Phonics is the simple process of learning to read through the association of letters and sounds. For example, teaching a child that "tion" sounds like "shun" or "ture" sounds like "cher" is using phonics to teach reading skills. In other words, phonics teaches children about those actual phonetic elements of many common words so that when they come across larger words during reading that have those elements, pronouncing the word will be that much easier.
Phonics is typically taught starting in kindergarten, and then children advance through higher levels of phonics, incorporating larger letter combinations, in higher grades throughout grammar school. All of the phonics games offered by Sadlier-Oxford Phonics aid students in remembering those phonetics. Because phonics is organized into grade levels, the Sadlier-Oxford games area is split into sections for each grade level, from Pre-K all the way up to grades 5 and 6.
Main Page of Salider-Oxford Games
There are a number of great games to choose from, and each phonics activity incorporates some aspect of phonics literacy education. Games and activities include memory cards, word games, vowel sounds, synonyms, homonyms and much more. In the higher grades you'll spot some fun games like "Dino Hunters" or "Future City."
In the Pre-K and Kindergarten area, you may wonder why a few of the games are considered a "phonics" activity. For example, memory cards don't seem to have any phonetics at all. However, the truth is that each of these games introduces a very small phonics literacy skill to students in very subtle ways. In some cases it may be as simple as object recognition and memory, but in other cases, such as with the Alphabet Zoo, the phonics element is much more obvious.
Alphabet Zoo Game
In the Alphabet Zoo game, an animal gets off of the train, and the narrator says the animal, such as alligator or bear, and the first letter of that word appears next to the animal. The student must identify the matching upper case letter. Clearly, in this game the student is learning several important skills including how to recognize lowercase and uppercase letters, what the first letter of these words are, and most importantly what those single letters sound
Long Vowel Sounds
As students progress into Grade 1, the focus becomes primarily understanding vowel sounds and high frequency words. Just about every phonics activity in this section is focused in some way on long or short vowel sounds, such as the activity above where the student must identify both the object and the word that has a long vowel sound.
In the Grade 2 section, the level of phonics learning obviously increases a little more. In this section, students learn more complex phonics such as digraphs, diphthongs, suffixes, consonants and more. The example above the Final Consonant Digraph" activity where the student must recognize the ending letters of the word. This forces the student to sound out the word for the image, and associate the sound of the end of the word with the letter choices.
Fly By Contractions
Of course not everything is all about selecting the correct answer - some activities are clearly a "game," such as the Fly By Contractions game. In this activity, the student must quickly click on the correct two-word equivalent of a contraction. This is more like an arcade game than a learning exercise.
Ski Lodge Vacation
Moving up into grades 3-4, the activities get a little bit more involved, but also more creative. The Ski Lodge vacation game is a perfect example - where the student must match the word that has the matching vowel sound. Although a few of the games may come across as cheaply done with mediocre graphics, the methods used in these games to teach phonics in a fun and entertaining way are skillfully done. Many of the interactive images and videos are of high enough quality to keep any child's interest.
The Analogy Challenge
As the child graduates into grades 5-6, the activities clearly become more challenging. Some of the games are impressive, and more IQ test than simple learning exercise - such as the Analogy Challenge where the student must complete the list of analogies with the last matching term.
Fish Tanks 2
Another example of these higher level games is the Fish Tanks 2 activity where the student must type in the plural version of a word to fill the fish tank at the top of the screen with more fish. These aren't simple words to figure out either - such as fungus, ox and shrimp! Hint - sometimes a word can be both singular and
Again - at the higher levels, these phonics games are not only phonetic teaching tools, they sometimes push the student to comprehend complex linguistics that many people struggle with their whole lives due to not properly learning it as a child.
Not all literacy educators agree that phonics is the best literacy tool out there, but most do agree that it makes up an important part of the literacy education toolbox. There is no question that the phonics activities offered at the Sadlier-Oxford website will definitely help to create better readers.
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