What is Phonics?
Phonics is a reading skill that enables students to decode language. It teaches the relationship between the sounds (phonemes) and the letters (graphemes). In younger years it is a proven way of teaching children to read effectively and to prevent and correct reading difficulties. It is important to introduce phonics and the sounds of English early and to consolidate them. It is equally important to approach this systematically and introduce simple letter sound relationships before progressing to the more complex and challenging sound combinations.
The phonics worksheets we have linked below will follow this format. We include the following phonics worksheets
- Single Sounds and Onset and Rime Worksheets
- CVC Worksheets
- Long and Short Vowels Worksheets
- Blends and Digraphs Worksheets
- Syllable Worksheets
We have put these into collections which are also highlighted on the page where needed as well. The individual worksheets are free (we are teachers so know how important that can be) The collections are paid for (to help with the cost of the site)
These resources are used by over half a million teachers worldwide so hope they are useful for you as well!
Why is Phonics Important?
There are countless studies showing the benefits of systematic phonics instruction,).However teaching students and children how to decode sounds to letters is essential. It helps them learn to read unknown words, focus on letter order, and how those sounds then blend into each other to form words. This progresses into reading, and then into comprehension.
- Phonics helps to increase fluency both with accuracy and speed
- Phonics will help with comprehension, if students and children cant read a word they are not going to understand it.
- Phonics will increase confidence, and with it the ability to risk take with their reading
- Phonics will lead to an increase in vocabulary
- This increase in vocabulary will lead onto developing reading comprehension strategies
there is of course debate (it is education there is always debate) about if a systematic approach is the most optimal, however there is a consensus that phonics instruction of some sort is a vital part of teaching reading to children.
What Order Should You Teach Phonics?
There is also debate on the actual order of phonics instruction, with the majority suggesting an order of simple sounds first that enable children to form simple words as soon as possible. That order of teaching phonics is in the table below.
|Sound Group 1||s||a||t||i||p||n|
|Sound Group 2||c, k||e||h||r||m||d|
|Sound Group 3||g||o||u||l||f||b|
|Sound Group 4||ai||j||oa||ie||ee||or|
|Sound Group 5||z||w||ng||v||oo||oo|
|Sound Group 6||y||x||ch||sh||th||th|
|Sound Group 7||qu||ou||oi||ue||er||ar|
Although this order is regarded as the optimal way to introduce phonics, it is very likely that kindergarten and preschoolers will learn the phonics order as the order of the alphabet. This is just the way it will be introduced. (it is very difficult to get teachers to stop using the Abc song and start using the phonics song. Which is still in the order of the alphabet! We will introduce worksheets and activities as stand alone exercises and you can use them as you see fit no matter which order you decide to teach the sounds.
Phonics and Movement Program
before we get into the freedies, just a quick mention of a program called Phonics In Motion that is incorporating movement into its phonics program. At this age this is a great idea. We have negotiated a 20% discount for all teachers and parents who use our site, so you just have to add the code EnglishIsFun20)
You can check them out on the links below and above, it is quite exciting.
Below are the selection of phonics and alphabet worksheets and resources. They are designed for younger learners, and allow teachers and parents to introduce the sounds of the English alphabet in a methodical and child friendly way. They include tracing sheets to help with both reading and writing and initial sounds worksheets to help build sound recognition and vocabulary. We have much more on the site so feel free to browse if you need more or are looking for something different.
The above phonics worksheets are 6 examples of free worksheets and activities you can use to practice single sounds with your students and children. You can do this as consolidation or as a ‘sound dictation activity where you say the sounds ( not the letter name) and your children have to try to listen, decode then write it in the correct box. We have also included phonics and alphabet cards to help practice reading and speaking the sounds. We have many more on the site and in our workbooks.
Word Construction – ”Rime” and CVC Words.
