When starting out teaching kids phonics, or anything new for that matter, it’s important to make it fun, interactive, and to give your child small wins, to develop their confidence. Let’s explore 6 fun ways you can help your toddler, preschooler, or emerging reader to master the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.
Children who are likely to become good readers often have a solid grasp of the sounds of spoken words. Children who struggle have what is called poor “phonemic awareness,” which means that they are less able to break words into phonetic sounds than other children. A child destined to become a poor reader may not be able to clap for each of the three sounds in the word cup, or may not know that the last sound is what makes the word cup different from the word cub.
Building phonemic awareness instruction into your daily life, through games and fun activities from an early age will help build a solid foundation for reading success.
Read Before School – the program that teaches you how to teach your child to read before they start school
Read Before School is a complete reading program for beginning readers based on Phonics and sight words, and emphasizing reading fluency, vocabulary development, and text comprehension.
Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents play a very important part in helping with this. The majority of phonics apps available for ipads, smart phones and PC require young children to play games which teach isolated phonics skills such as letter and sound recognition. The Read Before School program teaches parents how to teach their child. During the formative early years, it is parents and caregivers who have the greatest positive influence over their child’s education and development.
What is phonics?
Phonics is the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your child learns that the letter D has the sound of /d/ and your second-grader learns that “sh” sounds like /sh/, they are learning phonics.
Why is phonics important?
Written language is a code. Knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as he or she reads, and help lay a foundation for understanding how to spell.
When phonics is taught in a structured way it is widely considered the most effective way of teaching young children to read. Starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex sounds is imperative to building a solid understanding of reading in the early childhood years.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will gain the skills they need to decode new words. This will enable them to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and will enable them to read for enjoyment.
What are sight words?
In Read before Level 2, which will be launched soon, we introduce sight words. Sight words refer to the words that are most frequently used and repeated in books. “The, she, he, their, me, who, were, does, be” are a few examples. Sight words are also sometimes referred to as “high-frequency” words or “core words”.
Fluency in Reading
Fluency is the ability to read text with speed, accuracy and proper expression. Fluent readers recognize words automatically, read aloud effortlessly and with expression, do not have to concentrate on decoding and can focus on comprehension. Fluency is important as it enables children to move from word recognition to comprehension – so that they can put their focus on analysing, interpreting, drawing conclusions and inferring meaning from texts.
Early vocabulary development is an important part of early brain development and school readiness. The importance of vocabulary knowledge has long been recognized in the development of reading skills.
We can grow word consciousness in young children with the following techniques:
- purposely exposing children to new vocabulary,
- teaching word meanings,
- teaching word-learning strategies,
- encouraging children to apply newly learned words to situations
Can a toddler learn to read?
Babies and toddlers do have capacities from birth to age 3 for picking up reading –including phonics patterns and decoding – just as they are able to pick up languages.
And it’s not just baby geniuses. As long as parents interact with their children, exposing them to printed words, with repetition and with high frequency, in meaningful ways such as book sharing, reading labels around the room, with short interactive and engaging letter and word games, they can begin to unlock a child’s innate potential from as young as 6 months old.
Read Before School is a fully customisable reading program which can be delivered at a pace which suits almost all young learners. While some children will be able to read books independently at age 2, others may be reading at a similar level at 4 or 5.
Interested in teaching your toddler or preschooler to read? Click the “Take this course” button below.