact I would say probably one of the easiest out of all the activities I’ve posted. All you need in paper, pen, scissors and some envelopes. The activity requires your child to read the clues and slide paper to either reveal the answer or make the answer. I’ve pictured two different ways that you can do this.
1. I sealed an envelope and cut down the left hand side. Insert a piece of paper slightly wider than the envelope so you have a handle to pull. On the front of the envelope write some clues to the word inside. On the paper inside I wrote the word into a phoneme frame so as your child pulls the paper to reveal the answer they segment the word correctly. Easily adapted for phase. I’ve showed an example for each phase including those working in Phase 1 where they can listen for the initial sound in all the pictures.
2. Using strips of paper your child slides the paper through the frame to make the word. I’ve used split digraph words here. Your child reads the clue, decides the answer and then makes the word by sliding the strips up and down. You can adapt the frame for whatever phase your child is working. The last picture I’ve posted shows where you needs to make cuts along the frame so that you can insert the paper strips.
Phonics ‘Magic 8 Ball’
As I was cooking the dinner last night I was eyeing up this jar and then thought I could turn it into a ‘Magic 8 Ball’ .
I filled it with water and a small drop of red and blue food colouring (I was trying to make the water as dark as possible). I also added a little bit of glitter too. Using a wooden pyramid block I wrote some tricky words on each side and put it in the jar. You could just as easily use a Duplo block or some Lego pieces, just anything that floats. Screw the lid up as tight as possible and turn the jar upside down. I then coloured most of the bottom in with black marker pen leaving a viewing window.
Your child can now shake the jar and read the word that is revealed through the window. Perfect for tricky words but you could have initial letters or graphemes that you are focusing on. Just change the object inside when you want to focus on different tricky words or graphemes.
Caution – obviously it’s a glass jar so this activity does need to have some supervision. A plastic jar would be great (I’m thinking some peanut butter or chocolate spread jars) but we haven’t got any of those in the cupboard at the moment.
The yes/no question game is quite commonly used as part of the practice part of a phonics lesson. The game involves the adult showing a question. The children will read it and then respond with the answer by indicating yes or no. This could be by showing a card, writing yes or no on a whiteboard or putting thumbs up or down. I was trying to think of a way to make the game a little more fun and engaging so I made some pop up thumbs.
Take a look at the last two photos to see how the thumbs are made but it is quite simple. You draw a thumbs up and down outline (I drew around my fist) and then attach it to a long strip. Thread the strip through a small hole in the front of a folded bit of card and then seal around the edges of the card except for the bit at the top where the hand is. When your child pulls the tab the thumbs will pop up.
Write some questions on separate bits of paper. The questions in the photos are for Phase 3. Your child can now read the questions and respond by pulling the appropriate tab. Some examples of questions you might write for phase 3 and above are:
Is rain wet?
Can a boat sail?
Can a coach zoom in the air?
Can a clock get cross?
Can a frog swim in a pond?
Can letters have stamps stuck in them?
Can trains run on tracks?
Could you carry an elephant on your head?
Would you crawl in a thorn bush?
Can magpies perch on a cloud in the sky?
Could you fly to Mars on a bike?
This activity is specifically designed for children who are working in Phase 5 and learning the alternate graphemes for the same phoneme (different ways to spell the same sound). Year 1 children will learn these alternates throughout the year.
I divided a paper plate into 8 sections and wrote the graphemes for some of the Phase 3 phonemes within each section. I then wrote the alternate ways to spell that phoneme onto a peg, put a tick on the other side, and placed them all in a bag. The paper plate and pegs will need to be altered depending on what alternates your child has covered. Your child’s job is to pick a peg and peg it on to the paper plate next to the alternate graphemes. You could just start with one alternate in the bag and build up the pegs over time.
Once they have sorted all the pegs they can then use them to indicate their best bet decisions. I wrote a word on a piece of paper with three ways to spell it, only one of them correct. Your child uses their phonic knowledge (for example ‘ay’ is found at the end of the word not ‘ai) and chooses the correct peg from the wheel. They peg it next to the correctly spelt word showing the tick.
A great activity to exercise fine motor muscles too 👍🏻
We have all seen Alphabet spaghetti or glued dried pasta down to form letter shapes but how about writing graphemes directly onto the pasta? Use the pasta to spell and build words and it acts as a great alternative to pencil and paper.
