As a parent, you might face difficulty in making your child understand how different words are pronounced. To add to that, there are letters that have more than one sound. All this can get even more difficult when you have a pre-schooler who is struggling to concentrate!
To make it a bit easier, here are five helpful and easy steps to teach phonics.
However, before we do that let us first understand the meaning of phonics and its importance in learning a language.
What is Phonics and Why is it Important?
In simple terms, phonics means using the sounds of letters to read complete words.
For example, the letter S has the sound of ‘s’ as in ‘sun.’ By knowing this sound, it can get fairly easy to pronounce the word ‘sit.’
Some letters, when coupled with certain letters, have a unique sound altogether. For instance, ‘sh’ as in ‘shut’ is pronounced differently than ‘s’ in ‘sun.’
Reading complete passages gets much easier for children if they are taught phonics properly. Writing and reading over and over again helps develop more proficiency in reading different, unknown words without fumbling.
But how can you help your child learn phonics at home?
Keep it Simple
Instead of giving your child a set of complex words to pronounce at once, go with smaller, easier words and break them into segments of different sounds.
For instance, take the word ‘hat’. Ask your child to put their finger under the letter ‘h’ and say it out loud. Then move on to the letter ‘a’ and ask them to say ‘a’ out loud, completing the word by finally asking them to pronounce the last letter ‘t’. Then ask them to merge all three sounds together so that they can hear the sound of the full word ‘hat’.
By practicing in this way with different words, the speed at which the child will look at a word, segment its sounds, and then blend all the segments together to read the complete word will increase rapidly.
1. Listen to them Read
Make sure that you give your child an easy-to-read book or a number of words and ask them to pronounce them one after the other. Listen to them carefully and help them fix the errors.
In case your kid stumbles on a word that they find difficult to read out loud, encourage them to segment it more carefully and then sound it out. If that doesn’t work, speak the complete word yourself and ask them to repeat it until they get it right.
2. Teach Sight Words
Given that English influenced by many languages, including German, Latin, Greek, French, and Celtic, among others, there are many high-frequency or sight words that do not follow the conventional spelling rules.
Such words can be difficult to pronounce correctly, as they are phonetically irregular.
In this case, teach them to identify these words by sight alone. Combining phonics with sight words results in maximum effectiveness.
3. Differentiate between Letter Names and Letter Sounds
There are some letters that are pronounced differently individually and in another way when used in a word. For instance, the letter ‘c’ is called ‘see,’ while its sound in most words is usually that of ‘k.’
Teach your child the distinction between the letters and their sounds to make learning more fun and effective.
4. Do Character Voices
Pick a story-reading time that suits both you and your child. Ensure that they aren’t sleepy or tired, and narrate a story from a children’s book. Put on different character voices and stress on certain words to make your child remember those words in particular.
This will help them to relate the characters in the story with different words, thus helping them to even remember the meanings of each word.
Revisit old stories that your child loves. Once you’ve narrated them a number of times, ask your child to take a shot at it. By practicing reading out loud a couple of times or more, they will be able to build confidence and see how far they have come in terms of understanding and reading words.
To Sum Up
Reading is an excellent habit to develop, as it helps explore more worlds, beyond those that we live in. By learning phonics children are able to pick up reading faster and enjoy it.
Teaching phonics can be fun if you do it using props, such as blocks with letters printed on them, storybooks, etc. Just ensure that you follow the above tips and keep your sessions short to help your child master the art of pronunciation with ease.