How to teach phonics to your child

When you notice your child is having complications pronouncing his/her letter sounds at school and/or at home, there are some immediate actions that can be put in place. As a parent/guardian it is up to you to supplement your child with additional help in listening, pronouncing, and recognition of letters and their sounds. Here are some tips and ideas on how to get your child on the right track.

Assessing what you child’s weaknesses are:

Have your child say the alphabet but not sing them. This is a way to see if your child is recognizing the letters in the alphabet and not just the song. If this is a slight problem and your child knows only the song, do not fear. Break the song down and remember, “L -M -N -O -P” is not “Elemnopa”. And remember to tackle the vowels.

Have your child point to letters in a book. This way you can tell if your child can recognize letters outside of a classroom setting. If they cannot, try making a game in finding the whole alphabet on one page. This is fun for children. You will find yourself playing the game everywhere you go with them. And remember to tackle those vowels.

Have your child tell you the sounds of letters in the alphabet. Now, remember, the English language is tricky. The sound of “w” changes when you say the word “who”. If your child cannot tell you some sounds, then get ready for some fun. Again, remember to tackle vowels.

Building up a better sound vocabulary:

In the process of assessing if your child knows and recognizes the alphabet, you can basically figure out how much time and work it will take you to get your child up to the basics of letter sounds to begin the introduction of beginning reading. A good way to start letter recognition, sound, and pronunciation is, to begin with, your child’s name.

You say it every day and your child knows it. Begin with flashcards of your child’s name for word recognition. Then break your child’s name up into separate letters on cue cards. This builds up spelling from memory. Then once spelling from memory is achieved, you can then begin sounding the letters together as your child puts them together. It is as easy as that.

Once you have this basic procedure down you can move onto other areas of weakness or strengthen other areas out with semi harder words. Children learn at different paces, too. If you feel that your child is at a level where flash cards are not needed, then go to a level where it is totally out of the classroom.

They are called “ Letter Field Trips”. Almost like a pop quiz for your child but in a fun environment that they like to go. Ideas like the mall, toy store, grandparent’s house, a restaurant, a firehouse, a zoo, or even the park near woods. You can quiz your child’s ability by just randomly selecting objects for spelling, first letter sounds of a particular object, how many vowels are in this word, how many syllables in this word, rhyming, capitalization, etc., etc.

Another tip is to buy audio or videotapes of the classic “School House Rock” series or even making them yourself for your child to play and listen to each day. You only need to have them do this for about 10 minutes a day. No more, no less.

Allowing children to watch programs on television is acceptable too, but remember, you must back up the teachings by following up with a “ what did you learn today” approach. This allows you to see if your child is benefitting from programs on tv or if they need your help in grasping what is being taught.

Letting your child show you the ropes:

When your child has reached a level where flashcards and field trips have become normal, it’s time for the student to become the teacher. Children especially love this role. It’s where you as the teacher now become the student. When approaching your child makes everything into a question.

Like if you are writing out a food list and you suddenly forgot how to spell the word “apple” and you can’t figure out what the “a” sound is….but you knew it yesterday, ask your child to help you. Ask your child to spell things because for some reason you got the letters mixed up and you want to make sure it is right.

When asking your child for spelling or sounding words, you may want to introduce the dictionary. Have a spelling debate on words then back it up by running to the dictionary. Your child will learn how to utilize easy resources and feel more confident about spelling and pronouncing harder words.

Nevertheless, how you begin with teaching your child their letter and letter sounds will end up with results; be them small or big. You want to encourage your child to pick up any book and read, even if they have to make up the words based off the pictures they see.

Stay flexible with the studies and never uptight. You will find other tricks and trades as you move along in the process. Above are just basic guidelines to begin the journey. Remember, it is up to you on how your child’s development will grow. Good Luck!

Stay flexible

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