Many preschool children find it difficult to sit and learn phonics, so give them opportunities for movement! It's commonly believed that when you hear something, 10% of the information is retained. If you see it, hear it and say it, 40% is retained. But, if you also DO it, you retain 70%-100% of the information. Using a multi-sensory approach to teach children phonics and reading enhances their retention and capitalizes on their natural tendency to wiggle. In other words, incorporate movement as a teaching tool for phonics and reading.

It is usually a good idea to introduce one letter sound a week. Learn and ACT OUT the first weeks letter sound S (The sneaky snake slithered up to me.  It was a silly sight to see). Practice the rhyme as you do errands. Write the rhyme on a giant poster board and hang it in their room.  Each rhyme they learn can be added to the poster.  Flood your child's world with the letter sound of the week by looking for that letter everywhere you go (grocery store, signs, books you read to them). Emphasize the sound by serving sausage and sweet potatoes the week you learn the S sound. Create a short book that emphasizes the new sound by cutting and pasting pictures of  S objects. The following rhymes will give children many opportunities for action and fun.


A   Andy the antelope started to clap, when an ant sat on his lap.
E   Ellie the elephant swept and swept ate an egg, and then she wept.
I    Ichabod inchworm started to twitch, because he had an itch, itch, itch.
O   Ozzie the ostrich went hop, hop, hop, and his balloon went pop, pop, pop. U   Umbrella birds just run and jump, then leap across a big speed bump.


B   The baby baboon bounced through the trees, playing and swaying in the breeze.
C   Curious cats began to creep; closer, closer and then they leap.
D   Davey dolphin dives under the sea, down so deep what will he see? 
F   The freckled finch flew into the air, up so high, and with such flair.
G   The grateful goat gallops all day, because he is so very gay.
H   The happy hippo loved to eat; he hopped all day in the heat.
J   Johnnie the jackal would jump and leap; he never drove a jeep, jeep, jeep.
K   Kangaroos kick and twist with sis, then they give her a kooky kiss.
L   The lazy lizard laughed and played, he laughed all night and laughed all day.
M   Marvin mouse marches down the street, and never knows quite who he'll meet.
N   Nathan narwhal surfs with a spear.  Watch out kids, and never go near.
P   Polly pelican swings hert pouch to scoop up big perch who cry, "ouch!"
Q   Quentin quail tiptoed so quickly; with many quills which were so prickly.
R   Rita rabbit rowed in the night, down the river with all her might. 
S   Sneaky snakes slither up to me; they are a silly sight to see.
T   The terrific tiger would turn and skip, and every Tuesday he took a trip.
V   Victor vulture vaulted the best, and vowed to wear a vivid vest.
W   Wally the walrus wiggled with a pig, and always wore a wonderful wig.
X    The X-ray fish swam like a fox, but he never ever wore his socks.
Y   The young yak yawned so very hard, stomping on yogurt in the yard.

Z   Zany zebras zoom like Flipper, and they always zip their zipper.


A   The aging ape is out of shape, because he ate and ate and ate.
E   The enormous eagle is so regal, when he fly's with a seagull.
I    The idle ibex stands so high, reaching up to the icy sky.
O   The okapi climbed up a rope. then slipped down the slippery slpoe.
U   Uri unicorn was unique, like a mule he kicked all week.

The more proficient your preschool child gets at phonics the easier it will be to combine those sounds into words. The following activities will reinforce the alphabet sounds and get them ready for reading.

PHONICS SCAVENGER HUNT   Place several pictures or objects around the room that represent the sound you are practicing. Don't forget to put a few other sound symbols in the room as well. This will ensure that your child will test the object for the sound before declaring a find.

BEACH BALL PHONICS requires you to section off a ball into many squares with a marker. Each square houses a letter of the alphabet. Toss the ball to your child, who recites the letter name and sound of the letter under their thumb. (S sounds ss, ss, ss)

PHONICS TOSS   Paint the letters of the alphabet on a large foam board. Under each letter, cut a hole big enough for a small beanbag to fit through. Being sure not to cover the holes, glue or staple the board to a large cardboard box. Your child tosses a beanbag into one of the holes and says the sound.

SKIP JUMP SOUNDS   Using lighter colored vinyl, cut out shapes, put a letter on each one with a marker, and tape them to the floor. Your child can jump from letter to letter, saying each sound as they land.

SEWING LETTERS is a great craft and letter recognition activity. Using poster board, draw and laminate 6"-8" block letters of the alphabet. Cut them out and punch holes around the perimeter of each letter about 1" apart. Using a large needle and yarn, have your child sew around each letter. 

 PHONICS RELAY   This is fun when there are two or more players.  If you have an older sibling play, you can give them a handicap like counting to 5 one thousands before responding.  Call out a letter sound and the children run to a chalkboard or dry erase board and print the letter of that sound.  When they’re ready, modify this game to words or even short sentences.

Reading to your child on a regular basis will give them an appreciation and respect for reading. If reading is important to you, it will become important to your child.  A bookcase full of a variety of great books should be available. The "Dr. Seuss" and "Dick and Jane" books are wonderful, because they are full of repetition. This will enable your child to learn sight words such as: it, at, on, in, the, etc. Learning sight words will help keep the frustration level down when they start to read books.

WORD CONCENTRATION   Make two sets of the common sight words on index cards, and lay them out 5-10 at a time. Have your child try to find a matching pair. It's fun to have a set of color words, number words, animals, and family members.

GIANT SCRABBLE   Make large letter tiles 12” squares out of poster board.  Laminate them at an office supply place.  Give clues like:  drinks milk, has whiskers, is soft and cuddly, says meow.  The first one to shout out CAT finds the letters C-A-T and makes the word cat.  This can be done sitting at a table with letter tiles, but running to use large tiles adds more fun to the activity.

This is one of the most exciting times in your child's life, because they are learning so many new and exciting things. Decorate their room with everything they have made so they can show off to visitors. Have fun, try these phonics and reading activities, and create some of your own. The possibilities are endless.



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