If you search for “phonics videos” on YouTube, you’ll get an endless supply of phonics videos of questionable value.
Most of the phonics videos leave out the second, third, and fourth sounds that many letters in the English language make. This frustrates beginning readers because they constantly run into exceptions when they practice reading. To minimize this frustration, beginning readers need to be taught the full English code.
Another problem with many phonics videos is that they do not enunciate the consonant sounds in isolation as they should. Instead, they add a schwa vowel sound to the consonant. When kids think that every consonant letter ends with an “uh” sound, it becomes much harder for them to blend individual letter sounds into words. Simple words like “bat” become buh – a – tuh. Consequently, the word that the letters represent is lost on these kids.
The best phonics videos do not have these errors. In contrast, they:
1) Cover all the common sounds that a letter or phonogram can make.
2) Correctly enunciate each letter or phonogram.
3) Engage the viewer.
To help you easily access phonics videos that follow these three principles, I’ve created two phonics video playlists for you and shared my favorite individual phonics videos below.
Phonics video playlist for Story Hour Academy
The Story Hour Academy playlist features a series of phonics video lessons that will eventually cover the complete English code. It currently has a lesson for each of the single-sound consonants b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, t, v, w, and z. And, production has begun on the second section, which will cover 5 popular consonant digraphs: ch, ng, sh, th, and wh. All Story Hour Academy video lessons can be accessed from the official playlist on YouTube. Additionally, students can use the lessons area of this website to get related reading assignments and printables.
Phonics video playlist for Jolly Phonics
Jolly Phonics is a phonics program that has a completely different scope and sequence than Story Hour Academy. For instance, it does not initially introduce all the common sounds that a letter or phonogram can make. Where Story Hour Academy would introduce the hard c that makes the same sound as “k” and the soft c that makes the same sound as the “s” in song, the letter c video from Jolly Phonics only covers one sound. Jolly Phonics students must use a related program called Jolly Grammar to learn the soft c and other additional sounds that different letters and phonograms can make.
As a result, the only Jolly Phonics videos that meet my standards are the ones for letters and phonograms that make only one sound. The videos in this playlist are very complimentary to the Story Hour Academy curriculum because they provide another way for kids to learn the material by singing catchy tunes about letter and phonogram sounds. Use this Jolly Phonics playlist, maintained by Story Hour Academy, to get the “safe” Jolly Phonics videos.
Playlist for Mr. Thorne’s Phonics Videos
Mr. Thorne is an English teacher in Central London and an edtech entrepreneur. He’s been producing phonics videos, phonics apps, and educational resources since 2006. The following playlist curates Mr. Thorne’s phonics videos into an order that aligns with Story Hour Academy.
Other phonics videos to watch
There are some very innovative, under-recognized methods for teaching phonics. Some are really fun and others are really thorough. Here are the ones to keep an eye out for:
1) Wordy Word Reading
Wordy Word Reading is a program for beginning readers that’s both fun and thorough. It teaches all the common sounds of 72 phonograms and it teaches six syllable types. The program provides you with original songs for each phonogram and group of phonograms. Only a few of the Wordy Worm songs are on YouTube, so the best way to get the phonics videos that go with the program is to buy a DVD.
Here’s a video of a teacher using Wordy Worm songs to sing to her students about single-sound consonants:
2) Hunks and Chunks
My 6-year-old daughter goes to a school that uses Hunks and Chunks songs to teach phonics. The Hunks and Chunks cover the initial sound for all the letters and many of the phonograms. However, the songs do not cover second, third, or fourth sounds in a comprehensive way as far as I can tell. So, the Hunks and Chunks songs for the letters and phonograms that make just one sound are great. For everything else, kids using this would benefit from something more thorough.
Here’s a video of a teacher using Hunks and Chunks songs to sing to her students about a bunch of phonograms:
3) Logic of English
Phonics videos from The Logic of English are the best for crystal clear enunciation and complete coverage of all the letter sounds and phonogram sounds. Here’s a video of the program’s creator, Denise Eide, reviewing the letter sounds from a to z:
4) An alphabet song with all the letter sounds
This next video is from a mom who took her knowledge of all the letter sounds and modified the alphabet song. The end result is a really catchy way to teach the 1-4 sounds represented by each letter of the alphabet.
5) A phonics video based on The Spalding Method
A reading and writing program called The Spalding Method has a complete approach to letter and phonogram sounds. In the video below, a teacher from McKinney Independent School District goes through all the sounds for all the phonograms. She also does hand motions for each phonogram. When kids learn these hand motions, it can help them more easily memorize the connection between each phonogram and the sound or sounds that it makes.
6) Phonics video by Preschool Prep Compay
This last video has over 5 million views on YouTube and it covers all the common letter sounds for each letter of the alphabet. So, it’s that rare combination of a popular phonics video that meets the three standards listed above.
Which phonics videos will your kids learn from?
If your kids have the attentiveness to watch all the phonics videos linked above, let them go for it. It can be helpful for students to get the same information from multiple sources. Each source reinforces the others. That’s why I recommend that beginning readers use Story Hour Academy’s phonics videos, even if they’re already using a good phonics program.
What are you waiting for? Get started with Story Hour Academy here.