Teaching young students that reading is fun, engaging, and an important key to success in all areas of life (not just reading) is one of the most challenging aspects of being a literacy coach. While some children are naturally inclined to read, the vast majority aren’t.
Research has found that by third grade, only 60% of American students have demonstrated proficiency in reading; that percentage falls even further after that point (with rates dropping another 10% between third and fifth grades). To get kids excited about learning how to read, you must give them a reason to want to spend time every day practicing their new reading skills. You cannot do this from a distance; you must be hands-on and immediate with your instruction.
If you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to teach phonics using an effective system, let’s take a deep dive into our 7-step Phonics Teaching Method.
Teach Your Child Words and Phonics Before You Teach Reading Strategies
If you are trying to teach your child how to read, you may be focusing too much on reading strategies, like the “sounds-like” approach to reading or using rhyming words.
Phonics is the foundation of reading.
Without it, kids will not be able to decode words in their brains—they won’t know how to break down the letters of a word into its sounds. You may have heard people say that “90% of reading success is a result of phonics.” Yes, it’s important to teach kids reading strategies, but these need to be taught before your child learns to read. Kids are naturally curious about words and reading.
You want to get your child excited about the ideas that reading conveys, not just the mechanics of reading. Teach them the sounds of letters and how they are put together to make words. Teach them why certain words make sense. Show your child the many important things reading will be able to convey.
Build Word Recognition First
Some of the most important and effective reading instruction comes first. Before your child can recognize the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, they must recognize what letters and words look like. During the first few weeks of school, you can use books and other word recognition activities to build your child’s word recognition. You can also do this by reading to your child. This is especially important for toddlers.
Kids learn best when they are interested in the material.
You can show your child how fun learning can be by reading to and with your child. Reading aloud to your child every day helps him or her to recognize the letters of the alphabet (and later the words they are made from). Reading interactive books, looking for words and highlighting them in books, and finding ways to incorporate reading into your daily activities will help your child to develop an early love of reading. Reading to your child will not only improve your child’s word recognition, but it will also help your child develop a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
Use Guided Reading Activities
When kids are young, you can use guided reading activities to help their comprehension. In these activities, you read a set of words to your child, and then find a picture or illustration that matches the words you read.
This can build your child’s comprehension while they are having fun. You can do guided reading activities with your child in many different ways. One way is to find books at the library that have interesting or appealing topics your child might be interested in. As you read books together, find ways to incorporate some of the topics your child is interested in. Sometimes it can be as simple as drawing a picture relating to a book topic or describing what a picture represents. You can also try to find ways to make reading more interactive, such as by finding ways to make it more about your child.
A good way to help children improve their reading skills is by using guided reading activities.
These can be used to help your child improve their reading comprehension and fluency. If your child struggles with reading comprehension, using guided reading activities can help improve their reading skills. If your child has a reading disability, you can use guided reading activities to help them read more easily and more effectively.
Don’t Forget About Fluency
Fluency is important in reading, but it is often overlooked. Fluency is the ease with which a reader utters words and phrases. Fluent reading occurs without thinking and is the result of good reading instruction. Reading with poor fluency can be frustrating and even irritating to the reader.
Good readers think while they read, and they are not always happy when they do.
The more quickly a reader reads and the less carefully they read, the less happy they will be with their reading. Readers with a high level of fluency can think about what they are reading while they read it. While you want your child to be able to read quickly and smoothly, you also want a level of accuracy in the words they are reading. Reading fluency can be helpful in reading a passage, but you also want your words to make sense.
Teach Syllable Sounds First
S and m, t and d, p and b—these are the sounds of the syllable and are the first sounds taught to students. These are the sounds that form the building blocks of all words. The sounds that come before vowels are called the “key sounds,” while the vowels are known as “semantic sounds.”
First, teach the “key sounds,” then move on to the vowels. During the kindergarten-to-second-grade transition, this is a good time to begin teaching the sounds of consonants (the “syllable sounds”). A child’s first few years of life are a critical period.
The child’s brain is still developing rapidly, making it easier to learn things than when a person is older.
At this time, your child is in a relaxed state; he or she is mostly asleep, but also has a lot of free time. This is the perfect time to start teaching your child to read. Phonics is the most important part of reading, so you want to start, as early as possible.
Combine Each Sound with Its Corresponding Letter
Once you have your child reading words, you want to start reinforcing the sounds your child has been reading. This can be done in many ways, including reading the words slowly, sounding them out, or writing them out.
Once your child is able to read words, you can begin to blend the sounds of each word into a single syllable.
This can be done by reading the words a little faster or by pronouncing them more slowly. You can also do this by looking at the letters in the word and associating them with a sound. This is a great way to facilitate mixing sounds together. This can be done while reading, sounding out words, or even while writing words out. Combining letters and sounds together helps to make words more familiar and less confusing.
Teach the Sounds of Two-Syllable Words Together
While it is important to teach phonics and the sounds of each letter, it is also important to practice blending words with two sounds together. This can be done while sounding out words or by reading words aloud.
Combining simple two-sound words into one will help your child to associate words with similar-sounding words.
For example, once your child is able to blend “pit” and “pat,” you can then blend “pit” and “caught” together, “pit” and “cricket” together, “pit” and “plot” together, “pit” and “butter” together, and so on. This will help your child to associate sounds with words and will reduce the chance of your child making an error in reading.
Help Students Learn New Words Through Vocabulary Development
Knowing a lot of words and being able to use them correctly is one of the best ways to improve your reading skills. This is known as vocabulary growth.
It is important to help your child to build vocabulary, especially when they are first learning to read.
Try to find at least one new word each day that your child can use in a sentence. It is important to use the word in a sentence with a sentence structure that your child will understand. When your child can use the word correctly in a sentence, your child will begin to learn how to use the word correctly most important words in the English language are hard to understand. The spelling of these words can be the difference between a word being read and one that is not. This is where a lot of kids struggle when learning to read.
For example, if your child says “The cat ate my homework” or “The dog ate my homework,” you may want to begin with the letter A and work your way up from there. However, if your child says “The cat ate my homework,” you will have to teach him how to recognize the sound of each letter before you can teach him how it should be spelled.