Whether your child is still in preschool or is preparing for their first year of school, you may be interested in helping them learn to read. One of the most popular ways to do this is through phonics, which is a way to teach children to read based on the sounds of the letters and their relationships together.
This method starts with basic words like cat and dog and then builds on them, teaching children to sound out longer words and put them together instead of struggling to read the entire word at once. While it may seem a little difficult to learn how to teach phonics, it’s definitely something that you can easily do to help your child learn to read.
Where To Begin
If your child isn’t in school yet, you may not know where to begin with teaching phonics. There’s many programs and resources online that can help, but it’s best to start at the very basics.
Start with simple, one syllable words that have three letters, a consonant, vowel and then another consonant. These words are the building blocks for other, longer words down the road and they’re the easiest for your child to learn. Words like hop, pop, cat, rat, bat and similar words can start your child on their reading adventure.
Try to use rhyming words when possible, as this allows your child to learn about the relationships between the sounds of the words and how they go together. It also teaches them that even changing one letter changes the entire word and its meaning.
Fun Ways To Teach Phonics
When you get started, you’re going to want to make reading fun. If your child doesn’t seem interested at the time, take a break and come back to it later. Maybe read them a story and help them point to the words as you read them. If you’d like some basic reading activities you can try, you may want to do some of the following.
- Use flash cards made for learning phonics. These cards usually include pictures of the word the child is trying to read, and they can match up the parts of the picture and then read the word to tell you what the picture is of. This works great for words like dog, cat, bat, car, and can even be used later to include words like star and frog.
- Read simple books together. Books like “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Suess are great for children who are learning to read because the entire book is made up of rhyming words that are short and easy to learn. Your child can read the story with you and point out the words as they read them.
- Point out words they can read in harder books. If you’re reading a book to them at night, have them help you with some of the words you’re reading. This not only helps them learn to read, but it boosts their confidence in their reading. After all, they’re helping you read a hard book.
- Make phonics fun. You don’t need to sit down and do just one thing day after day, like worksheets, for a phonics lesson. Get creative, point out words they can read in everyday situations (like the word “stop” on signs) and incorporate reading into some of your daily activities, like quiet time before a nap.
How Phonics Helps With More Than Reading
When you teach your child phonics, you’re also teaching them how to spell. While you won’t get started with spelling lessons, they’re starting to learn how words go together and how changing a letter can chance the entire word. Once they have a good basis in reading, they can help you spell the words they’re learning to read.
Your child will also learn more abstract ideas, such as being confident in their abilities and being proud of themselves because they can sound out and read even big words once they have a good basis with phonics. These are both important for a lifetime of learning, and the have their basis in something as simple as learning to read.
Supplementing What Your Child Learns in School
Once your child begins school, their teacher will likely begin working on phonics with them. The teacher will know how to teach phonics to children of every ability range, and they can give you specific pointers on how you can help your child learn phonics at home to supplement what they’re learning in school.
You can even ask your child’s teacher for their phonics lesson plans so you can follow along at home. If they’re reading a certain book, for example, you can read similar books at home or have your child read the book to you to show you what they learned in school.
If your child seems interested in learning to read and you’re trying to help prepare them for school or supplement what they’re learning in school, it’s very easy to incorporate phonics lessons at home. Start today with some of the fun activities listed above.
If you’d like more help getting started, don’t forget to talk with their teach for phonics instruction. Learning to read is a major accomplishment for your child and something that will help them in many areas in their life. Start today to foster a love of learning and reading.