Sounds & Phonics – They will help you learn to read!!!

Very soon my daughters are about to turn 3 and the whole focus of their learning is going to start shifting from environmental awareness to more concrete topics & subjects. While preparing an annual plan of what all I would want to introduce to my daughters in the coming year, one topic that excites me more as a mother and a teacher was Mathematics, Pre-Writing, Alphabet Sounds & Phonics. (Read my blog on Developing Mathematical Aptitude in Kids by clicking HERE)


As a parent, these days we get to hear a lot about phonics as a new concept in language learning, but probably not all of us know or understand the nitty-gritty of phonics.


In very simple words, phonics define the relationship between the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. It’s a link between what we say, what we read and what we write. But the question is, does just knowing sounds of all alphabets make us a champion in reading and spelling. Sadly, the answer is NO. Phonics is just one part of a broader concept of “Reading Frequency.” Apart from Phonics, reading and spelling skills requires knowledge of Phoneme, Phonetics, Phonemic awareness and Print awareness. Confusing? Let’s try to Understand. We already saw what phonics mean.


A Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that can differentiate the meaning of two words. For example, in the word BAT, we hear 3 sounds – B / A / T. If we change B /A/ T to B / U / T, the meaning of the word will completely change. Therefore, it is very important to be able to distinguish between different sounds or Phonemes.



Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and use different phonemes. It is the realization that a word is made up of different sounds.


Print awareness is knowing that a book or any text needs to be read top to bottom, left to right, with pauses between words etc. On advanced levels, it is also awareness about what’s a cover page, title or, author of a book. To be able to read any text, basic print awareness is necessary.


Now, does a reader or a child need to know all these technical details? Of course, not! But while playing the role of a teacher, parents need to know this to be able to teach sounds in a correct progression.


Why is Phonics Important?

It is estimated that there are at least half a million words in the English language. And there are only two methods of being able to read and write these words – Either learning by rote or learning Phonics. Yes, memorizing is important in some cases, because some words, known as Sight words, or Dolce words can’t be correctly read using phonics and this needs to be memorized by seeing and practicing. But half a million – NOT POSSIBLE


For early Learners, words are like codes which are alien to them. Phonics teaches them how to crack this code.



When to begin?

The ideal age to begin introducing phonics to kids is between the age of 3 to 8.


How to begin?

The first and most basic step to introduce phonics is to introduce letter sounds. There are ample of videos available online to teach letter sounds, but not all are authentic. Some will say that sound of S is / sa / while some will tell you to / sss/. Some will teach sound of F as / fa / while some will teach is as / fff /.


The video linked here is one of the most accurate videos showing phonics-based letter sounds. 




Some Tips which I thought might be helpful:

  1. While introducing phonics, connect sounds to real life objects they know the names of, rather than alphabets. For example –  instead of just saying – A for Apple, tell them – Apple / a / Plate / p / etc. (lower case alphabets written between / / indicates sounds).
  2. Repetition is key. Keep practicing to master the sounds.
  3. To ensure they understand the phonemes, ask them the first sound and last sound in a word.
  4. Begin with consonants as they are easy to understand.
  5. Practice 3 letter CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) words.
  6. Take maximum 3 consonant sounds per week to practice. Practice with all objects available to you, around you.


Please remember, learning letter sounds is just the beginning. Knowledge of letter sounds alone will not equip your child to be able to read. In the articles to follow, I will try to discuss the progression plan for teaching phonics & next steps and methods for developing & improving Reading Frequency.

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18 Responses

  1. Vidhi says:

    Very well written and useful post. Phonetic sounds definitely help a child understand the relation between the written letters and the sounds they make. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Shashikant Rathod says:

    Thanks for this particular subject, not just kids but even elders who never heard phonics in school days need training in phonics to improve on pronunciation. Demonstration by you in audio clip will be helpful.

  3. Veens says:

    What a CRISP post! I love it! Just one point, making sure our kids are ready for this is very important because if they aren’t ready, this will border on Rote learning. So you must write a post on signs your child is ready for phonics soon ? because thats just as important ❤

  4. alpanadeo says:

    I used the same phonics method of teaching with my daughter. That helped her in learning the spellings faster as she knew how the letter sounds and pronounced.

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  5. Being a Phonics Trainer myself, reading this post was a pleasure for me. Sharing this information and creating awareness among parents is very important. Understanding the terms and then teaching methodically is very important when it comes to Phonics.

  6. First thing i did was to star mark this post! Technical aspect explained in a very simple manner. Will be referring to it once my bub reaches the required age to start.

  7. anubhuti says:

    Thanks for sharing this…definitely Phonics form the base for building a good vocabulary and also develops good reading skills.

  8. This is such an informative post shalu.. You have covered all of it .. I myself have taken training in this but loved the way you have shared it all

  9. Well explained! It’s so imp to introduce kids to right pronunciation! Am looking forward to more informative posts form you on this.

  10. Thank you for such a detailed post ! Also I would like to know what is the right age to introduce this?

  11. Very informative post, Phonics helps in building a strong learning foundation.

  12. Mamatha dilip says:

    This is definitely informative Shalu. Will keep this saved for future use. Many of my acquaintances had sent their kids to phonics classes. How I wish I knew of this early and I could refer this to them

  13. honestly now i have started gathering knowledge about phonics as i will be teaching my son once he is 3 so i have one year to go and your article was the first one i have read and so glad i am reading the right one in right time..thank you will check the video out …

  14. Excellent post and ver helpful for me as I will be taking this on with baby K. have also linked this post to my current post ?

  15. This post is very useful Shalu.. I actually don’t know phonics and your article helped me understand some of the basics. Looking forward for more article on the subject as I want to learn phonics for my son ..

  16. Gracelyne says:

    Shalu – thank you so MUCH! I’m bookmarking this article and going to come back and review as we make progress. I actually have him familiar with alphabets before phonics. Anyway to rectify that situation now?

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