5 Tips to Teach Phonics to Kids at Home: Raise a Reader

Can you imagine your 4-year-old reading words like “instruction” or “ambulance” without your help? Well, if you use phonics to teach reading you can make it possible.

Parenting is tough in itself but when it’s about how to teach phonics to kids, every parent gets overwhelmed.

Dear parents, being a kindergarten teacher, I understand your pain.

But you have nothing to worry about, as I am going to provide you with a detailed, step-by-step process of teaching phonics.

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a curriculum or content used to teach reading to kids.

In other words, phonics is a set of skills/instructions taught to decode the English language in terms of sounds.

In Earth language, it is used for teaching how to read and write English.

Phonic Card for M - teach phonics to kids

Why is Phonics Important?

Although the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries are already implementing phonics to teach reading, there are lots of parents who shy away from phonics.

But you wouldn’t if you knew the benefits of phonics.

1. Develops early literacy skills

According to several studies, teaching phonics shows remarkable results in acquiring early literacy skills.

Let me explain how phonics improves reading.

If your child is learning to read using phonics instructions, they will get to know different letters sounds/phonemes, the letters or groups of letters forming a sound (graphemes), and syllables.

By learning the letter sounds instead of the names, your little ones would be able to put together the sounds and read surprisingly bigger words at an early age.

In addition to that, they will also learn to segment the sounds when listening to new words, eventually figuring out the spelling.

2. Makes them avid readers

The children who learn reading early are more likely to develop interest in reading books ranging in various genres.

As a result, kids learning to read using phonics tend to become diverse, serious readers. If you want them to make a reader, it would be wise to teach phonics to your kids.

3. Enhances speech development

It’s no news that a significant percentage of kids struggle with speech and language development.

Although it may not be an alarming issue for many parents, it can push little ones into becoming an individual with issues, such as inferiority complex and social anxiety.

However, once your child catches the letter sounds/phonemes, they are more likely to develop speech and English language.

4. Increases concentration and patience

Learning phonics is a journey based on activities and games.

By doing this, they not only have concentration for a longer span but also show amazing patience in dealing with day-to-day life.

5. Helps them at school

Undoubtedly, schools are tough for your little one; going out of their dens and finding themselves amongst strangers can be challenging.

But learning to read and speak efficiently at an early age boosts confidence in them.

Furthermore, it also helps them to cope with the new environment, decode the school instructions, and interact socially.

5 Tips to Teach Phonics to Kids at Home

1. Introduce the letter sounds

While teaching 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds, I have noticed that directly introducing them to letters often confuses them and repels them from the reading process.

Contrastingly, when I introduced them to the sounds first instead of letters, they grasped better.

How to do that: Take your little one around the house, backyard, and parks and find out the words they are already familiar with—such as bed, tree, dog, cat, cookie, etc. Gradually, expose them with the sounds by saying A…A…apple, b…b…bed, c…c…cookie, d…d…dog.

For better grasping, let them touch the things they are already recognizing while pronouncing the words.

2. Begin with lowercase/small letters

Once they get familiar with the sounds, it’s time to introduce them to the letters. I suggest you begin with lowercase.


Because they will come across lowercase/small letters more often than capital/uppercase letters while reading.

Teaching lowercase letters increases the chances of reading early. I’d suggest you follow the below patterns for better results.

s, a, t, p, i, n

c, k, e, h, r, m, d

g, o, u, l, f, b

Even in sounds some are easier to grasp than the rest.

If you follow this pattern, your child will learn the letter sounds in no time.

Please continue with the uppercase letters only when they are well-acquainted with the lowercase letters.

3. Blending letter sounds

After learning the letter sounds, the next step is learning how to blend two sounds. I suggest you begin by adding a vowel sound to a consonant sound.

For example, at, it, am, ex, ax, um, up, an, on, as, egg, or, etc.

4. Help them decode familiar words/sight words

Yup, decoding words can be easier for them than actually trying to spell.

When they already know the sounds, surprise them randomly with words.

Try to pick easy and familiar words, such as cat, cup, ball, ant, doll, fish, ring, sat, tap, pig, etc.

Don’t worry if they fail to recognize the sounds in the beginning. With daily practice, they will start decoding sight words in no time.

5. It’s time to Build Words

When your little one is ready enough to recognize sounds in a sight word, help them build words. And yes, always begin with sight words.

Card to teach phonics to kids at home

Fun Games and Activities for Teaching Phonics

1. I spy with my little eye

This one is my favorite game for preschoolers!

Tell them “I spy with my little eye something that starts with B”.

Ask them to go around the house and find something with B.

When they give the right answer, give them their turn to say “I spy with my little eye…”.

2. Flashcards quiz

Take “Flash cards quiz” when you are introducing the sounds or the lowercase alphabets.

If you are still at “introducing sound” step, then make a collection of flashcards with images of the things your child is familiar with, such as bed, cow, cat, ant, etc.

For this activity, take out 10 to 15 minutes every day.

Flash the cards real fast and ask them to pronounce the beginning sound.

In the beginning, they wouldn’t respond. But don’t flash the cards for too long. Try to keep it quick.

Children have photographic memory. If you keep doing this activity religiously for a month, they will begin to respond.

3. Arrange the Fridge magnets

This game is one of the most effective phonics games for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

You can play this game while learning the letters, blending the sounds, and decoding and building sight words.

How to play?

Buy a whole set of uppercase and lowercase English alphabet fridge magnets.

If they are learning sight words, pick four words per week and assign them.

Every day before breakfast or lunch, they can arrange the four words on the fridge with magnets.

4. Treasure Hunt with word puzzles

Every time you buy gifts for them, try to turn it into a treasure hunt.

Let’s assume you bought a BAT.

Don’t give them right away.

Try to hide three flashcards with letters B, A, and T and hide them inside things that start with the respective letters.

For example, you can hide B inside a bowl, bottle, or under a bed.

Try to make it easier by putting instructions saying what to find next on each flash card, like the B flashcard can say “next, find something with A”.

I suggest you also participate with them because kids love it when parents engage. Of course, in the beginning, you will need to help them with the rules.


1. What is Phonics?

Phonics is a curriculum or set of instructions used for teaching reading and writing for it. It includes introduction to letters sounds/phonemes, the letters or groups of letters forming a sound (graphemes), and sight words.

2. How do I teach my 5-year-old phonics?

Begin by introducing the letter sounds, teaching the lowercase letters, and then uppercase letters. Once your child is aware of the sounds and the letters, you can teach how to blend sounds of two letters by teaching words like at, it, am, ex, ax, um, up, an, on, as, egg, or, etc.

You can also try games and activities like “I spy with my little eye something that starts with A”, flashcards quiz, fridge magnets, etc. to teach phonics to small kids.

3. How many phonic sounds do we have?

There are around 44 phonic sounds in English.

4. What is grapheme phonics?

A letter or a group of letters forming a sound is called grapheme.


Undoubtedly, teaching phonics is one of the toughest jobs as a parent. But if you are reading this article trying to learn how to teach phonics to a 4-year-old, you are already a Rockstar parent.

Don’t be nervous!

Go through the above tips and games and begin with a baby step with your baby. Trust me, it’s going to be a fun exciting journey for the both of you.

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