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WHAT THE BEST TEACHERS KNOW ABOUT LETTERS AND SOUNDS

Updated: Aug 5

Just 10 little tips can help you to teach letters and sounds!


In schools, the 42 main sounds are taught during phonics lessons - not just the 26 letters of the alphabet! Not sure where to start? It's a good idea to listen to the correct pronunciation of each sound, as this will ultimately help your child to learn to read and spell!


Letter and Sound Learning Tips:

  1. Initially, it's best to introduce the letter sounds rather than placing too much focus on their names. This makes blending to read simple 2 or 3 letter words far easier. As children progress, they'll start to learn that some sounds can contain 2 or more letters, for example, ‘ch’ or ‘ai’. They will then need to learn the letter names.

  2. Make sure that the sounds (phonemes) are pronounced correctly by children and adults! Sometimes people add /uh/ on the end of a sound (for example, /m/ becomes muh). If you're a parent or guardian, check with your child’s teacher if you're unsure how to pronounce the letter sounds. There are also clips online demonstrating the correct pronunciation.

  3. Introduce new sounds alongside objects and pictures which begin with that sound. Also, encourage children to listen out for the sound in the middle or at the end of words.

  4. Ask children to look in a mirror whilst saying the sounds, so that they can focus on the shape that their mouth should be making.

  5. It is more important to learn lower case letters first rather than capitals. This is because most early books consist mainly of lower-case letters! You can introduce the capital letters at the same time but focus more on the lower-case letter.

  6. When you do start to teach capitals, ensure that children realise that capital letters make the same sounds as their lower-case version! It's a common misconception that the capital letter is the ‘name’ and the lower-case letter is the ‘sound’!

  7. Letter names can be taught using the alphabet song. Point to an alphabet display as you sing.

  8. Always demonstrate how to correctly form each letter. If you're a parent/guardian, ask your child’s school to give you a sheet showing how they teach children to form each letter. Different schools use different approaches to teach handwriting. Bad habits are very difficult to break!

  9. Teach phonics daily; little and often is key. Vary the activities and keep them fun!

  10. Make learning hands-on and engaging! There are tons of awesome phase 2 phonics and phase 3 phonics games and activities here.


Letter and Sound Recognition Activities:


Football Flick

finger football phonics activity

You Will Need

Polystyrene balls

Pen

Mini goal, e.g. from 'Finger Football', or a tub/small box


Instructions

Write a sound on each of the balls.

•Line the balls up ready for penalties!

•Flick the ball into the net, saying the sound.



Hole Punch

hole punch letters and sounds activity

You Will Need

Strips of paper/card

Pen

Mini hole punchers


Instructions

Write letters on the strips of paper.

Call out a letter (or children can pick one from a bag).

Children punch holes underneath that letter on their strips of paper.



Trucks and Rocks

trucks and rocks letters and sounds activity

You Will Need

Toy trucks

Rocks

Pen

Instructions

Write your focus sounds on rocks.

Children dig or scoop up the rocks and put them into their trucks.

Can they tell you the letter sounds?



Dig for Letters

digging in sand for letters

You Will Need

Sand

Magnetic letters

Spades, trowels, etc.


Instructions

Bury magnetic letters in the sand.

Children hunt for the letters and say the sounds as they collect them.

They can also make the imprint of letters in damp sand.



 

In addition to trying the amazing activities above, you can subscribe for JUST £10 per year and instantly download any of our wonderful phonics activities!








Check out my book for more amazing activities for teaching letter recognition and formation.


 

If you enjoyed these activities, make sure that you also check out these blog posts:


Learning to Count and Recognise Numbers

Fun with Phase 2 Phonics

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