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The Importance of Phonics in Early Learning

Phonics is an essential tool for teaching reading and spelling to young children. Using phonics, children learn the sounds of the letters rather than their names. This helps young learners blend the sounds together to create words.

I have taught English as a second language both in the UK and Hong Kong, and I always find phonics to be the key to reading success. Phonics enables children to become independent, confident readers and writers. I love teaching it as students make such great progress within a short amount of time.

Here are some top tips for using phonics with your child:

Use letter sounds rather than letter names
When helping your child to read, ensure you are sounding out words using the phonetic pronunciation rather than using the letter name. For example; cuh-ah-tuh, rather than C-A-T.

Learn sight words and tricky words
Sight words (e.g. and, it, but) are what we call the very common words in English books which young learners should recognise by sight so they can read smoothly. Tricky words are those which don’t follow the rules of phonics (e.g. said, was, has) – help your young learner to memorise these rather than sound them out.

Play phonics games wherever you are
The world is full of words to read. Encourage your child to read street signs, posters, shop names, MTR signs and anything they can see!
You can even play ‘I spy’ to keep your child thinking of the initial sounds in words.

I have seen first-hand how using phonics to read and spell is a fast and effective route to success. As Roald Dahl says, ‘If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.’

Our Pre-School English courses introduce phonics from level 3. Students who need an extra boost in this area can also join i-Learner’s Phonics and Reading Aloud courses.