Writing on the pasta with marker pen yourself means that you can adapt the pasta for the phase you are focusing on and you can build up a pot of pasta as your child goes through the phases and your child can return to the activity over and over again. A super cheap way to build a bank of graphemes!
If you thread the penne pasta onto spaghetti it also means that you are developing fine motor skills too whilst building words! 👍🏻I put a mark at one end of the spaghetti so that my son knew which end to start threading and means that the word is not back to front once it is built. They could thread the pasta onto straws, chopsticks or string instead.
You could also write the letters in your child’s name and they thread the pasta in the correct order and therefore prompt name recognition.
Another really easy activity to set up at home. All you need is a few plastic cups. Ideally plain disposable paper or plastic cups but any plastic cups that you don’t mind writing on. These ones were from a set from IKEA.
Stack the cups together and write a selection of graphemes onto the side of the cups with marker pen. You could use stickers or small bits of masking tape instead of directly writing on the cups. The first cup for the initial phoneme, middle cup for the middle phoneme and the final cup for the final phoneme. Adapt the graphemes that you write on the cups according to phase and also alter the amount of cups you use. You could have 4 cups for children working in Phase 4 and reading words with adjacent consonants.
You say a word and your child twists the cups around in order to place the correct graphemes next to each other and build the word. So if you say ‘boot’ your child will turn the first cup to find a ‘b’ facing towards them, the middle cup to find an ‘oo’ and the final cup to find a ‘t’.
You could leave your child to build words independently and record all the real words they find onto a sheet. How many real words can they make?
The cups in the photo are suitable for a child working in Phase 3 and I wrote these graphemes:
Initial: p, ch, b, d, r, h, m, t, sh
Middle: oo, or, ar, ur, ow, oi, ai, ee, igh, oa,
Final: t, k, ch, l, n, p, d,
Myself and my son have spent some of this rainy afternoon sorting out our jigsaw puzzles on a table away from the destructive hands (and mouth) of my one year old! Out of 7 puzzles there is only one with a piece missing! It’s a damn miracle!
So I thought if you have any puzzles with missing or broken pieces turn them over and create your own phonics jigsaw. I wrote words that include the Phase 5 ‘aw’ as an alternative to the Phase 3 ‘or’. Adapt the graphemes that you write for Phase or they could build tricky words instead. I also put different colour sound buttons underneath each word so that it is easy to see which pieces are for which word. Your child puts the pieces together and then segments and blends the word. Phonics practice ✔️
A useful tool to help demonstrate the concept of a split digraph. Attach the graphemes for a split digraph onto trouser hangers. You can then show that even though the digraph has been split, and a consonant can go in the middle, it is still attached together and making the same phoneme.
Have a selection of other consonant grapheme cards and you say a word and your child selects the correct split digraph hanger and grapheme cards to spell the word. I used the cards from the ‘Playing Card Phonics’ activity I posted a while ago.
You could leave your child to independently build words using the hangers and cards and record all the split digraph words they have made on a piece of paper.
This activity is a bit of a mix between ‘Read and Seek’ and a ‘Phonics Viewfinder’ (search these titles in the search bar at the top of the page to find out more). A great way to not only encourage your child to apply their phonic knowledge but also develop their vocabulary and support their understanding of colours, adjectives and materials and just a different take on a scavenger hunt.
I made the polaroid picture by drawing the outline onto paper and then used sellotape to tape it to cardboard. I also taped a small corner of a punched pocket at the bottom of the frame where cards can be inserted.
Write some descriptive words and names of materials onto the small cards. Adapt these for the phase your child is working in. Your child selects a card and puts it into the pocket and then finds something to match that word. Children working in Phase 1 you can ‘sound out’ the words and they hunt for a matching object.
You could just have lots of paper outlines with word on instead of making the cardboard frame. However, using cardboard does mean that you can reuse the polaroid and revisit the activity at a later date. If you do tape the paper to cardboard it can now act as a mini whiteboard so you could write a word each time with whiteboard pen instead of having the cards.
