Top Tip 1 - Before playing the phonics games, look at the ‘sound mat’ with your child. Say the sound and then the word, using the pictures to help e.g., “s....s is for sock.” Ask the child if they can think of anymore words for each sound.
Top Tip 2 - When playing games to learn ‘sounds’, ask the child to say the sound and then think of a word starting with, or containing that sound, e.g “a.....a is for apple.” If the child struggles to think of one use the “sound mat” to help, e.g. k.....is for kick.” Using the 'sound mat' will help children more effectively store learning in the long term memory.
Top Tip 3 - When playing game two to 'read the words', if the child is still early in their development, you can orally blend / sound out the word for them and ask them if they know the word, e.g. say 'c-a-t' and see if the child recognises 'cat.' This is an important step before children can blend themselves. You may play the whole game like this for a while, before children are ready to blend themselves, to read the words.
Top Tip 4 - When reading the words themselves, remind children, to look at the sound buttons under each word. This will help them to recognise digraphs, where two letters make one sound, e.g. 'sh', or a trigraph, where three letters make one sound, e.g., 'igh'.
Top Tip 5 - Sound buttons can be seen under all words for the first half of the game but not the second half. If a child struggles to identify digraphs, looking at the sound mat may help, as this helps to develop independence. If your child is finding it challenging to identify the sound / digraph using the sound mat, show and tell them the sound, and the word / picture that accompanies it, on the sound mat.
Top Tip 6 - When playing the word games, talk to your child about what the words mean. Understanding the meaning of words is equally as important as being able to read them.
Top Tip 7 - To extend the life of the games and to make them more complex, instead of just reading the words, ask your child to read the word, and say a sentence with the word in. E.g., In the Phase 5 Space Adventure you will see the word 'valley,' the child could say "We walked through a valley and it was surrounded by mountains."
Top Tip 8 - Playing the games every day will significantly enhance the chances of the sounds being stored in the long term memory. Make it part of your bedtime routine. It's calming, fun and educational.