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Give Your Child a Phonics Check-up

Welcome back to Read Not Guess.


How is your child’s reading progressing? Can they recognize the letters and the sounds they make? Can they blend those sounds into words, without pictures or any other context clues?


Let’s get started.


Rhyming Test


This is a speaking test. Say each word pair. Ask your child if the words end with the same sound (rhyme).


nudge/ grudge

rank/ bank

barn/ corn

boys/ noise

road/ cone

pain/ stain


Sound Subtraction


This is a speaking test. You’re going to say a word, and then ask your child to subtract a sound from the original word to make a new (shorter) one.


It’s important for kids to hear how words change when you add, subtract, or change sounds. It helps them hear the individual sounds in words and understand that different sound combinations convey different meanings.


Read your child the questions and see if they can come up with the answers:


Question: What word do you get when you remove “ship” from “spaceship?”

Answer: space


Question: What word do you get when you remove “set” from “sunset?”

Answer: sun


Question: What word do you get when you remove “rise” from “sunrise?”

Answer: sun


Question: What word do you get when you remove “mail” from “mailbox?”

Answer: box


Question: What word do you get when you remove “night” from “midnight?”

Answer: mid


Now try some harder ones:


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “mmm” sound from “march?”

Answer: arch


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “c” from “clap?”

Answer: lap


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “t” from “stack?”

Answer: sack


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “sss” from “sleep?”

Answer: leap


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “r” from “bread?”

Answer: bed


Question: What word do you get when you remove the “n” from “snail?”

Answer: sail


If your child struggled with any of these, go back and have them do it again. Repeated practice is good for kids.


(Note that this is a game you can play anywhere. Try it at the dinner table, in the car, or anytime you’re waiting around.)


Letter Quiz


We’ve worked through all 26 letters so far, plus a lot of combination sounds. Let’s check for understanding. Ask your child to say the correct sounds as they point to the letters:


qu

er

ee

oi

ai

ay

ur


Word Practice


Now we’re going to work on “blending” letter sounds into words. Your child can start slowly by saying each sound individually, but each time, they should try to say it just a bit faster.


Ask your child to say the correct sounds as they point to the letters:


wh ite

white


Did they get it right? If they're reading it as "whuh-eye-tuh" by the end of the sequence, have them do it faster until they are reading the word "white" correctly. Let’s do some more:


t ake

take


And:


use d

used


And:


c oat

coat


And:


puz zle

puzzle


Now a few harder ones:


br aid ed

braided


And:


d ice d

diced


And:


str etched

stretched


And:


br oil ed

broiled


Play the “Round the Table” Game


This is another speaking game you can play anywhere. Start by saying a word. The next person has to say a word that starts with the ending sound. For example, if someone says "cat," the next person has to think of a word that starts with a "t."


Note that sometimes you might need to use the last syllable and not just the last sound. For example, if someone says the word "index," the next person might use the word "extra."


But feel free to make up your own adjustments. There’s no “winner” in this game, so just keep playing until your child gets tired of it.


That’s it for now. Happy reading!


P.S. If you want to see if your child is performing on grade level, try the 3-5 question “Readiness Check” from Learning Heroes.


P.P.S. If you’re looking for more free practice activities, check out the free learning materials from Nessy.com, especially this printable phonics sound card for your child to practice.

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