Teaching Phonics to Children

By ChildrenLearningReading.com

Phonics is a necessary part of any good method of teaching children to read. Teaching children phonics and helping them develop phonemic awareness is the key to mastering words, which is the first key step toward successful reading.

Children need to develop a knowledge of the letters, the sounds represented by the letters, and the connection between sounds created by combining the letters where words are formed. This is an essential part of mastering reading, and enabling children to become independent readers.

By learning phonics and phonemic awareness, children gain the ability to pronounce new words, develop clear articulation, improve spelling, and develop self confidence.

When teaching children to read include these 3 basic principles:

1. Reading for the child, whether it’s a word, sentence, or story, must appeal to the child’s interests.

2. Never pressure or force the child into reading, turning it into a negative experience. It should be a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience. This will take ample amounts of patience and creativity.

3. Teaching a child to read must begin with the mastery of the phonemes — the individual sounds which makeup the words.

See a fun phonics game I have made with my Nanny Kids by tapping here.

The basic process of teaching phonics and phonemic awareness to children includes teaching them the letters and letter sounds; then you teach the child to combine (or blend) various letter sounds together to form words; which is then followed by reading sentences and simple stories.

This is a logical progression for children to learn reading, where they develop accuracy in decoding words and pronouncing words. This method of teaching also helps the child to spell correctly. Gradually, the different elements of phonics are combined to produce new words, and leads to the discovery of new words by the child using this process which becomes an “automatic reflex”.

Here’s a fun phonics wheel to make with the children in your care.

One way to start teaching phonics to children is with ear training — by helping them develop the understanding that words are made up of smaller units of sounds, or known as phonemes, and when you combine these sounds, a word is formed. You can start this with very short sessions. A few minutes a day is all that you need. The key, however, is consistency and patience.

During these short sessions, sound out words slowly and distinctly. You can do this without even making the child aware that you are trying to teach them. Simply take words from your everyday speaking to the child and include oral blending sounds into your sentences.

Pick different words and play blending sounds games with your child. You simply say the sounds of the word slowly, and ask the child try to guess what you are saying.

Below are some sample words which you can use to play blending sounds activities with a child.

J-u-m-p J-ump

R-u-n R-un

S-i-t S-it

S-t-a-n-d St-and

M-i-l-k M-ilk

S-t-o-p St-op

The first word is more segmented than the second word, and will be more difficult to sound out. Please note that hyphens are used to indicate the letter sounds instead of slashes.

J-u-m-p /J/ /u/ /m/ /p/

This is done to make things easier to read; however, when you read it, you should not read the names of the letters, but instead say the sounds of the letters.

This type of ear training for phonics and phonemic awareness should continue throughout the teaching process, even well after a child has grasped this concept. It can be applied to words with increasing difficulty.

Always keep in mind that not all children can readily blend the sounds to hear the word, so you must be patient. Consistency and frequency is the key to success here, and not sporadic binge sessions.

To learn about a simple step-by-step program designed to easily teach children how to read, please click here.

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