In a nutshell
The letter ‘p’ generally can be relied upon to be pronounced in its usual ‘p is for pig’ fashion. The main exception to this is when it is paired with an ‘h’ to form an ‘f’ sound, such as in ‘phone’ and ‘photo’.
Letter p song
If your child likes upbeat, loud music this is a song they might enjoy:
Letter p cartoon
Here is a short, amusing animation from Sesame Street introducing some foods starting with the letter p:
If English is not your child’s first language, they may have some difficulty in correctly distinguishing the ‘p’ sound from ‘b’ and/or ‘f’.
This video illustrates the correct way to pronounce ‘p’ and ‘b’:
And this one explains how to correctly pronounce ‘p’ and ‘f’:
A matter of principle
Here is a quick quiz for you to take. If your child is a bit older, or a particularly advanced reader, they might like to take it too!
Circle the correct usage of the word in each of these three sentences:
1. The principal/principle asked all of the teachers to join her in the staffroom.
2. I object on principal/principle to my bank charging me an account keeping fee.
3. The principal/principle reason for my complaint is that the shopkeeper was rude to me.
‘I Spy’ words
‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’ is a great game to play to reinforce the sound that a letter makes and it can be a fun game to kill some time – for example on a long car trip.
Here is a selection of short words starting with ‘p’ for you to use:
pan, paw, pea, photo, phone, present, paint, pin, picture, printer, pram, potato, pasta, pear, peach, pickle, pig, pen, peg, pet, pie, pot, pack, page, palm, plant, park, path, paste, pink, purple, pole, pond, pool, pump, pizza, pineapple.
Answers to quiz
Remember that the principal is the most important person in a school – and any time the word is being used to denote ‘most important’ or ‘main’ it ends in ‘pal’. A good way to teach your child the distinction is to remind that their school principal should be their ‘pal’.
It is also worth noting that in both versions of the word, the second ‘p’ should never be pronounced with a ‘b’ sound.
The Letter P Worksheets
This worksheet gives your child lots of opportunities to practice writing capital P.
This letter p worksheet focuses on the lower case p.
This letter p worksheet gives your child an introduction to the sound that ‘p’ makes, and also allows them to practice writing the capital and lower case letter p.
‘Ph” being used to make an ‘f’ sound occurs from time to time. Because it is so unexpected and potentially confusing for a young reader it is a good sound to teach your child
The ‘pl’ sound appears quite often in English – in words such as ‘please’, ‘place’ and ‘plum’. This worksheet gives six examples of the sound for your child to practice.
‘Pr’ appears regularly – in words such as ‘press’, ‘print’ and ‘probably’. This worksheet will help your child start moving beyond sounding out ‘p’ and ‘r’ as separate sounds when first reading a word – towards naturally forming the ‘pr’ sound’