Teaching Phonics


I am preparing a basic level book for phonics. We will be trying it out on the nursery kids of Fountainhead Global School. For each phonics sound the book will have a rhyme, a set of words with high resolution pictures, a story and a worksheet. This is based on the CCE pattern and includes formative and summative assessment activities. The nursery kids at the school are also getting a box of phonics games. They will play it in school as well as at home for extra practice.

Teaching any language should begin with oral communication activities followed by the teaching of phonics.  

Teaching through the phonics method helps children learn the sound letter association, learn to guess the pronunciation of unknown words, read better and spell better.

In English the 26 letters of the alphabet are associated with 44 sounds. Instead of making the children learn the name of the letters it will be better to teach them the sounds the letters are associated with.

Basic Consonants

The initial consonants are taught first, not in alphabetical order. For example, /b/ is taught first because there are many words such as 'a book', 'a box', etc. the children are familiar with. Using the known words the sound /b/ is introduced and it is said as 'ba' and not 'bi'. In the same way 'c' is introduced as /k/ and not as 'see'.

Once the individual sounds are introduced, children are asked to participate in categorization activities.








C-V-C Words

The vowels have different sounds in different contexts and they are introduced in words. For example,
after teaching the basic consonants /k/, /t/. /m/, etc. words such as 'a cat' and 'a mat' are introduced.
Here first the teacher writes on the blackboard 'c' and ask the children what it is. Then she writes 't' and ask them what it is - 'c   t'.Then she draws a cat on the bb and puts 'a' two times to get 'a cat' and tells the children 'a cat'.

Other Diagraphs

In the same way using known words other digraphs are introduced.

Flash Cards & Classroom Objects

Big flash cards and classroom objects are used to teach phonics. These cards and objects should have already been used in the oral communication class and the children are familiar with the names of objects and pictures.

For example, to teach /b/ (sounded as /ba/ and not /bi/) pictures such as 'a boy', 'a balloon', 'a ball' and classroom objects such as 'a box', 'a book', 'a bag', etc. are used. Each picture and object is held up for all the children to see.

Teacher asks 'What is it?' and if no body answers gives the answer herself as 'a boy'.

If children say 'boy' teacher insists that they say 'a boy'.

After showing all the pictures and objects and completing the interaction, teacher writes on the bb the letter 'b'. She writes the letter slowly talking to the children how to write the letter. She makes the children write the letter in air, with their fingers. Then she shows the pictures and objects again and repeats the interaction. This time she points out 'b..b...b..b..b' 'book' and 'b...b...b...b..b' 'box'.

The teacher can use a story book to talk about the pictures and draw the attention of the children to the 'b' words in the story.

In the next class teacher can teach 't' in the same way and have some activities where the children have to classify the pictures and tell whether they are 'b' words or 't' words.

Here is a book for teaching phonics with a rhyme and story for each sound.


Letter Names & The Corresponding Sounds

It is  not necessary to teach the sounds in the alphabetical order.Usually 'b' is taught first. 

b - /ba/ - the first sound of banana and the last sound of cab

t - /ta/ -  the first sound of tomato and the last sound of bat

h - /ha/ - the first sound of hundred 

c - /ka/ - the first sound of cat and the last sound of epic

m - /ma/ - the first sound of monkey and the last sound of gum

After this, if you like, you can begin the teaching of cvc words such as a cat, a mat, a bat, a hat. Or you can continue with the teaching of other consonants.

p - /pa/  - the first sound of puzzle and the last sound of tap

n - /na/ - the first sound of number and the last sound of pan

s - /sa/ - the first sound of Sunday and the last sound of hiss

d - /da/ - the first  sound of duster and the last sound of bed

g - /ga/ - the first sound of gun and the last sound of bag

r - /ra/ - the first sound of rush and the last sound of car

l - /la/ - the first sound of London and the last sound of ball

f - /fa/ - the first sound of fun and the last sound of hoof

w - /ua/ - (not va) the first sound of won 

y - /ya/ - the first sound of yummy and the last sound of buy

k - /ka/ - (called the kicking k to differentiate from /c/ - the last sound of cook

z - /za/ - the last sound of buzz

j - /ja/ - the first sound of jug and the last sound of Taj

v - /va/ - the first sound of vulture and the last sound of love

q - /qua/ - the first sound of queen and the last sound of antique

x - /ks/ - the first sound of xylophone and the last sound of box

The 5 vowels are taught in CVC - Consonant Vowel Consonant words.

'a' is taught in the CVC words - a bat, a cat, a rat, a mat

'e' is taught in the CVC words - a pen, ten, men, a hen

'i' is taught in the CVC words - a pin, a tin, a kid, a lid

'o' is taught in the CVC words - a pot, a cot, a dot, a rod

'u' is taught in the CVC words - a bun, a jug, mug, a bus

English has 26 letters and 44 sounds.



Here are some YouTube videos about teaching phonics. The approach is slightly different. But you can get the general idea.