As someone who loves to read, I always wanted to instil this love for reading in my daughter. This is why, whenever I get free time, I sit down with a book in my hand and a child in my lap.
And it's working! My almost-4-year-old sits with me and reads the books with me.
Well, she reads a few simple words here and there. But you have to admit, for a not-yet-4-year-old girl, that's impressive!
I may be biased, but even my 'mom friends' are surprised by it. And, are asking us our secret.
Because for most children her age, numbers and letters are just some alien symbols. That's why the early stages of learning for kids start with the phrases like "A is for apple" and "B is for ball".
But how can a child understand that the "A" for apple is the same "A" used to spell ant? Well, my kid knows it because we use phonics to teach her.
What is phonics, exactly?
Phonics is a method used to teach kids to read. It works by breaking words down into their individual sounds.
Once kids learn the phonics words, they discover that one alphabet can indicate multiple things around them. So, when teaching reading using phonics, we link the following terms:
# Phonemes: The different sounds of symbols, i.e., phonics letter sounds a-z
# Graphemes: The letters or the symbols representing different alphabet, i.e., symbols a-z.
The English language has 44 phonemes (sounds) and 26 graphemes, i.e. alphabets, which means that more than one sound is associated with a symbol.
Learning to read using phonics is, therefore, a bit like learning code. When kids learn a few sounds, they will apply this code to read hundreds of words. The more sounds your kids know, the more words they will work out how to read.
Why is it important to teach phonics sound a-z to your kids?
Ideally, the early development of kids needs to be composed of phonics classes. Both teachers and parents can keep involving their kids in different phonics activities to support their individual learning pace.
But why are phonics this vital, and what happens when we neglect phonics in the early development stages of kids?
# Understanding phonics words aids in developing their reading and writing skills.
# Kids build speed and accuracy when they start understanding phonics.
# Kids that know phonics are better at expression using verbal speech as well as writing.
Phonics makes learning to read more accessible simpler and, importantly, gets kids reading faster. This helps increase a child's self-confidence and instill a passion for reading at an early age. Rather than memorising thousands of words individually, kids are taught a phonics 'code'.
This code teaches children to work out how they can read 95% of the words in the English language.
If the parent didn't learn to read using phonics, it could seem very complicated to them. But once the idea that words are made up of just 44 sounds is understood, you can see that kids make rapid progress in their reading.
How to Teach Phonics to Kids?
If you want to help your kids learn and grow outside of classroom hours, there are several ways you can try teaching phonics at home.
To start with, it is absolutely worth it to invest in as many phonics resources as you can find, including a phonics class.
You can also try getting them age-targeted books. This is the most reliable way to ensure that your kid has all the right tools needed to develop their reading skills. You can try downloading phonics worksheets to help your kid actively work on their skills and think about the reading and writing processes. This is key to improved comprehension in them.
Teach phonics in a fun way!
Once you've got the right resources, it's essential to try and make the phonics games for kids as fun and engaging as possible. You can even try out a phonics song once in a while.
Try putting on character voices when you read from phonics books for kids, and make the reading process seem imaginative!
Pronounce the words with joy and enthusiasm to help your child pick up what you're saying. Then you can eventually encourage them to associate different words with characters and stories they enjoy.
If your child has a favourite story that they enjoy reading, don't hesitate in letting them read it again and again. While you may think the greater the number of books your child reads, the better, studies have shown that allowing your kid to master just one book or two is the ideal way to help build their confidence and ensure progress.
So, this is how you can get your children to learn how to read faster and better. Of course, every child has their own pace, and as parents, we need to follow that. But using phonics to teach your kids reading helps develop a love for reading in them that is bound to bring them joy through life!