3 simple phonics tips for parents

3 simple phonics tips for parents

3 simple phonics tips for parents

It is pretty clear if you read the blog, that I think phonics is the way to go with teaching kids to read. While doing much more phonics now, none of my kids have been taught using an explicit synthetic phonics program.

I wasn’t taught phonics growing up and I have to admit my skill set with teaching phonics is pretty limited. I have learnt a tremendous amount along the journey of teaching 5 kids to read, but it is has been piecemeal, so I seek out resources to teach my kids phonics where I can. For master 6, this means he is currently working his way through the Phonics Hero program. You can read my review of Phonics Hero here.

There are a few tips I have picked up along the way however, that have helped me when undertaking the nightly reading with our current emerging reader. The books he uses as nightly readers are not decodable readers and include words that are out of range for what he is currently learning with Phonics Hero.

Bossy ‘e’ or magic ‘e’


The video above is a great way to introduce the concept of the bossy or magic ‘e’ if a child hasn’t been taught it before. (click here if you cannot see the video).

In English spelling, the E at the end of a word is silent. Its purpose is to show that the preceding vowel is LONG rather than short. If you like, you can think of the E as a message explaining how the previous vowel should sound. A favourite explanation among teachers is to say that the E at the end of the word is ‘a magic ‘e’ that makes the letter say its name’ – a very neat way of dealing with both the long vowel sounds and the use of the final E. {source}

If you don’t think your kids have been taught about long and short vowels, check out this video. (click here if you cannot see the video).

When I am reading together with the 6 year old and he comes to a word with a silent ‘e’ that he doesn’t know, I wait for him to sound it out and if uses the short vowel sound, I simply remind him to use the bossy ‘e’ rule and he gets it straight away.

Three letter ‘i’


“igh” is a trigraph, the three letters i, g and h make the “i” sound. The video above is pretty basic but it gets the message across!

Galactic phonics have a number of free printable resources on igh which you can use to help kids become familiar with this letter/sound combination.

C that sounds like “s”


This video is from Alison who you can find over at the fabulous Spelfabet Blog. In this video she takes you through a simple activity you can do to show kids when C makes the “s” sound.

Alison has written a number of informative and really helpful posts on literacy for parents on this blog:

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