I just wanted to share another cheap, easy and useful resource. Lots of us will use magnets on the fridge or radiator to encourage children to identify letters, read and build words but your child has to be in a specific place to do this. Also my fridge door is annoyingly not magnetic as it’s built into a cupboard! Instead use a baking tray as a mini magnetic board. It’s now handheld and portable.
I also bought these magnets from Amazon at £1.68 for 10 (strange price). I’ll put a link in the comments. I bought two packs and wrote a selection of Phase 2 and 3 graphemes on them with permanent marker. A cheaper alternative to buying specific magnets with all the digraphs and trigraphs. The pack does come with two black magnets which I didn’t use as you can’t see the pen. Just adapt what you write on the magnets according to the phase your child is working in.
You can then use it to encourage letter recognition, like with my son, or play a ‘full circle’ game by getting your child to build a word and then change just one grapheme at a time to make a new word.
The ‘Phonics Stargazing’ activity I posted a couple of days ago got me thinking…why not write graphemes or tricky words onto glow in the dark stars that you can get to stick on the ceiling? I got a small pack of stars from our local toy shop for £1.99. You might find them cheaper online somewhere. I wrote the graphemes on them with permanent marker and stuck the stars to the wall and ceiling. That’s it! They work an absolute treat and tick a lot of boxes!
Fun and engaging
Quick and easy to set up
Just a quick idea, hack you might call it, write graphemes on the shapes within the ‘Tap Tap Art’ game. Your child can then spell words by selecting the correct grapheme and hammering it into the cork board. You can also use the pictures that come with the game as a prompt for spelling words too.The shapes are coloured both sides so you are not ruining them by writing on them and they can still be used to create pictures by turning them over.If you draw a quick alien picture your child could build alien words too and indicate that it’s a non word by putting the alien above the word.I got this ‘Tap Tap Art’ game for £1 at a Car Boot last year and bought it because it’s so fab for developing fine motor skills too
A really nice resource to make if you have some spare cardboard lying around and a few clothes pegs. A great activity to encourage the building of CVC words and develop fine motor control. A useful resource as once you’ve made the peg letters you can keep them to support word building across the phases and just change the central board.Write the vowel or vowel digraph (or trigraph) in the circles on the central board and then stick some circles with a selection of consonants and consonant digraphs on the pegs. I used a hot glue gun for this but you could just tape them or use a sticky strip. You’ll need to make some consonants to peg on the left side for the initial sound and some to peg on the right side for the final sound.You say a word and your child needs to find the corresponding pegs and match it to corresponding grapheme on the board, for example you say ‘peg’ and they find the initial ‘p’ and peg it next to the ‘e’ on the board and then find the final ‘g’. Once the word has been built they can press the circles like sound buttons and segment and blend the word.You could then leave your child to explore and build words independently. They could record all of the real words they manage to make.
A bit of a phonics brain teaser! A great, perhaps challenging, game that prompts grapheme or tricky word recognition and really gets your child to look carefully.It might look a bit complicated to set up but in actual fact it is pretty simple. Draw a grid onto an A4 sheet (each of my rectangles were 7x6cm) and then write a selection of graphemes into each of the corners of the rectangles so you end up with them all containing a different combination of letters. Copy this onto another A4 sheet but this one you cut the rectangles out in order to make the cards. I also cut a small viewfinder out of cardboard. This is a good little tool as it focuses your child on one rectangle at a time.Your child picks a card from the pile and moves the viewfinder around the grid until they find the matching rectangle. They will need to look really carefully as the graphemes need to match exactly, for example the ‘s’ in the top right corner, the ‘a’ in the bottom left etc. You could create a board with digraphs and trigraphs or tricky words instead depending on what phase your child is working in and what you want the focus to be.
A simple activity to encourage the building and reading of words and give exposure to rhyming too.A cut a small window out of strips of cardboard and then wrote on some word families. Adapt what you write depending on the phase your child is working. ‘ot’ and ‘at’ would be ideal for Phase 2, ‘ight’ and ‘oat’ Phase 3 and ‘ake’ and ‘ay’ for Phase 5.Your child now looks through books and magazines or finds letters in the environment to show through the window on the card and form a word. Older children could record all the words they make. They could also record the real and non words too. For children learning to recognise their name you could have a card with the capital missing at the beginning and they search through books or around the environment to find the letter. Lots of book titles are in capitals so this is useful. So, for example, my son was searching for a capital ‘T’. A great way to discuss that it is only the beginning of their name that needs a capital.
