8 Easy Phonics Activities

phonics for kidsPhonics is the fancy name for relationship between the written letter and the sound or sounds it represents. Pretty important for learning to read. English is not a common sense language but giving children a good base knowledge of letter sounds we can help them build strong foundations for decoding words while reading. Most of these activities are focused on the first consonant sound in the words ( called the onset) because that is the stage my children were/are at when I did the activities with them. Some like the Spin & Rhyme and Building Words with Magnets focus on other parts of the words as well. For more rhyming activities check out this list of 8 fun rhyming activities.

phonics activity for kids

Flip Top Phonics

letter sounds
Unlock The Letter Sound

phonics game for kids
Letter Sound Pound!

rhyming spin
Spin & Rhyme

letter sounds hands on activity
Letter Sound Matching

letter sounds
Outside Letter Sounds

letter sound matching game with princesses
Princess Phonics Game

word building with letter magnets
Building Words with Magnets

Phonics Game For Kids – Pound The Sound

letter sounds activity

 

This is a simple game that asks children to identify the initial sound of a toy animal then pound the letter that makes that sound on the toy tool bench. What makes this game so interesting for kids is the inclusion of toys that they love. This tool bench has been in our playroom for seven years but my daughter has just recently fallen back in love with it so I knew it was time to use it for a little learning. Coupled with her animals toys this phonics game is anything but boring.

Gather your materials. You will need a hammering toy ( or you could make one with golf tees like we did here) , some painter’s tape and marker or labels, some small toys and a bag or box to pull them out of.pound the sound letter game for kids

Start by writing the letters out on the tape. I had no labels so I just used tape. Don’t worry about things looking pinterest perfect the goal is for your child to learn while having fun not a magazine perfect set up. Also I am using lowercase letters because by this stage of learning to read lowercase is much more important. She will be encountering lowercase while reading much more frequently than uppercase.pound the sound letter learning activity

Cut the tape to fit on top of the blocks and pop them on.pound the letter sound activity for kids

Pop the animals in the bag and you are ready to call your little one over.phonics game for kids

Pull an animal out of the bag, say what it is and then find the letter than matches the first sound.pound the sound phonics activity for preschool

Find the letter that makes that sound and pound it down!pound the sound letter game for preschool

Keep going!hammer the sound letter game for kids

This is such a simple game and after we played my daughter went hunting for more things that started with the letters on the tool bench and we played again.

Letter Sounds Activity with Locks

letter sounds activityLetter recognition is important but more important is knowing what sounds letters make. This is a fun and easy to throw together letter sound activity that uses novelty to make learning fun. My daughter has known her letters for a while but at three there is zero rush for her to start reading. I am not following any program or book, I am following her lead. She has been testing out sounds, pretending to read books to me and her brother, and asking to spell words. When I see signs like these I try some playful ways to challenge her but if there is resistance , frustration or confusion I back off. As parents we want to challenge and support not push or drill. After the first time we played this letter sounds activity I was pretty sure we had a winner, after the 4th time I was certain.

Gather your materials. You will need some stickers of easily identifiable things, masking tape, locks with keys, and a marker.

learn to read activity

Start by adding the sticker to the locks. letter sounds

Next add masking tape to the keys and write the letter on.

Lock the locks and pop the keys in a container. letter sounds

Time to play. She explored all the locks at first and then dove in. letter sounds with locks and keys

The letter sounds weren’t too big a challenge but the fine motor control required was. letter sounds gameMatching up keys with locks and opening them uses other skills too like hand eye coordination and hand strength too.  It took her a few tries to get the first key in but after a while she was a pro. unlock letter sounds

She loved that she could do the activity with no help from me. My daughter is about as independent as they come. key letter sound  matchI let her go for it and then after she was done have her show me her work. She walked me through each pair telling me the letter and the sound on each lock and key. lock and key literacy activity for preschool and kindergarten

Then she closed them all up and played again and again.

Read & Draw Picnic – Comprehension Activity

read and draw picnic for kidsI love lazy summer days and trying to have a few before we all head back to school. This is such a simple reading comprehension activity and can be done with kids of any age. There is something awesome about reading outside, I love grabbing a blanket and some books and reading with my kids under a huge blue sky. This art activity takes that simple idea one step further by adding on an artistic retelling activity. I have been working hard to get my son to draw and write more this summer and drawing with his younger sister helps boost his confidence , lets him show her how to do things, and it’s made such a difference. Also his strength in retelling helps balance his lack of confidence in the drawing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a book , some clip boards, a blanket and your art materials. We used paper ,watercolor colored pencils, water , paint brushes, and some water.read and draw outside book activity for kids
  2. Start by finding the right spot. We found some shade in our yard and spread out the blanket.read and draw outside art and literacy activity for kids
  3. Pass out the clip boards and art material.read and draw outside for kids
  4. Start reading. As you read encourage your kids to draw what is happening in the story or something that sticks out for them from the book. Their favorite part, the saddest or happiest part … they can or you can choose.read and draw comprehension
  5. Make sure to have extra paper on hand my son made 3.read and draw outdoor reading picnic
  6. After they are done with their art work as them about it. Instead of saying ‘ What is that?’ which could make them question their artistic ability as well as gibe a much shorter answer say “Tell me about your picture.” I have found that when we do activities like this both my kids end up retelling the whole story naturally which is an important part of early literacy development. It builds comprehension and because it happens very organically no one feels like they are being quizzed on a lazy summer day. If they don’t retell the story on their own try asking :
  • Where  did the story take place?
  • Who was the story about?
  • What happened to them in the story? What happened next?
  • How did it end?read and draw outdoors

