How to Teach Phonics at Home
TJ's Phonics Department:

  • What is Phonics?
  • Do I Need a Phonics Curriculum to Teach Phonics at Home?
  • Phonograms Resources - resources for teaching individual phonograms

What is Phonics?

"Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your kindergartner learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and your second-grader learns that “tion” sounds like /shun/ they are learning phonics." (PBS Parents)

After alphabet recognition, phonics is the first step towards learning to read. When I started homeshooling back in 1998, I had no clue how to teach my kids how to read. These were the days when the internet was still shiny and new so I turned to the library for help.  After weeks and weeks of searching through books with different methods to teach reading (some a little whacky)   I discovered several books on the subject of phonics. Boy did I hit the jackpot! Because after reading these books, I didn't feel so lost or hopeless anymore. I had some direction. And we were off on our road to reading!

I wish I could say from then on it was all smooth sailing. Some of my kids picked up phonics on the very first day. For others, it took a few months. For a few it took YEARS. But I highly believe that the best overall core method for teaching a child to read phonics.

Do I Need a Phonics Curriculum to Teach Phonics at Home?

Until my kids started virtual and charter homeschooling programs, I had always taught phonics on my own with materials from the internet or that I made myself.  You don't NEED to purchase a fancy, expensive curriculum. However, you do need to be organized, prepared and CONSISTENT.  I was always making up materials as we went along (and admittedly I still do) and that is difficult, so you should make sure that you are well prepared. If you aren't the type to make up your own material or don't want to spend countless hours searching for stuff, then buying a prepared curriculum is probably better, but again, you don't have to.  My phonics resources and information is really geared towards the "do it yourself" phonics approach as that is what I have the most experience with, but you can use the resources as supplements to a prepackaged curriculum as well.

  • Teaching Phonics on Your Own  - Here I lay out a simple overall plan for teaching phonics at home without a curriculum.
  • Simple Phonics Routine (this is a more streamlined explanation of the routine below)
  • Anatomy of our Phonics Routine ( I went into more detail in this routine)


A phonogram is a letter or letters that represent a sound. For example, "ee," "ay," and "a" are phonograms.

In this section, you will find resources for teaching specific phonograms.

If you would like a comprehensive listing of phonograms, I refer you to the Ultimate Phonics phonogram list, where you can download one of the best, organized phonogram lists that I have come across. I use it as a basis for my homeschool phonics.

5/2/18 - I have removed most of the links below as I am reorganizing the phonograms section this week in order to condense a bit for easier browsing, in shaa Allah. Sorry for the inconvenience. Plan to have them back up in the next few days or so, inshaa Allah.


Beginning Consonant Blends

Consonant Digraphs/Trigraphs

Digraph: A pair of letters (trigraph: 3 letters) representing a single speech sound, such as the "ph" in pheasant or the "ea" in beat.
  • ch/tch 
  • ck
  • sh
  • ng
  • ph
  • th
  • wh

Vowel Digraphs

  • ai, ay - Long A Sound
  • au, aw
  • ee, ea (1) - Long E Sound
  • ea (2) - Short E Sound
  • ei 
  • ey - Long A Sound
  • ie - Long I Sound
  • oi, oy
  • oo  (2 sounds)
  • ou
  • ow (2 sounds)
  • oe - Long O Sound
  • ue

 Silent Letters

Phonogram/Phonics Checklists

Use these to keep track of your progress as you teach them or for assessment

Decoding and Spelling Checklist
This one is my favorite! Very comprehensive; 5 pages; arranged by levels; includes sight words; (it is from Australia but I think can be used for any English speakers)

Quick and Simple Phonics Assessment - This Reading
This is a nice one as it contains sample words for each phonogram category to assess

Has boxes for checking off the phonograms 

Arranged into groups; kids can color in the squares as they learn the phonograms

Just a picture but nice foundation if you want to make your own

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