How to help your child practise letter sounds

How to help your child practise letter sounds
by Natalie Keeler

Perfect for little ones who are learning to read, we've created these videos to make teaching phonics at home fun and simple! Watch them together and get your child to listen carefully to the sounds in each word – and have a go at saying them out loud too.

Encourage little ones to say the sounds rather than the letter names, such as 'e' as in 'egg', 'r' as in 'rocket' and 'u' as in 'umbrella'. They'll also hear the words 'bat' and 'cat' rhyme, so ask them if they can think of any other rhyming words, like 'dog' and 'log', or 'king' and 'sing'.

At this stage, your child will start blending some of the sounds together too. So in this next video, we look at diagraphs – two letters coming together to make one sound – and trigraphs, a single sound made up of three letters.

'Ai', 'ee', 'igh', 'oa', and 'oo' are the first long vowel sounds your child will meet, and they'll learn that some diagraphs sound shorter or longer depending on the word. For example, the sound 'oo' can be short as in 'look', 'book', and 'hook', or long as in 'moon', 'boo', and 'zoo.'

They'll also meet two 'th' sounds – a soft 'th' as in 'thin' or a hard 'th' as in 'this'. As your little one builds their confidence in identifying the sounds, ask them if they can hear the difference.  

For even more phonics fun and ways to practise letter sounds, make sure you print these free phonics worksheets, which we've created to help your child learn phonics from sets 1 to 9.

These videos are also an extension of Giggly Literacy Magazine, which is available now in most supermarkets and on the Giggly shop!