Basic English, Zero English

Simple phonics

Image via All In Green

I’m posting a very simple resource today, that I’ve used in many different classrooms, with both English language learners and native English speakers. I find that systematic, synthetic phonics activities are really useful in helping children to understand the connections between the symbols on the page and the sounds they represent. I don’t teach phonics by itself though. Phonics activities are only one piece of the literacy puzzle and always need to be accompanied with social language, big picture knowledge, readalouds, emergent reading/writing, and whole language work.

I’ve posted three variations of my basic phonics activity here, I hope you find them useful! Click on the thumbnails to download to resources! And don’t forget to leave me a comment 🙂

Basic phonics grid

I use this whenever we learn a new letter sound. First we look at the letter sound, say the sound, and practice the action that accompanies the sound. I like both Jolly Phonics and Fletcher for introducing phonics sounds. We then brainstorm a list of words that use the target sound, and write each one on the board. Depending on the children’s level, I normally have them come up to the board to write the word and illustrate it (especially if they are English language learners). The children then go back to their seats and take a phonics grid. They write the phoneme in the bubble in the middle of the page, and draw 4 pictures to represent words that begin with that sound in the 4 boxes. On the lines below, they either practice writing the sound, or write their chosen words, or write sentences about the words they have chosen. I like this activity because it is really easy to differentiate with mixed-level classes. When I taught English camp, we used this activity with a different phoneme every day and my absolute beginner students really liked the routine and familiarity of it.

‘Phonemes in my name’ booklet

This is an extension of the phonics grid, useful as a sub activity or as a quick get-to-know-you or extension activity for young students. Print the pages back to back and fold into a little booklet. The first two pages are a sound-search. Students should find and circle the phonemes that are in their names. Print as many of the remaining pages as you need – students can complete one phonics grid for each letter of their name.

‘Sounds in my name’ booklet

As above, but I used the word ‘sounds’ instead of ‘phonemes’ as I know terminology varies from classroom to classroom.

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2 thoughts on “Simple phonics

  1. Thank you for sharing! this is perfect for my bilingual students that are transitioning into English 🙂

    Posted by Mrs. Nicolau | February 17, 2014, 5:44 pm


  1. Pingback: Five versions of Woosh: a game to improve word recognition and fluency | Early Years English - February 28, 2014

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