How to use Hot Dots® to support learning phonics at home!

How to use Hot Dots® to support learning phonics at home!
Reading Time: 4 minutes

This summer we’re on a mission to keep children’s brains engaged, helping them to develop key skills in important learning areas. This week we’re focusing on phonics! We’ve teamed up with Kerri Hibberd, a Teacher and Phonics Coordinator with 11 years experience, to find out more about phonics and how to support this area of learning at home.


What is Phonics?

Words are made up of small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children learn to read and spell words. As the English language is so tricky and complex it could be referred to as a code. Phonics teaches children how to break this code by learning the easier bits first before progressing onto the more complex phonemes and sounds.


There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a significant impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as guided reading and shared reading that help children develop all the other vital reading skills, while hopefully giving them a real love of reading.

Phonemes and Graphemes 


What is blending?

We teach children to read by teaching them how to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge these sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read and is the skill that is tested during the phonics screening test at the end of year 1 at school.


How can I practise phonics with my children at home?

The best way to practise phonics is to make learning fun and ensure they know and can pronounce all their phonemes and sounds correctly. Learning Resources have some fantastic products to support learning through play that I myself am using with my own daughter. Hot Dots® Let’s Learn! Phonics is a self-checking activity that your child can use independently and there are extra books available to extend their learning further.

Hot Dots Let's Learn! Jolly Phonics Set

EI-9289 Hot Dots Let’s Learn! Jolly Phonics Set 


What is Hot Dots®?

Hot Dots® is a unique self-checking system designed to build children’s confidence and support classroom learning. Sets cover a range of skills from early learning and maths to literacy and phonics. Just press the Hot Dots® pen to the answer dot on the activity card for an immediate response including colourful lights, fun phrases and even silly sounds! The pen flashes green lights with encouraging sounds and phrases for correct answers and red lights with gentle redirection for incorrect answers.

Original Talking Hot Dots Pen   Hot Dots® Ace the Talking, Teaching Dog Pen Hot Dots Jolly Phonics Inky Mouse Talking Pen

EI-9254 Original Hot Dots® Pen       

EI-2350 Hot Dots® Ace the Talking, Teaching Dog Pen®      

EI-9040 Hot Dots® Inky Mouse Talking Pen


Hot Dots® Jolly Phonics

This phonics specific range of Hot Dots® has been developed in collaboration with Jolly Learning, the founding company of Jolly Phonics teaching framework. It has a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. Sets feature engaging cards with colourful illustrations of familiar characters.

Hot Dots Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds Practice Cards

EI-9255 Hot Dots® Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds Practice Cards


Hot Dots® PhonicBooks™

By teaming up with the phonics specialists at PhonicBooks™ this range complements their highly successful Dandelion readers range! Each card features multiple choice questions to answer using any of the self-checking Hot Dots® pens!

Hot Dots PhonicBooks Dandelion Readers Vowel Spellings Cards

EI-9390 Hot Dots® PhonicBooks™ Dandelion Readers Vowel Spellings Cards


Hot Dots® Jr.

Introduce key early learning skills with these colourful activity sets. Each set includes 36 double-sided cards with self-checking activities that help to develop age-appropriate skills from problem solving and science to the alphabet and phonics.

 Hot Dots Jr. Beginning Phonics Card Set

EI-2352 Hot Dots® Jr. Beginning Phonics Card Set


See it in action!



*Find out more about Hot Dots® and discover more ideas to keep them learning over the summer!