Third Grade Reading: Phonics

Michigan's third grade reading law focuses on building five elements of reading: phoenemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and expression. Although the names of these elements might sound complex, they are straight-forward concepts that you probably understand and practice already! ELPL is here to help support you in all five elements, from understanding what goes into them, ideas on how to practice and develop them, and special ways the library can support you and your child.

What is phonics?

Phonics is the ability to understand the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent. This includes recognizing letters, the sounds that certain print patterns represent, and syllable patterns and word parts (like prefixes, suffixes, and root words).

How can we practice it?

Here are some great ways to practice phonics:

  • Practice the alphabet! Point out letters when you see them and ask your child what sounds they make
  • Make flashcards with letters on one side and the sounds they make on the other to practice with
  • Have your child draw letters as you make their sounds -- try doing it in a fun new way, like using fingerpaints or writing in sand or shaving cream
  • Point out words that begin with the same letter as your child's name (for example, John and jump). Talk about how the beginning sounds of the words are alike
  • Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound
  • Practice "blending" -- sounding out words by saying each letter sound separately (for example, sss-aaa-t for sat) and then put them together

Find a full list of activities here: Read at Home Tools.

How does the library support it?

As a print-rich environment, the library is the perfect place to point out letters wherever you see them (in books, on signs, in the children's area, and more). Check out children's alphabet books, point out letters and talk about their sounds, and use our art supplies to practice making letters!

Do you have book recommendations to help with phonics?

Find a booklist here!

Kids Books for Phonics

List created by EvaELPL

Children's books to help develop phonics (the ability to understand the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent), one of the key elements of early literacy.






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