Surfing the Net with kids: Phonics

By Barbara Feldman
October 2, 2009

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Phonics is a widely used method of teaching children to read. It is based on connecting sounds of spoken English with the letters that represent those sounds. Today’s websites stand at the intersection of education and recreation, using games to reinforce phonetic concepts.

Fun Fonix

With phonics games, phonics worksheets, and reading and spelling games, Fun Fonix is, you guessed it, all about phonics! The activities and printables are organized into an introduction (to hard consonants and short vowels) and three printable books: short vowels, digraphs, and long vowels with a silent “e.’’ The e-books are supplemented with a worksheet maker that includes spelling, reading, word search, phonics mazes, bingo boards, and crossword puzzles.

GameGoo: Educational Games

Earobics is a K-3 “reading intervention’’ product from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. GameGoo is the free, online educational practice game component. For a list of educational standards addressed in each game (such as identifying the letters in words), follow the Home button to the Teachers & Parents link. The games are arranged on the menu from advanced (the pink row) to beginner (the blue row.) Unfortunately, a few of the beginner games didn’t load for me, and that’s why I didn’t award GameGoo the five-star rating they would otherwise deserve.

Sadlier-Oxford: Phonics Student Online Components

These phonics games from Sadlier-Oxford are organized by grade level for students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade. To play the games, you’ll need to turn off your pop-up blocker for the site, because each game pops open a new browser window. Concepts reinforced in the games include short and long vowels, consonant blends, suffixes, dipthongs, contractions, and homonyms. For teachers and home-schoolers, there are professional development videos on how and why to teach phonics, discussed by literacy professionals in a round-table format. Phonics

Although lacking a pretty interface, SoftSchools has a nice collection of interactive phonics flashcards and phonics worksheet generators. The flashcards come in two flavors: uppercase and lowercase. On the first side of the virtual card is a three-letter word; click “flip’’ to see a picture of the object. The worksheet maker produces printable activity sheets for short vowels, long vowels, matching words, beginning sounds, and ending sounds.