Phonics and Hands-On Fun

In Learning Rivers, we use a Sound-to-Code approach, which means that we teach the sound that a letter makes while teaching the letter. This is similar to the way a child learns animals and their sounds. "The cow says 'moo." "The 'a' says /a/."

How to Pronounce Learning Rivers Sounds

We will be writing SOUNDS in a different pattern than LETTERS. 

SOUNDS will be marked like this: /f/
This means the SOUND of “f” which we hear in the word fluff as well as phone. This may or may not mean the letter, “f.”

When we mention a sound, we will also mention a common word to go with it as shown below.

/a/ as in apple

/b/ as in bat

/k/ as in cat, kit, kick

/d/ as in doughnut and dipper

/e/ as in exercise

/f/ as in fluff

/g/ as in girl

/h/ as in hop

/i/ as in itch

/j/ as in jump

/l/ as in lollipop 

/m/ as in mountains

/n/ as in noodle

/o/ as in “say /o/” (pronounced “ah”)

/p/ as in ping pong

/r/ as in rip 

/s/ as in snake

/t/ as in top

/u/ as in upside down

/v/ as in valley

/w/ as in water

/y/ as in yes

/z/ as in zipper

Pho/nemes: When educators refer to separate sounds in words, we use the word “phoneme.” A phoneme is a separate sound within a spoken pattern. We are teaching phoneme awareness in many of our exercises and drills in Trickles Reading.

Picture Letters

Learning Rivers also uses visual cues right on the letter to help the child remember the sound that the letter makes. We turned the letter "a" into an apple, the letter "b" is a bat pushing a ball, and the letter "d" is a doughnut with a dipper. This helps the child differentiate between a "b" or a "d" without thinking about it. Each level comes with Picture Letter flash cards in the back of each book for you to cut out and practice with over and over as needed.

Each Picture Letter flash card also has just the letter on the back, so you can practice sounds with or without the picture. We have made them the size of a business card so that you can make words on the table using your picture letter cards and allow your child to master their sounds before moving on to harder sounds and words. (see below)

Using Picture Letters along with fun activities will help to eliminate learning struggles such as dyslexia, and help with reading, writing and spelling.

Buy Learning Rivers!

Phonics Games and Hands-on Fun!

Word Fun:
Make-a-Picture Letter Word

Pick out the picture letter cards that you child knows. Place them on the table and make words with the flash cards. Move them around on the table, and make new words by changing only one letter at a time, “cat,” “cad,” “cod,” “cot,” pot,” etc...

Spelling Fun: 

Slap –Clap Game: Everyone claps together around a circle or as a pair. Slap your lap, clap your hands back and forth. The first person spells a word by sound and the next person names the word to the beat. Speak the sound as you slap, then clap.
/b/-clap, /a/-clap, /t/-clap, slap-clap – next person says: “BAT!” Then that person spells another word back. /th/-clap /a/ -clap /t/-clap – slap-clap – “THAT”.... Try to keep to the rhythm while each person spells and speaks. Points are earned when a word is said correctly. (Variations: add the metronome)

Ball Toss Spelling: Toss the ball back and forth as you spell a word by sound or by letter names. (Variations: add the metronome)

Pick a letter, make a word. Take Scrabble Game letters in a dark bag. Pick out letters from the bag to make words. To begin, pull three letters and make a word if you can. After your first turn pull one more letter to add to your set. Then each turn make as many new words as you can. Write your new words on paper. Count one point for each letter in each word. You only get points for new words.

Sound out baseball: Pitch a set of sounds or letters to the batter. If he can say the word which was spelled, he runs to the base. If only one child plays, he gets to make a home run on each word. If more play, have the children move around the bases with each word pitched.

Spelling baseball: same as above but the pitcher speaks the word and the student must spell the word pitched in order to run the bases.

Hidden Treasures: Make-a-word building game
How many words can you build from one small word? Make as many words as you can from one small word. One point for each letter in your word. .. the bigger, the better.
The leader gives the word “all”: The players can make the following words which each contain the base word “all.” (tall, taller, ball, ballboy, call, calling, caller, called, etc...) Note: young children will need help to spell out the words, but they can still speak them and get their points.

Rhyme a Word: Say a word and make up every rhyming word you can.

If your child needs more practice:

Write the words and sounds very large
Write them on a white board or large piece of paper. (Turn the paper sideways and write one word per page.) Use bright colors to display the new sounds you are learning. Keep your color-words in a notebook for more practice and drill.

Build a sound and new words with letters from an alphabet puzzle
Build your new words with magnetic letters on the refrigerator.
Make words on the table with your picture letter flash cards.

Hands-on fun:
Build your new sounds with your fingers.
Draw letters
Build letters with clay
Trace letters in a tray of salt or sugar
Draw letters with your fingers in pudding or finger paint
Build letters with wiki-sticks (sticky bendable strings)