Having Fun with Phonics!

Liz Sedley, the creator of Dyslexia Gold, a suite of neuroscience based computer programs to help your dyslexic child read, write and spell. Liz has 3 children with combinations of Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Aspergers. She spent 10 years researching these conditions, and what caused them, before creating her first computer program to help her daughter.

The best way to teach your child to read is by teaching them phonics and phonological awareness.

Here are 10 fun games to get you started that you can play over the holidays.

  1. I Spy

Understanding that words are made up of individual sounds is a very important pre-reading skill. The traditional game, I Spy, is a great way to introduce them to this concept. Use the letter sound rather than the name and/or using the combination of letter sounds, such as ch, sh, etc. (Example: I Spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘buh’.)

  1. Reverse I Spy

Instead of guessing the object from the first letter, how about asking them to say the first letter sound of a word. When they can do this you can get them to do the last sound, and then the middle sound. This introduces and practices phonics and encourages the child to hear the individual letter sounds.

  1. Color Rhymes

Have some different color objects in a bowl and ask the child to take the object that rhymes with various words. It can be the object that rhymes or the color. For example, red for bed, blue for flew, jar for car. You can make up ‘silly’ rhymes using the objects as prompts.

  1. Change the Letter

How many words can you make by changing or adding the first letter sound? Ear – tear – fear – dear – year. To expand this, create a letter ladder of the first letters and slide the ear part of the word up and down so the child sees the word as well.

  1. What rhymes with…?

Use a ball to pass between each other. The first person chooses a word and passes the ball. When you have the ball you have to come up with a word that rhymes with the starting word.

  1. Lucky Phonics Dip

Use flash cards with the letters and combination of letter sounds in a bag or box. Take turns pulling out cards, sounding them out and thinking of a word that starts with that letter. To extend this activity, you could create a silly story using the words that you think of.

  1. Guess Who with Phonics

Replace the people on the Guess Who board with items. Each player asks whether the item starts with the letter sound(s) and/or rhymes with words, before narrowing it down further (if necessary).

  1. Scavenger Hunt

Put flash cards containing letters and letter combinations into a bag. Your child picks one and then has 2 minutes to find 5 things in the room that start with that letter.

  1. Phonics Hide and Seek

Instead of giving clues, give the child a letter card. They then look for objects that start with that letter sound. Underneath one object will be the next letter sound. Keep going for as many items as you can!

  1. Phonics Hopscotch

Create a hopscotch board using letters instead of numbers. Each time the child hops onto one of the squares, they say the letter sound or a word that starts with that sound. Like traditional hopscotch, get them to skip the square with the marker.

Learning phonics and phonological awareness are crucial skills your child needs to read. With these games, they won’t even realize they are learning!

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