Phonics for Children

The foundations of literacy begin with Phonics. Phonics helps children learn how to read and spell, by making associations between the sounds they know and the letters and words they are beginning to recognise.

Through alphabet-sound recognition, children are able to decode words they read, and spell them correctly. With a strong foundational understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds, children are able to improve their reading fluency.

Children who are phonologically delayed will have trouble reading, as they are unable to recognize the sounds of the alphabets in the words that they read. When children are able to make use of the rules of phonics to pronounce and read words correctly, they develop more confidence in themselves.


How does phonics help children read?

Phonics teaches children to read by linking the sounds they hear (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes, or letter groups). Through phonics, children are equipped with the skill of decoding visually unfamiliar words.

Phonics relies heavily on a reader’s phonemic awareness. The reader has to not only understand that words are made up of phonemes but also the number of phonemes in a familiar or unfamiliar word.

There are two basic categories in the sounds of English:

  • Consonants
    • 21 single consonant letters
    • Consonant diagraphs (e.g. sh, ch, wh, th, ck, kn, gh, ph, etc.)
    • Consonant blends (e.g., bl, fl, pl, scr, sn, sw, etc.)
  • Vowels
    • a, e, i, o, u and the letter y – sometimes a consonant and sometimes a vowel

Phonics Phases

How does your child learn phonics, from letter sounds, to full words? We explain the series of phases that your child will go through in their journey to master phonics.

How can I use phonics to help my child read better?

Building Phonemic Awareness

  • Read with your child and point at the words as you read them, get them to sound out short words letter by letter
  • Play rhyming word games, that will help boost their sound-recognition skills
  • Get your child to read aloud at any and every opportunity: posters, road signs, shop names, food labels, anything around the house that is written
  • Use flash cards to help them become more familiar with the alphabet and the sounds of the letters

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