MI Monday | Learning Phonics on Mobile Phones

Welcome to MI Monday I Week-4

In last three weeks, we shared a ‘bundle’ of micro-innovations for ‘creative classroom’ teaching which can help children to stay motivated and be more engaged in learning.

This week we share with you another creative micro-innovation to help children learn phonics on mobile phones. The common belief that children will naturally master the different sounds of human speech since the ability to use language is innate in every human being may be plausible but not necessary. Understanding phonics helps children to learn to spell words, improve reading skills, efficiency and fluency, acquire more vocabulary, and develop confidence in being more vocal.

The micro-innovation shared below describes the story of a teacher who uses mobile phone to teach phonics to students.


Babul Uloom is a Madrassa school that has been taken over by 2 Teach For India Fellows. The school currently has a building but little else and is looking to grow. The community is mostly Muslim and the students are from some of the poorest neighbourhoods in East Delhi. The teachers are young and belong to the community. The school has faced some pressure in its endeavours as it tries to modernise education in the area.

Problem statement

Sadaf had some experience in using the phonics method to teach reading but Babul Uloom does not currently have sufficient money to purchase the resources that are typically used in teaching phonics, for instance televisions/ computers, or expensive textbooks.

Micro-innovation description

To overcome the lack of technology, Sadaf has loaded phonics songs (which are freely available online) into her mobile phone and has adapted her teaching so it is easy to use them in class without any other equipment.

Why interesting

Phonics is recognised as a very effective method of teaching reading. Sadaf is making use of mobile technology to support the teaching of phonics without requiring additional expensive resource. The added benefit is that, through the use of the mobile phone, students are required to listen very carefully to the sounds they are learning to decode and read.

Potential implementation challenges

Teachers will require access to a mobile phone capable of playing music (or an alternative music player) and, to be most effective, a good training in teaching phonics (although some of the songs may be of some benefit anyway).

Impact so far (according to teacher)

Sadaf reports that the children are very much enjoying learning using the phonics songs and that their reading is improving quickly. She is keen to work with STIR to further refine her teaching.

Download the implementation guide for Learning Phonics on Mobile Phone. Go Get Creative!!

STIR Education

STIR Education

STIR is a UK based charity working in developing countries ( India and Africa) to improve quality of school education by working with teachers in the poorest schools in the region.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. The advancements in technology give us so many more options for teaching children. It really is a great age to live in for education. we have so much more at the tip of our fingers these days.

  1. October 1, 2013

    […] the micro innovations article published this week (MI | Learning Phonics on Mobile Phones) , we featured Sadaf, an elementary school teacher, who used her cell phone as a multimedia device […]

%d bloggers like this: