Any reasonable method of teaching children how to read that is worth its salt includes phonics. If you understand that it is an essential part of the process, you can help your child develop phonemic awareness. As a result, mastering words will become more natural, leading to successful learning.
To be able to learn how to read, children must gain knowledge regarding letters, the sound they make, and the connection between the two. That is what turns them into independent readers. Furthermore, through phonics and phonemic awareness, children can master new words, develop articulations, improve their spelling, and get a confidence boost.
Apart from phonics and phonemic awareness, three major principles govern an excellent teaching method:
1. No matter what you read to your child, it has to be interesting.
2. Reading should always be an enjoyable activity. Do not pressurizeyour child to read. Youwant him/her to consider reading as fun and not stressful. While it requires some effort on your part, you have to be creative and, most importantly, patient.
3. Start by teaching your child phonemes. These are the sounds that make up the words.
There is a logical order in teaching phonics and phonemic awareness. First of all, teach them letters and the sounds they make. Then, let your child know how to combine these sounds to form words. Ultimately, it culminates with sentences, and thenshort stories will follow. It’s a gradual progression that leads to accuracy development.
Additionally, this method will also improve your child’s spelling abilities little by little. Later on,different aspects of phonics are mixed together to create new words. Your child will be able to discover more terms, most of the time, to your surprise. Eventually, this will turn into an “automatic reflex.” It’s like muscle memory. If you do something for long enough, in the future, you’ll do it without even thinking about it.
What Works Best?
For starters, don’t teach phonics to your child for more than 10-15 minutes per day. Split those 10-15 minutes into multiple sessions per day. Otherwise, your child will lose interest. However, if you have a preschooler, make the sessions longer, but not too much.
You should also keep in mind that ear training is an essential part of teaching your child how to read. What you have to explain to your kid is that words consist of smaller sounds (phenomes.) When you combine them, you get words. Again,take the shortest time possible to teach this, just a few minutes per day.
All you need is to be consistent.
During the teaching sessions, make sure that you utter the words slowly. Be careful with pronunciation, as well. If it helps, you can hold a session, and your child won’t even notice that it is a “teaching moment.” For instance, let’s say that you want your child to pat the cat. Instead of putting the sentence the way you usually do, say it distinctly, “Emily, p-a-t the c-a-t.” The two words are similar.
With time, you can increase the level of difficulty by choosing the degree of sound separation. But for a start, make it simple.
On the other hand, if you think that the method above is a bit too difficult; you can just choose several words and play with them by blending the sounds. For instance, you can read the sounds that make a word and then ask your child to repeat after you.
Obviously, it will take a while for your child to grasp the concept of sounds that creates words. Although some children have an easy time doing it, others are a bit slower. However, as long as you are consistent, your child will eventually grasp something for sure. Just be patient about it.
Here are a few examples of words you can play with:
J-u-m-p and J-ump
R-u-n and R-un
S-i-t and S-it
M-i-l-k and M-ilk
S-t-a-n-d and St-and
S-t-o-p and St-op
As you can see, the first word is more segmented. If you want to decrease the difficulty, use the second version.
You should also bear in mind that the hyphens are there to point out the letter sounds. Why is that relevant? Because when you play this game with your child, you don’t have to say the name of the letters. Instead, read the sound they make.
You should use ear training for phonics and phonemic awareness throughout the process of teaching your child howto read, not just in the beginning. Gradually, you can increase the difficulty as your child gets better and better.
Nevertheless, I cannot stress enough the importance of being patient. Not all kids can handle blending sounds to properly get the word. Frequency and consistency are crucial.