Whether you’re a parent looking for phonics resources to help your child’s learning at home, or you’re a teacher looking for some useful resources to recommend to parents: we’ve searched, trialed and tested LOTS of phonics books, online programmes and workbooks and have whittled down our list to our current favourite phonics resources here:
Online Programmes and Games
- Reading Eggs – This is an absolutely brilliant resource, I can’t stress this enough. Created by a group of primary school teachers, Reading Eggs is multi-award winning learning programme that helps children learn to read using Phonics. What makes it particularly appealing to kids it its fun and basically like a series of phonics games! When your child finish each activity they receive ‘eggs’ an they can use these eggs to play games on Reading Eggs and also to dress their own little avatar and furnish it’s house!
- Phonics Heroes– We’ve really enjoyed discovering Phonics Heroes. It’s an online programme that helps children learn phonics through fun activities. What’s lovely about it is its based around an exciting story that children can feel part of. They are introduced to Super Hero Zach and told they need to help him rescue his Super Hero friends from Dr Lazy Bones and the way to do this is to complete each activity! What a fantastic incentive! Each activity is really varied and fun and feels like they are just playing a game.
- Phonics Bloom – You may remember a while back we reviewed Phonics Bloom (read the full review here) and it’s still one of our favourite online phonics programmes. It’s great value for money (in fact some of the games are free!) and it has games split into the various phonics phases, so you can select which phase your child is on and choose a game to suit it.
We regularly get asked for recommendations of reading books and understandably so, as it can be really hard to choose books to suit your child’s reading age/level as well as their interests. Here are a selection of our current favourite Reading Books:
- Reading Stars Phonics Readers and Reading Stars Plus Phonics Books – These reading books by Ransom Publishers are absolutely excellent and I’d highly recommend. The Reading Stars Books are phonics reader books that support phonics phases 2-4 of the government’s Letters and Sounds Phonics programme. They are beautifully illustrated, fun and engaging books aimed at children in Year 1. They also have a series of Book Banded reader books for all primary years. The Reader Stars Plus books are designed for older children aged 10-14 who may be struggling with reading. What makes them particularly brilliant is although the words are easier to read and suitable for children with a lower reading age, the books are designed with an interest age of 10-14. So children and teens won’t feel like they are having to read ‘babyish’ books because of their ability. They can be found on Ransom Publisher’s website and some of them, for example the Goal! series are on amazon here.
- Biff, Chip and Kipper – Biff, Chip and Kipper have become almost synonymous with learning to read, and with good reason. Their simple, yet engaging texts and relatable characters make them ideal for beginner readers.
- Bob Books – These are fantastic and if you’ve not heard about Bob Books before, please check them out. There’s lots of different sets to work through, but the beginning readers books are for children who are just beginning to learn to read, who know the sounds the letters make but haven’t yet read a book. The pages are simple, the words short (3 letter words only) and can be sounded out if a child knows the letter sounds and therefore these books are fantastic for morale building – giving children their first opportunity to read a book all by themselves to their grown up!
- Fairy Tales- Reading with Phonics– We are a little bit in love with these sparkly, fairy tale books! The stories are exciting and funny but what makes them extra special is how each book has a different letter sound to focus on. Throughout the book they include the key letter sound regularly and highlight it within words in a red font colour. Fantastic for children who are getting more confident with Phonics and will relish being stretched to prefect all the phonemes!
- DK Reader Books – I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit obsessed with these books for supporting children to learn to read. And what makes them stand out is the array of topics they cover and how they have non-fiction as well as fiction. In fact they appear to have everything covered from dinosaurs to star wars! Have a look at their huge range here.
Workbooks Books and Resources
– Phase 1 Phonics Activity Pack– packed full of activities to help build a child’s foundations ready for learning to read and write, this downloadable, great value (£3.75!) activity pack is really fun and play based. Find out more and download here
- Phase 2 Phonics Activity Pack– For children at reception level, this play based (great value) activity pack can be downloaded here.
- Phase 3 & 4 Phonics Activity Pack – For children working at reception and year 1 level. Play-based, great value activity pack to download here.
- Phase 5 Phonics Activity Pack– For children working at year 1 level. Again, it’s play-based and great value. Can be downloaded here.
- Alphabetic Phonics Skills E- Books by Phonics International – Phonics International have been extremely generous in providing a whole range of excellent and very practical phonics resources for FREE on their website due to the COVID-19 Pandemic! How lovely is this? We were absolutely amazed to discover their fantastic resources, including the wonderful Alphabetic Phonics Skills E-Books that are free to download. These E-Books (as with the other resources) use Systematic Synthetic Phonics to support children in learning to read, write and spell. The books are brilliant and so logical. They introduce new sounds and graphemes and then provide opportunities to practise writing and reading words and sentences with these new sounds in. Head over to their website here.
- Phonics for Pupils with Special Educational Needs– Another fantastic website full of brilliant Phonics resources is this website by Ann Sullivan. She’s created an array of amazing resources to help support parents and teachers of children with Special Educational Needs when teaching them to read and write using phonics. I found it really difficult to pick just one resource to recommend as they are so many brilliant ones (many of which are free on her TES shop!) But I’d recommend downloading her free Home books, Spelling workbooks and ‘My Story’ Stories. ‘My ‘Story’ Stories’ are genius- they are decodable reader books that you can personalise yourself with images, to make the main character of the book more relevant to your child. This may be particularly useful if your child has a specific special interest that you want to use to help engage them. Find these here on her TES shop.
- Read Write Inc My Reading And Writing Kit (Early Sounds and Blending)– We adore this kit, it’s based on Ruth Miskin’s ‘Read, Write, Inc’ Program and contains various resources (display letters, handwriting booklet, whiteboard pen, parent handbook etc) to support you in helping your child with the early stages of phonics. The activities are fun and what I’ve found it is it helps children who may struggle with letter reversals learn the differences in the formation of the letters.
- Hot Dots Lets Learn Phonics– We love this resource. It comes complete with 3 (varying difficulty) books and a funny, talking pen! Children press the pen on the correct answer dot on each page and it tells them if they have got the answer right! Questions include distinguishing the correct phoneme at the start, middle and end of a word. Great for children who like independence in their learning!
- Sight Word Splat– We love this game from Learning Resources UK. Great for practising reading and recognising sight words! The aim of the game is simply to splat them! The added fly swats make it particularly appealing to kids!
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