Phonics Rules for Parents (Reading And Spelling Edition)

This post is about Phonics Rules for parents.

When kids and adults learn to read, they’re connecting how words sound to how those sounds are represented by letters. Phonics instruction helps make those connections. Phonics instruction also teaches spelling patterns and spelling rules.

Learning common phonics patterns can help people become better readers and spellers. Here are some key phonics rules for parents you’ll want to know to help your kiddos become reading and spelling superstars!

Phonics Rules For Parents

  1. The Alphabet Basics
    Let’s start with the ABCs. Each letter has a unique sound. Knowing them helps build a strong foundation. They will be able to connect the letter sounds to the letters so that the word can be spelt according to the sound. This will make a good start.
  2. Consonants and Vowels
    Letters are either consonants (like b, c, d) or vowels (a, e, I, o, u). Vowels are extra special because they make the most important sounds. Every syllable of every word must have at least one vowel sound either as a stand-alone like the word ”u-nique” or surrounded by consonants like “can-teen”.
  3. Short and Long Sounds
    Vowels can make different sounds. The sounds they make depend on where they are in a word. Vowels do have two sounds—short (like in “cat”) and long (like in “cake”). The magic ‘e’ at the end of a word makes the vowel say its name!
  4. Sneaky Silent Letters
    Not all letters say their sound. Sometimes, they just chill quietly, like the ‘k’ in “knee” and the ‘b’ in ‘climb’.
  5. Silent E Superpower
    Then there is the silent ‘e’. The silent ‘e’ at the end of a word can turn a short vowel into a long one. When this ‘e’ is the last letter in a word, and there’s only one other vowel in that syllable, the first vowel in that syllable is usually long and the e is silent, as in ‘take’ and ‘side’. So like magic! Now “hop” turns into “hope.” This syllable pattern is called “vowel-consonant-e.” Some call this the “silent e” rule. Others call it the “magic e” rule. The e gives all its power to the other vowel and makes that vowel use its long sound.
  6. Two-Letter Friends (Digraphs)
    Some letters are BFFs and make a new sound when they’re together, like ‘sh’ and ‘ch’. So, “shop” sounds like “sh-op.” Digraph is actually a fancy word for two letters that represent one sound. In a digraph made of consonants, the two consonants work together to form a new sound. Some examples include chat, shop, this, and phone.
  7. Blend it Out (Consonant Blends)
    Consonant blends, however, are groups of two or more consonants stick or work together. But
    unlike digraphs, their individual sounds can still be heard as they’re blended together. Some
    examples are clap, tree, and scram.
  1. Crazy C Rule
    When ‘c’ hangs out with ‘a’, ‘o’, or ‘u’, it makes a hard “k” sound, like in “cat”. But with ‘e’ and ‘i’, it has soft sounds like “s”, as in “city” and in ‘cent’.
  2. Gentle G Rule
    Similar to ‘c’, ‘g’ also has different sounds. With ‘a’, ‘o’, or ‘u’, it sounds like a hard ‘g’ sound “gum”. With ‘e’ and ‘i’, it sounds like a soft ‘g’ in “giraffe”.
  3. Bossy R Rule
    When ‘r’ follows a vowel, it changes the sound. This rule is sometimes called “bossy r” because the r “bosses” the vowel to make a new sound. Think “car” and “cart.” It’s like ‘r’ is telling the vowel who’s in charge!
  4. Floss Rule or the “fszl” (fizzle) rule
    After a short vowel, if a word ends in ‘f’, ‘l’, ‘z’ or ‘s’, double it up! Like “bull”, “fluff” and “buzz.” Like all spelling rules there are exceptions like quiz and bus.
  5. Magic Y Rule
    ‘Y’ is a chameleon. It can be a consonant or a vowel, depending on its job in the word. In “yes,” it’s a consonant, and in “my,” it’s a vowel.
    More ‘Y’ confusion sets in. To make plural a word that ends in a vowel immediately followed by y, just add s, as in boy/boys. When y immediately follows a consonant, change the y to i and add es. Examples: family/families, and pony/ponies,
  6. Vowel Teams to Make Vowel Digraphs or Diphthongs
    In a vowel digraph, two vowels are side by side. The first vowel is long and says its name. The second vowel is silent, as in boat, paint, and beach. Sometimes, two vowels work together to form a new sound. This is called a diphthong. Examples include cloud and boil.
  7. Drop the E with ‘-ing’
    When words end with a silent e, drop the e before adding -ing. Examples: bike/biking, give/giving, and dodge/dodging. This rule also applies to other suffixes that start with vowels, like -ed, -er, -able, and -ous. Examples: grieve/grievous, excite/excitable, and hope/hoped.
  8. Plurals
    For most words, add s to make them plural, as in cat/cats. But when a singular word ends with s, sh, ch, x, or z, add es to make it plural, as in classes, brushes, and foxes.
  9. Prefixes and Suffixes
    Adding stuff before or after a word can change its meaning. Like “un-” makes things opposite, and “-er” means more. Some examples include ‘unfit’ and ‘unkind’ or ‘fatter’ and ‘fairer’.
  10. Sight Words
    Some words don’t play by the rules and need to be memorized for reading and spelling. These are super common and important. These words can be found on lists of sight words or high-frequency words.


So, there you have it! These phonics rules are like secret codes to unlock the world of reading and spelling. Keep it light, playful, and full of high-fives. Remember, practice makes perfect, and you’re doing an amazing job supporting your little ones on their reading and spelling journey.

If your child is struggling with reading or spelling, talk to the teachers or seek professional help. An extra scoop of phonics instruction could help your child catch up.

You may want to check us out at our Seriously Addictive English (S.A.E.) – Hougang at Blk 553 Hougang St 51 or call (or text) 8818-1891.

Book our complimentary diagnostic assessment and chat with us with regards any queries and apprehensions you may have with respect to how to nurture your child to learn to master the language and inculcate the love of reading and writing in the English language.

It all starts with PHONICS!

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