Following on from teaching single sounds, and once your students are ready, is the teaching of blending those sounds to make simple words. (the beauty of phonics is that it can progress as your students do not as the curriculum dictates) These words more often than not are ”consonant-vowel-consonant” words. If following the s-a-t-i-p-n order then these words would include sat, pin, pat, tap etc. Which allows students to use the sounds they have learnt from group one to try to blend the sounds together to produce words. If your kindergarten or preschool or even primary school is not following this the procedure is the same, just with more options (so potentially more pitfalls- you can start to see the reason why there are advocates for slowing down the focus onto less sounds and more skills at this point)
Either way we have examples of phonics worksheets you can use for both systems, but with more emphasis on the whole alphabet method as it is probably the most likely approach used with your students and children. Below you will find a collection of CVC readers, phonics worksheets and resources to use in your classrooms and homes. We also have more, a lot more, phonics worksheets, games, activities and mobile / online apps here as well. If you want the full set we have it here for sounds and CVC phonics.
These are just a small selection of the hundreds of free and premium version we have here on the site and available on other sites as well. However these sites are often subscription, and offer one worksheet at a time to download. We prefer to give (or sell) packs to help teachers and homeschoolers with phonics Learning how to blend single sounds into minimal pairs (at, in, ot, en, op etc) and then into simple words is a huge step for young readers. It allows them to pick up levelled texts and read using the skills they have developed. This is a first step towards fluency and a huge boost to motivation, confidence and interest. We do have a selection of free apps to help consolidate this skill and also board games and activities as well. As varying up how you present and practice phonics with students is going to help keep them engaged.
We will split this section into short sounds and long sounds. Short are the easier for students to grasp as they feature in the CVC practice above. However vowels, and the vowel sounds of English can be difficult. Longer vowels in particular can be a challenge. We offer more phonics worksheets and activities aimed at covering long vowels in the next section to help students practice these as well.
We have a 50 page long and short vowel workbook that covers and offers more than we can put on this page!
Long Vowel Worksheets
Long vowel sounds can be tricky for beginning readers. The sheer number of them to start, and the huge number of ways they can be spelled can cause confusion. To help with this we have split these worksheets up into different ”types” of long vowel spelling, including diphthongs, vowel digraphs, magic E, r controlled vowels and Y as a vowel sound. We also, where needed, explain in more detail some of the rules in posts on the site. We will link to these in the top section to help if you need. For navigations sake we will split up these different types with headings to make it easier for you. You can also check out our 50 plus page long and short vowel workbook which has loads of worksheets activities and games.
Magic E Worksheets and Activities;
Magic E is the phonics rule that (usually) if there is an e at the end of a word it is silent, and causes the vowel before it to say its name. For example: cane, pale, pine, cube.
Vowel Digraphs and Diphthongs
Although similar there are differences between these two phonics terms. Digraphs are (clue is in the name) two letters that make a sound, in vowel digraphs this is often a long sound. There is a song, and great teaching aid, that says ‘‘when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking” with the rule that the first sound says it name and the other is silent. In words like rain, boat, coal.
Diphthongs are two sounds that come together to make a new sound. For example oi, oy, aw, au, ow. Check out our examples below for phonics worksheets.
Consonant Digraph and Blends Worksheets
Consonant digraphs and blends are often confused by emergent readers ( and by teachers) so just to clarify a consonant blend is two sounds that blend together to make a sum of their parts, you are still able to hear both sounds when you read them. A consonant digraph is two consonants that come together to form a new sound. There are many more blends than digraphs. We offer Phonics worksheets to cover both skills below and we also have a full 60 page workbook that covers much more.
Once students have grasped the basics of the phonics rules above we can move onto larger and more complex words. These often include the use of syllables. These are one of my favorite things to teach students, as you see previously difficult or skipped words suddenly become easy and straight forward. We have a small section of worksheets below to take a look at. and a link to a mini lesson on YouTube that may help as well. We also have apps that cover syllables if you want to try to vary how you instruct the topic.
We have many more phonics worksheets on the site, as well as grammar and topic related resources. We also have articles on how to teach phonics at differing age ranges and abilities as well. you will find them linked below. These all written by teachers and educators.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph phonics is a vital skill to help develop both mastery and more importantly a love of reading in young learners. The earlier they can move to comprehend the words they are reading the earlier that love affair can start.
You will be amazed at the progress your students make if you can spare the time to include a little phonics instruction into their days. It doesn’t have to be hours and hours, just little and often. Hopefully some of the apps and worksheets we have on the site can help with this.
Hope you found these useful 🙂
Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, mostly English but dabbled in outdoor pursuits and media. Thought is was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!