Phonics Activities

How to Help Your Child with Phonics
Woman and little girl laughing together
Phonics is linking the sounds of language to the written letters and letter combinations children see in text. Being able to decode words phonetically according to the "rules" will help children read and spell better.

1. Practice "Nonsense Words." Use index cards or card stock to make letter cards - one letter on each card. Put the cards in three stacks (a stack of consonants on each end and vowels in the middle.) Randomly change letters to practice reading nonsense words (and sometimes a real word sneaks in, too!). This activity reinforces each letter's individual sound and helps with blending sounds together. Help your child remember that vowel sounds in the consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) pattern always have the short vowel sound (cat, bed, pig, dog, run).

2. Play "Pick a Vowel." Your child can use a dry erase marker and board or paper. Give your child a starting and ending consonant (or blends / digraphs for older students). The child gets to pick the vowel that goes in the middle and they get a point if they made a real word.

3. Word Families. Use plastic letters, index cards, word wheels (available at, or Easter eggs to practice reading words that have the same ending sound. (Easter eggs? Yes, it's easy! Write an ending (like "in") on one half of a plastic egg near the middle. Now write letters or blends that will make words with that ending (like "b," "f," "p," "w", "sk, "tw," "ch," and "gr," on the other half of the egg. Spin the egg to match up each letter with the ending and read the words (bin, fin, pin, win, skin, twin, chin, and grin.) Make a different word family for each egg.) Help your child remember that words with the same sound pattern at the end are rhyming words!

4. Spell it Out! Practice spelling words that follow phonics rules with magnetic letters, a "Magna-Doodle", magic slates, shaving cream, dry-erase boards, a sand tray, sidewalk chalk, gel bags, etc.