When your goal is understanding how to teach phonics always keep this in mind: step-by-step. She will learn to read, and read well, for the rest of his life! No guessing at words, just smooth reading while comprehending what was read.
It’s similar to teaching other topics or skills such as math or music. One-on-one. You need to lay the groundwork first, by learning how to tutor reading; learning how to teach phonics. Soon, your child is playing Beethoven like it’s “old hat”, or reading that sounds like a book on audio. Yes, he or she can become that good!
There’s something else to consider…something I discovered as I taught my son Casey how to read through phonics: You have a lot invested personally in seeing your child succeed, not only in academics, but later in life. This is so important to understand. You can sometimes feel apprehension when your child is struggling to learn a new concept. This anxiety can cause you to “press”. It also causes negative emotions in your child when they sense your own anxiousness.
I remember being impatient with Casey as I instructed him a particular morning to read aloud. I decided to ‘record’ his reading on tape. You know, after that session was over, I played it back, and was so ashamed of my impatient and irritated tone also caught on tape.
As you teach phonics do everything you can to leave the emotional attachment out of it. Focus on detaching yourself from the situation as if you were a ‘teacher at school’ How would we feel if a teacher got angry at our son or daughter in front of the class, using criticism?
You know, I had such a teacher in First Grade. She demanded from me a paper in my desk I couldn’t find. I told her I couldn’t find it, and she walked up and slapped me across the face. I was so embarrassed because I was a shy and quiet type back then. Your son or daughter will get it! It takes time and patience on your part to ensure this happens.
Sit next to your child with your white board, notebook or other paper, and pencil. Draw the letter you plan to teach, one at a time, and teach the sound, using the marks over the letter if teaching vowels. Once you advance to actual words in word families, you will pronounce them aloud, and give him the ‘Spelling Rule’ for those words.
You can strengthen this further by reinforcing those concepts once again over the next few days. Soon, your child will have them permanently stored away. The information will be usable and they’ll be ready for the next step.
Avoid confusion in your child’s learning process that can result by introducing too many new concepts all at once. I mentioned music above. It would be confusing, for example, to teach a child the Dorian mode before they ever learned a basic scale. The same goes when our topic is how to teach phonics!
Go slow. Take it step-by-step. Teach the vowels first. Then, be sure they understand the 21 consonants. Then, you can get into next steps like phonograms and other elements of basic phonics rules.
Consider the learning style of your child. There are four styles:
It’s common that very young children have elements of all of the above. As they grow older, however, you’ll usually notice one of the four styles will become dominant in your child. There are booklets that teach how to discover which style your child or all of your children learn best with. It’s important to know because you can adjust your teaching style accordingly. This will greatly enhance the speed by which your student picks up and retains each new phonics rule.
Quick Learning Style Tips
Visual: They learn best by visual stimulation and “thinking in pictures”. Puzzles, mazes, inventions and machines captivate them. Charts & diagrams are useful here. Picture books are effective. You can even allow them to draw as you read to them.
Auditory: Since they learn best by listening & talking and are naturally language oriented, auditory learners are often great “natural” readers. They can usually memorize dates and names easily. They like to read aloud or hear the pitch or tone of voice as they are read to. Are often gifted musically. Encourage your auditory learner to read it out loud.
Kinesthetic: They learn through the act of touch. They need to “do” it. They need to feel it and act on it. These are often the children unfortunately labeled as ADD. They have trouble sitting still for long time periods. They’re often good at sports and love to show you through their gestures & body language as opposed to telling you about it. Use physical, “hands-on” games and activities. Let them go ahead and move, whether it’s moving their legs, rocking back and forth, playing with things as they talk and learn, etc…let them go!
Analytical/Logical: Their brains are always going. They like strategy, can solve math easily in their head, love computers and can think in a more abstract manner than others. They love puzzles and figuring out how things work. They like to move through patterns. Word puzzles and computer games will be effective. They’ll enjoy scientific experiments. Help them discuss fiction works with you by relating the story to “real life” people and situations.
As I mentioned above you may see your child fitting into more than one of the learning styles. Adapting your own style for how to teach phonics to their unique learning styles will greatly increase their grasp of the material.