Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints: Phonics

fridays hardwired homeschool hints pic

So I had a whole other post idea ready for this week’s HHH, but, the Sesame Street 40th anniversary has really done a nostalgic number on me. 

Which number you say?  Well, the number THREE, of course…ah, ah, ahhh!!  (I used to love the Count and be terrified of him all at the same time!!)  I had this Fisher Price Sesame Street playset, and I would always make sure that the little figurine of the Count was poked deep inside the little Sesame Street garbage truck – – with the little plastic doors closed – – before I went to sleep at night. 


This trip down memory lane made me think back to all the wonderful ways we studied phonics when the boys were younger.  We definitely watched our share of Sesame Street episodes, but we also found all kinds of other creative ways to have fun with letter sounds. We created letter sound “hopscotch” on our front sidewalk, listened to phonics songs, and played phonics board games.

Of course now, there are also plenty of great online and software-based phonics helps.  One of my fave of all time is a program called Read Write & Type.  It addresses multiple learning styles at once, by teaching phonics, reading, writing AND keyboarding in one seamless program.

Another terrific site that unfortunately came along after my boys were past the beginning phonics stage was Starfall.  This free program is one of the very best programs I’ve ever seen for introducing phonics in a fun, non-threatening, go-at-your-own-pace kind of way.

And speaking of Sesame Street, one of PBS Kids other flagship shows, Between the Lions, has a terrific website with some really engaging phonics games, activities, and printables.

I can’t forget to mention Time4Learning’s preschool program either, which has been completely revamped and created with all new activities this year.  When I was in FL in July, I even got to read for one of the interactive stories in the new curriculum, so if your kids use the program, don’t be surprised if you hear my southern “twang” from the computer! 

And not to leave out you iPhone’ers, there are of course multiple phonics apps coming out just for your portable needs.  One I think shows real promise for its interactivity is Alphabet Air, which is designed for even the youngest of toddlers who are showing interest in letters and letter sounds.

If you have any favorite phonics software programs, websites, or mobile applications, how about sharing them in the comments?

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