Teaching phonics is the first step to teaching your kid how to read!
Phonics refers to the alphabet, the sound each letter makes, and how words are formed from these letters and sounds. It is the basic building block of reading.
For kids who have just discovered the magic of the written word, focusing on phonics is the best way to improve their reading skills. The goal is to help kids sound out unknown words that they encounter in written form.
Fun phonics at home
Teaching a child how to read does not always have to involve (boring) textbooks. Put on your creativity hat and think of fun, interesting ways to teach your child his phonics. Here are 8 ideas you can try right away:
1. Read alphabet picture books
Make sure that your child easily recognizes each letter in the alphabet. Look for fun books that feature not just letters, but words too that begin with each letter. Emphasize the letter sound at the start of each word!
2. Sing alphabet songs
Most children love music. So, sing all the different versions of the alphabet that you know. Other than the traditional one that sounds like “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” try “A You’re Adorable” and “The ABC Bunny.”
Sing the alphabet with the sounds too, like LeapFrog Letter Factory’s ABC Song. Sing with me! “The A says ah, the A says ah, every letter makes a sound, the A says ah!”
3. Play sound bingo
Train your child’s listening ears. Make your child listen to a sound one at a time and ask him to match it with the picture on his bingo card that starts with the same sound.
While you can buy this kind of game, you can easily make one with this free phonics game by LessonSense.com.
4. Go alphabet shopping
Real learning happens in day-to-day life. So, make some alphabet cards and bring your preschooler to the grocery. Practice your phonics by taking out one letter card at a time, saying the sound that the letter makes, and looking for a grocery item that matches it!
Rubber alphabet mats are useful tools for teaching phonics!
5. Hop to the letter
All kids love to move. In no particular order, set five or more letters that your child knows on the floor. You can use rubber alphabet mats or just pieces of paper with one letter written on each. Ask your child to hop, skip, or jump to the letter that says guh and so on. Easy phonics!
6. Play “I Spy”
To avoid having to hand your child your iPad during mealtimes, you can try this conversational phonics game instead. Ask your child to look around the dining room for an object that starts with a particular letter sound. “I spy with my little eye something that starts with ‘buh.’”
7. Explore with a moveable alphabet
Kids learn by doing. Hand your child some moveable letters and let him play around with them. You can ask him to hold up the letter that makes the sound that you make. Take turns and let him say a letter sound that you will have to guess.
8. Play word family games
Word families are groups of letters that have the same letter combinations and sounds. Examples are -at, -it, -et, -all, -aw, etc. On a piece of paper or maybe a whiteboard, write a word family and then ask your child to tell you all the words that he can make. Make it fast to add some excitement: hat, bat, sat, rat, mat, cat!
Phonics is a building block of reading. Make it fun for your child and watch him improve his reading skills with joy, eagerness, and confidence.
If you have other ideas to teach phonics, please share them in our Comment box below!
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