Learning to read starts with basic phonics skills. When parents get involved in teaching phonics at home, they can help contribute to reading progress. Phonics for kids can be integrated into daily life. For example, while driving in the car, a simple game of “I Spy” can help children begin to learn initial sounds—a basic skill needed for their success. Here are some fundamentals for teaching your children phonics:
1. Become aware of different sounds
We live in an amazing world where sounds surround us every day. Bring awareness of specific sounds to your son or daughter as you go about your day together. Comment on the fire engine sound as you hear it approaching. Ask your child how the lawnmower sounds as it is mowed. Take a trip to the zoo and learn the sounds animals make.
Tip: Ask your child about the sounds they hear—at home, at the park, at the grocery store, on road trips, in your yard, at the pool, at the splash pad, and more!
2. Rhyme all the time
Learn to be silly and makeup rhymes with your child just for fun, and do it regularly. Repetition is a key to learning, so read books on rhymes and enjoy! Find some stories with simple rhymes and read them often. Pause for a moment before reading a rhyming word, and give your child the opportunity to come up with it.
Tip: Play rhyming games with your child to help them learn that the same sound can be heard in lots of different words (cat, hat, bat…).
3. Highlight initial sounds
Draw your child’s attention to the initial sounds in basic words. One way to do this is to say the initial sound a few times before saying the whole word. For example, “It’s time to go to b b b bed.” “Would you like an a a a apple?” “Pass the p p p pizza.”
Tip: Have fun coming up with multiple words that have the same initial sound. “Mary makes muffins.” “Johnny jumps.” “A black bug bit a big brown bear.”
4. Connect sounds to letters
As you make your grocery shopping list, ask your child to write the initial letter for the things you need. For example, “I need three things at the store. One begins with a, one with b, and one with c: apples, bananas, and cucumbers. Please write a, b, c on my list.” While at the grocery store, point out the initial sounds represented on the labels on canned goods.
Tip: Use car rides to teach your children about initial letters. For example, have plastic letters in your car, and give one to your child to hold on each car ride. As you drive, ask them to find things that begin with that letter. Make a fun game out of it.
5. Begin to blend sounds
Think of words that have two sounds in them and split the sounds up intentionally as you talk with your child at home. Your child will learn the separate sounds in a word as you sound things out in their presence. For example, “Please come u-p the stairs now.” “Thank you for turning the light o-ff.”
Tip: Make learning to blend sounds fun by using foam bath letters on the tile wall as your child takes a bath.
6. Read to your child daily
Reading stories to your child daily can give you spontaneous opportunities to practice phonics basics at home. Simple books can aid as learning tools to help your child learn to read.
Tip: Invest in simple resources like the 10 stories about Peppa Pig written specifically to help children learn their short vowel sounds. Children enjoy the stories and improve their reading skills as you read together.
Pre-K – 6th Grade Students
Many kids don’t read as well as they could. That’s why Read Smart designed a reading program to help students master the skills needed to read, strengthening the foundation for all other learning.
Read Smart provides a nurturing, motivating atmosphere kids love. The personalized plan designed for your child utilizes a multisensory approach to learning. And parents love how the Read Smart staff fosters communication with parents regarding their child’s learning. Your child can keep their reading momentum at Read Smart.
Read Smart partners with parents in the greater Tulsa area in order to give children every opportunity to master reading skills and get ahead in life. Get a free reading evaluation today.