How to practise phonics with a small group using flashcards

Written on 10th May, 2023

There are four ways that children have a preference of learning – Visual, Audible, Tactile and Kinaesthetic learning. So by teaching phonics to an individual, you can be selective in the activities that you create and tailor it to their strengths. But how exactly do you practise phonics with a small group using flashcards?

If you’re not yet familiar with the world of phonics, phonics is the study of the sounds of the letters and how they are used to form complete words. Phonics flashcards can be a particularly helpful tool to practise phonics with a small group. Here are some steps you can follow to practise phonics with flashcards:

1. Choose the flashcards

Start by using a selection of flashcards that correspond to the sounds or letters you want to focus on. The Happy Little Doers Phonics Flashcards, are split into 6 sound groups, specifically designed to help support teachers and parents with the stages of phonics development.

2. Introduce the flashcards

Start by showing the flashcards to the group and asking them to name the animal, activity or object on the card. This will help them get familiar with the vocabulary associated with each card. By using this as an activity within a group setting, it can also really encourage peer-to-peer learning by children seeing and hearing each other collectively relating to the card correctly.

3. Practise identifying the sound

Once the animal, activity or object has been recognised, focus on the letter associated with each flashcard. Repeat the name of the animal, activity or object on the card and ask the group to identify the sound they hear at the beginning (or end) of the word. You can also ask them to individually identify other words that have the same sound.

4. Practise blending

Once the group is familiar with the individual sounds, you can practise blending them together to form words. You can do this by displaying two or more flashcards and asking the group to sound out the individual sounds and blend them together to form the word.

Phonics Flashcards Learn Letter Sounds with Happy Little Doers

Teaching phonics in a fun way

Flashcards can also be used to play games that reinforce phonics skills. Remember to keep the activities fun, engaging and the right duration to maintain the group’s interest, motivation and help build resilience. With consistent practise, phonics flashcards can be a particularly effective tool to help children improve their phonics skills.

Teaching phonics in a fun and engaging way can help children develop their reading and spelling skills more effectively. Here are some ideas for making phonics instruction enjoyable:

Use games and activities

Incorporate interactive games and hands-on activities to make phonics learning more enjoyable. Examples include word bingo, phonics board games, word scavenger hunts or what’s the password (reading a simple word set up in a flashcard stand and being rewarded).

Phonics songs and rhymes

Introduce catchy songs and rhymes that focus on specific phonics sounds and illustrations on the selected phonics flashcards. This can help children remember and internalize the sounds associated with different letters and letter combinations. A great activity for audible learning.

Multi-sensory approach

Engage multiple senses by using tactile materials like magnetic letters, letter tiles, or sandpaper letters. Encourage children to trace and feel the letters whilst looking at the flashcards and saying the corresponding sounds. A great activity for tactile learning.

Phonics Flashcards and wooden flashcard holder by Happy Little Doers


Read aloud books that emphasize phonics patterns. Look for books that have repetitive or rhyming words, as they can reinforce phonetic concepts. Encourage children to identify words with specific sounds as you read. A great activity for audible learning.

Word building activities

Provide opportunities for children to build words using the phonics flashcards. Start with simple three-letter words and gradually progress to more complex words. Encourage them to sound out each letter and blend them together to form words. A great activity for kinaesthetic learning.

Teaching phonics in a fun way

Role-playing and pretend play

Incorporate phonics into role-playing activities. For example, set up a pretend grocery store where children can label items with their corresponding initial sounds. This makes learning phonics more contextual and engaging.

Phonics scavenger hunt

Hide objects or picture cards around the room that have names beginning with different phonics sounds. Provide children with clues or sounds and have them search for the corresponding items.

Phonics Treasure Hunt

Personalized activities

Tailor phonics activities to children’s interests and hobbies. For example, if a child loves animals, focus on animal-related words and sounds during phonics lessons.

Remember to keep the activities varied and age-appropriate, allowing children to learn at their own pace while enjoying the process. Making phonics instruction fun can create a positive and engaging learning environment, fostering a love for reading and language development.

Why are flashcards effective in phonics

Flashcards are one of the best ways for children to learn phonics and here’s several reasons why:

Visual reinforcement

Phonics flashcards provide a visual representation of letters, letter combinations, or words, which helps children associate the visual form of the text with its corresponding sound. This visual reinforcement can enhance the learning process for children who ar stronger with visual learning and help children remember phonics patterns more effectively.

Focus on individual phonics elements

Phonics flashcards allow educators to isolate specific phonics elements, such as individual letters, letter sounds, or phonetic patterns. By focusing on these elements, it allows children to focus on and practise one sound or pattern at a time, reducing any likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and gaining a better understanding into phonics and word structuring.

Repetition and practise

Phonics flashcards provide an opportunity for repeated exposure and practise of phonics concepts. Repetition is crucial for reinforcing learning and building fluency. By using flashcards, children can repeatedly practise identifying and saying the sounds associated with letters or letter combinations, helping them internalize the phonics rules.

Quick and efficient review

Flashcards in general are a portable and convenient tool for quick review sessions. Educators can use flashcards to review phonics concepts during short periods, such as transition times or waiting periods, maximizing instructional time.

Self-paced learning

Flashcards can be used for self-paced learning, allowing children to work independently. They can go through the flashcards at their own pace, practising and reviewing phonics concepts according to their individual needs and progress.


Flashcards can be used in various activities and games, making phonics instruction more engaging and interactive. Educators can design games, such as matching or sorting activities, where children use flashcards to identify and categorize words based on specific phonics patterns.

Incremental learning

Flashcards can be organized progressively, starting with simple phonics concepts and gradually introducing more complex ones. This incremental approach allows children to build upon their existing knowledge and skills, fostering a systematic and structured learning experience.

It’s important to acknowledge that while the flashcards themselves are a useful tool in phonics instruction, they should be used to include interactive, hands-on activities to provide a well-rounded learning experience. Balancing different teaching methods ensures children receive a comprehensive phonics education as well as helping them to identify their preferred way of learning.

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