Which order should you teach sounds in phonics?

Which is the right order to teach your child the alphabet?

Well, that depends why you’re doing it.

If you’re teaching your child the alphabet has a preschooler so they’ll recognise the symbols ready for starting to learn phonics later on – then it’s okay to start with the letters of the child’s name or to start at A and work your way through.

But if you’re actually planning on starting phonics with your child – if you want them to be able to read words with the letters that you’re teaching them – then it’s better to take a more strategic approach.

The best order to teach letters and sounds

So what would that strategic approach look like?

Well it really means thinking ahead to the words your child will be able to read with the sounds you teach them.

It means that you’re going to choose to teach letters that will give you the most possible options of small, 3-letter words that you can teach your child to read.

Learning letters by themselves is great up to a point – but to feel like they’re starting to learn to read you want your child to quickly begin to read words.

Reading words brings a feeling of success and that’s a great motivator.

They ARE actually reading. They’re doing it. The can see and feel the learning happening – and it feels great.

And the easiest words to start off with are short three-letter consonant-vowel-consonant words like ‘pat’ or ‘sit’ – because they’re short and simple and they bring success quickly.

Here’s a quick video explanation…

Why you shouldn’t teach the letters from A-Z

And if you start teaching phonics ABCDEF your find that it goes grey until you start trying to get those six letters to make words.

Of course, there are some three letter words that you can make with them but not that many – definitely not as many as you can make if you teach strategically.

So to get your child reading proper words faster, start with the letters SATPIN.

Teach S A T P I N first

If you start with those six letters straight away you have many, many options of three letter words that you can teach your child to read such as sat and pin and pit and pat and nip and tip.

It’s very encouraging for your child to find so quickly that they can read this big list of words so start with those six letters and then move on in the order that’s given in the image below.

Does the EXACT order matter that much?

But maybe you’re wondering whether it’s super important to stick to an exact order when teaching phonics.

And you’re right – it’s not.

This order’s widely used but there are common phonics resources that use a slightly different order.

Does that mean you can’t use our dinosaur themed resources if your child’s started learning with a slightly different order of sounds?

Maybe they use a resource in school that’s set up in a different order. Does it matter?

If you choose to follow this order, or use these resources alongside another resource, you only need to keep the differences in mind when you decide which words to practise reading with your child.

Do they know all the sounds?

What’s next after SATPIN?

Once you’ve taught them those six letters and you can find ideas for how to teach letters in this blog post here, then you teach them to blend those six letters into words – and from there you are up and running with teaching phonics and it’s all about rinse and repeat.

You just need to keep introducing new letters, practising the familiar letters and sounds and practising words – and adding in more and more words as your child knows more and more letters and sounds.

We’ll go into the process of developing your child’s phonics knowledge to build them into a little reader in the next post.

Order of teaching letters for phonics list

This is the order I’ll be using for all Kiddiesaurus resources :

order to teach letters and sounds

More resources for teaching your child:

Here are some more ideas to help you teach your child to read.

How to teach your child the alphabet in 5 easy steps >>

Free printable lower case alphabet sheets >>

Letter S worksheets >>

5 essential pre-reading skills for reading success >>

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