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Phonics really help a lot of kids to read.
But you don’t need to wait until children are ready to read to build deep phonics skills.
Phonics helps children to recognise the patterns in groups of letters.
These patterns are pretty tricky in English.
Unlike some other languages, we use groups of vowels and groups of consonants to make different sounds e.g. the ai in sail or the ght in bought.
And even more confusingly the sound of a vowel can be changed by whether or not another vowel follows after a consonant e.g. hat and hate!
Fun rhyming games help children recognise the sound patterns in words.
Unfortunately, when they start reading they will also have to grapple with inconsistent sound groups but if you make time for rhyme every single day when they are little they will be brilliant at recognising sound patterns by the time they start to read.
So here’s some ideas for making phonics fun with time for rhyme every day.
1. Read Rhymes Daily
OK this is an obvious one but do you really read rhymes every single day to your children? Try to read some every night whether it’s …
- Your family’s big fave traditional nursery rhymes …
- Rhyming stories … Lynley Dodd and Julia Donaldson are both unbelievably brilliant at rhyming stories that engage even very small children, if you’ve not checked them out yet you really must!
- Classic poems such as those of AA Milne which still captivate kids today
- Fabulous fun rhymes like Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes
2. Make Up Your Own Revolting Rhymes
And when you’ve got everyone in the rhyming spirit try creating your own revolting … or at least ever so slightly rude … rhymes.
Adapting nursery rhymes or songs with funny bits about members of the family is always good. Or just take a basic tune everyone knows and make up your own daft songs from scratch. We had lots of giggles making up funny songs about grandma … grandpa thought they were very funny 🙂
3. Match Rhyming Pictures
Create some picture cards of things that rhyme and play rhyming snap or pairs e.g. cat and hat, jug and mug.
Little ones may struggle initially but as long as it’s fun and there’s no pressure they will love it.
You could also make picture cards that match with your family’s name to make it easier for the little ones to make up funny rhymes.
4. Rhyming Scavenger Hunt
You might have to do a bit of prep for this to make sure suitably rhyming things are easily in sight around the house but then give either individual children or teams one object and send them off to find rhyming objects.
Our enormous collection of soft toys came in hand for this … I made sure various dogs and frogs and cats and hats were clearly visible plus cars and stars, a mouse and a house, a stick and brick etc.
At this point the focus was on “hearing” the common sounds, so I did include objects that rhymed but were spelt differently such as a plane and a train.
5. Sound of the Week
There are lots of fun ideas around for doing letter of the week but you could do something similar with sound of the week e.g. at, ad, ing, creating pictures and crafts involving some of the first phonic sounds.
I do hope you have some fun with these ideas … we would love to hear yours. Do drop us a comment below …