No new graphemes are introduce within Phase 4. Children really hone their skill of listening to phonemes in words and practise segmenting and blending words that contain adjacent consonants. These are words that have either two or more consonants next to each other (making separate sounds) at the beginning or the end of the word. Children can sometimes miss a consonant from a word when blending or writing. The word ‘frog’ becomes ‘fog’ or the word ‘went’ becomes ‘wet’. Lots of practise reading and writing these types of words is needed to combat this.This is a simple tool that can easily be made to help with the reading of these Phase 4 words. I sealed an envelope, cut down a side (left for adding a consonant to the beginning and right for adding one to the end) and then inserted a strip of paper with enough sticking out to write on a letter. You then write a simple CVC word across the paper and envelope. Now pull the inserted paper out a little and add a consonant to create a new word.Your child can now practise reading the simple CVC word and then pull the paper to create a new word with an adjacent consonant. A super quick and inexpensive resource to make Example words that you could use are:
I bought this brilliant trolley tray from Hobbycraft for £2. It’s ideal to support phonic knowledge as there is one large section and three separate smaller sections that can act as a phoneme frame.Phoneme Frames are widely used within phonics lessons as they are a great way to support children in segmenting for spelling and writing. The first phoneme goes in the first box, the middle phoneme in the middle and the final phoneme in the final box. Children find or write the corresponding letters into the correct boxes.You could use the tray in a variety of ways. I made a Halloween themed one with spiders. You say a word and children search through the web to find the letters and place them in the corresponding boxes of the phoneme frame.It’s also a nice resource to have as part of a ‘Say it, Make it, Write it’ activity. Children pick an object or picture card, segments the word and finds the corresponding letters to make the word in the phoneme frame. They can then use the larger section as a sensory writing tray. Put salt, flour, glitter or paint in the tray for your child to write the word in with their finger. I’ll definitely be using the tray lots more in the future.
A perfect little adaptable tool to help children apply their phonic knowledge and decode words or identify letter sounds. The slider took less that 5 minutes to make and all you need is a toilet roll tube, a strip of cardboard, pen and scissors. I flattened the tube, drew a window on it and then cut it out. Slide a strip of cardboard through the centre of the flattened tube. Now write a word or letter into the window, slide the window up the strip and write another. Continue until you have written words/letters all the way up the strip of cardboard.
Your child now slides the window up and down the strip to read and find the correct answer to a question or clue. You could give them a question/clue sheet to read. They could also write the answers once they find them. The sheet and slider in the first photo would be suitable for a child working in Phase 4. Adapt the slider to suit the phase your child is working. You could also verbally give a clue or question to your child, for example, using the slider with the simple CVC words you could say ‘what animal can bark?’ and they slide and find the word ‘dog’.
Children working on initial sounds could take an object from a bag, or you say a word, they identify the initial sound and then slide and find the corresponding letter.
A really easy but effective resource to make to help support children develop their blending skills. In order to be confident in ‘blending’ children need to be able to identify the sounds the graphemes make and then merge all the sounds together to make the word.
All you need is some cardboard, scissors, Sellotape, a toilet roll tube and a marker pen (both permanent and whiteboard). I cut a strip of cardboard and a star to put on the end to make it look like a wand. I then flattened a toilet roll tube and cut it into three equal pieces. Create more pieces if you are looking to support children in Phase 4 blending words with adjacent consonants. Now put Sellotape completely over the tube pieces so they become mini whiteboards and you can write graphemes on them with whiteboard pen. Thread these onto the cardboard strip. I also made some picture cards.
Write some graphemes (letters) on the tube pieces to spell a word and then place them onto the wand spaced fairly far apart. Your child says the sounds and then begins to move the letters closer together. They keep saying the sounds until all the pieces are placed next to each other and the sounds can be merged to form the word. Your child then selects the corresponding picture. Having picture cards is also a good way to support blending as it avoids your child blending the sounds and then randomly saying a word, for example /d/o/g/ makes ‘house’!
You can now rub out the writing and your child can practise blending another word.
Images © Phonics Family 2020