Try having your child retell stories from time to time and if they struggle do it more often. If they are really not understanding what is going on try simpler books and  try asking these questions throughout the reading not only after finishing the book.

f

 

picture books for retelling

 

All of these books have story lines that are clear and younger children can successfully retell the major events while older children could use them and retell in greater detail. These links are affiliate links.

This post contains affiliate links.

Writing Books With Your Child { Guest Post}

Writing Books with Your Child

by Becky Spence { This Reading Mama }

When kids are first learning to read, one of the things they need are some basic sight words under their belt. My son {age 4.5} has learned about 25 sight words this past year through the PreK reading curriculum I created for him. This summer, I want to expand and review that sight word learning without being too structured.

One way we will do this is by composing emergent readers together about him and the things he loves. There are many reasons why this concept works well. For one, it is all about the child. The majority of readers, even reluctant readers, will stick with something longer when the topic is of high interest to them {and what is more interesting to a child than a story about himself?} Secondly, this idea is highly adaptable to meet the developmental needs of the child {most writing activities are}. I will include some of those adaptations at the end of the post. But for now, I want to share how we made our first emergent book of the summer.

Steps to Writing Books with Your Child

Take Photos of Your Child Doing What He Loves | This Reading Mama

1. Ahead of time, I chose the predictable sentence I wanted for this particular book: “I like to…”. {For young readers, predictable text like this works well because of the repetition of words.} I asked him to pick several things he liked to do and he did them. While he was doing them, I took pictures of him. Painting, jumping, playing his favorite bird game, coloring…you name it.

2. I saved all the pictures to our computer. He chose the pictures he wanted to use and I printed them each onto a separate piece of paper to create a book.

3. I modeled the first sentence, “I like to color”. He listened as I talked through my sentence. It’s great for kids to hear us think out loud as we read and write. This is one way they gain the strategies they need to read and write with independence. An example of what I said, “I’m going to start writing over here on the left side of the paper because that’s where you start with reading and writing.” Think basic. Think simple.

Writing Books with Your Child

4. We worked on the other sentences together. “I like to jump.” “I like to play.” And so on. I let him take the lead and write as much as he wanted. When he didn’t want to write any more, I helped out. To keep him active in the writing while I had the pencil, he continued to help me sound out words. Writing books with kids is a great way to model spacing, capitialization, listening for phonemes {sounds in words}, and other foundational reading and writing skills.

5. Once all the sentences were written {this took two days}, we worked on the title page; made from colored construciton paper of his choice. Coming up with a title was a bit tricky for him, so I offered him several choices. He picked, “Things I Like to Do”. He added “by {his name}” to the title page as well.

6. We stapled the book together and he used our recycled bubble wand to read it to me. The book now has a home in his independent reading bin {a bin of books he can read himself, mainly from Reading the Alphabet}. If you don’t have a bin, displaying the books your child has written among the other books on the shelf or in a special space shows him you value his work as a writer.

Adaptations for Writing Books with Your Child

  • Instead of taking photos, ask your child to illustrate the pictures. This works particularly well for those children who love to draw.
  • Adapt the predictable sentence based on the words your child already knows or needs to know. Start simple. Sight words need to be introduced slowly with children just learning to read.
  • Use life experiences to create your sentences. For example, after a trip to the zoo, you could write the predictable sentence: “I saw a…” filling in the different animals your child saw that day.
  • Make it as long or as short as you’d like. Our book was five pages long because that’s all his attention span could handle.
  • Break up the activity into different segments. The entire book does not have to be completed in one sitting. Break it up over a few days, especially if you’re asking your child to do most of the drawing or writing.
  • For children who are not ready to do the writing, do it for them. But require that they be your helper, listening for sounds {phonemes} in words, helping put the space in between words by placing their finger there as a space holder, or drawing the period at the end of the sentence. Sometimes children just aren’t ready to write the entire sentence. Ask them to write the letters they do know how to write.
  • For more advanced readers/writers, mix up the sentences a bit instead of making the book totally predictable. For example, “I like to jump./I can jump very high./I jump the highest on my trampoline.” etc.

Predictable Sentence Starters

As a head-start, here are a few sentence starters that work well for writing predictable books with young readers, based on early sight word lists:

  • The _______.
  • A ______.
  • I see the ______.
  • I see a ______.
  • I can _______.
  • I like _______.
  • I like to ______. {example I used}
  • I saw a ______.
  • I am _______.
  • My _______.
  • Look at the ______.

 

Becky @ This Reading Mama

Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings. She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as literacy curricula and printables. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.