Phonics are the foundation of reading. They help children to understand letter sounds, which makes them very important for young minds and a big emphasis in the early years of a child’s education.

Phonics may seem like uncharted territory for a lot of parents. After all, most parents aren’t professional educators and even though they too learned phonics at one time, it was long ago and likely not easy to remember! However, gaining an understanding of phonics and how to teach it is important for parents who are invested in their child’s educational future – which is where educational flashcards come in handy. 

Flashcards make learning phonics (and teaching it) simple and fun. Still, many parents wonder how to use phonics flashcards effectively. So how do you teach phonics with flashcards?

We’re here to take the guesswork out of supporting your child’s learning. There are many things you can do at home to help bolster your child’s studies in preschool and school, including the use of phonics flashcards to help lay the groundwork for lifelong reading and learning. Let’s dive in!

What Are Phonics Flashcards?

To understand phonics flashcards, we first need to understand what phonics are. To put it simply, phonics help a child understand the relationship between the sounds of language and the letters that represent those sounds. Using flashcards to support phonics learning will help a child to learn simple concepts like letters, then the sounds of those letters and combinations of them, which ultimately become sight words.

Sight words are words such as the, and, and is that children see repeatedly when reading. The idea is that by being able to pronounce sight words fast without sounding them out, reading more complicated things will become easier over time. The second nature with which you’re reading this article, where you just know the words you’re reading without really having to think about them – that’s all thanks to the phonics and sight words you learned as a child.

reading book to baby
Image by Picsea on Unsplash: How do you make phonics flashcards fun? The same way you make any activity fun for kids – keep things interesting and exciting!

How To Use Phonics Flashcards

When you’re working with a child on their phonics, it helps to follow guidelines, like those that come with a set of phonics flashcards from Strong Minds. You must present things in certain stages to make it easier to teach them other things later. You’re laying the groundwork, which is a careful process.

You don’t want to simply sit down and start presenting flashcards one after the other to your child. Let’s be honest: that’s not fun for anyone. This is why you need to incorporate activities that can make phonics flashcards interesting and fun for both your child and you!

Physical activities are a great way to engage a child in learning. Try something like a phonics hunt, where you spread phonics flashcards out with letters facing up, then ask your child to go find an object in your home that begin with that sound. This activity encourages a child to explore, repeating the sound in their heads as they search for something suitable to bring back to you.

Recognition activities are also a great way to present phonics, since learning them is just as much about building recall of the letters as it is about the sounds. To do this, all you have to do is get magnetic letters or letter tiles and match them with the flashcards. 

Image by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels: Why are flashcards effective in phonics? Because you can use them in so many ways that pique your child’s interest. 

Finally, if you have kids, you know they love to touch things. You can harness this curiosity with more tactile phonics activities and sensory play. One of the best ways to incorporate phonics with a tactile activity is to create a sand tray. Fill a small tray with fine sand (this is usually the easiest to find, but you can also use anything your child is interested in such as rice, slime, jelly, or even small pasta shapes). Take one card at a time and have them trace the letter in the tray, saying the sound as they do so. This repetition helps to encourage their recall and improves their confidence in recognizing letters and sounds. 

As you embark on this phonics journey with your child, it’s important to remember that everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way. What helps your kids truly learn is finding things that work for them.

Featured image by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash