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In recent times, the term “phonics” has started finding its roots in our educational system that wasn’t as prevalent a decade ago. Many interpret it to be a separate subject altogether but it isn’t so. Phonics is nothing more than one of the essential stepping stones in helping your child develop the linguistic ability to understand what constitutes a language and how to learn it well. Like most parents, if you wonder how to teach your child phonics, here are a few strategies to help you out.
What is Phonics?
Since phonics has found its footing in our education systems in recent times, it is necessary to understand what it actually is all about. Phonics, as the name suggests, is related to sounds. There are a number of sounds that can be made using our mouths and many of them have played an important role in creating the languages that we speak today. Most of these sounds are represented by letters and this connection between them both is what phonics aims to explore. For children, understanding this aspect as soon as possible can help them grasp the very core of language creation and help them pick up other languages speedily as well.
Why is Phonics Important for your Child?
As natural as speaking a language might seem to us right now, understanding it and picking up the nuances in it is quite difficult as a child. With the modern times focusing quite a lot on learning more than one language, the differences and the foundations of both languages need to be clearly established in one’s mind. When your kid speaks and writes, he ought to know how the word is formed and spoken and what it means, and all of this needs to be done quickly in the head so that he can write and speak at a normal pace, like everyone. All of these skills related to comprehending language, expressing it, and picking up newer ones, can get a boost by understanding phonics.
Strategies for Teaching Phonics to Children
As parents, we may not be aware of the specific ways phonics is taught at school, or even be completely oblivious to the activities that can help teach phonics. Nevertheless, there are certain strategies that can be employed to grant the same benefit as a phonics session might do.
1. Focus on Comprehension
It is fine if you don’t know the exercises to focus on sounds and their connection to letters, but every parent can help their child in understanding what’s being read to them and expressing their own thoughts. Engage your child in stories and articles and talk to him about it. Ask him to describe what just happened in his own words and what he thinks might happen next. Using the right words to express his thoughts is how he’ll learn better.
2. Nothing Beats Practice
It might be convenient for your child to read the story once again after you have read it out to him and explained it to him. Going through something again with more information in the head and clarity of the concept can help him in focusing on the craft of writing and checking which words were used to describe a particular event or action or an emotion. Reading them aloud and practising again can make him comfortable with the speech.
3. Utilizing Word Games
Language-based games are your friend when it comes to teaching your child about phonics. Playing letter connections where each one says a word that begins with the last letter of the previous one, helps make connections between using letters appropriately. Let your child also talk out loud about what he’s doing right now and describe things around him as well.
4. Creation of Words
The most basic part of phonics is to break down existing words into the sounds that constitute them. You can join your kid in this activity and help him get the best out of it. For example, the word “car” is made of three sounds, namely the “ca” at the beginning, the “aa” in the middle, and the “ar” at the end. On understanding these sounds, putting them together makes the word “car”.
5. Point and Read
In the early stages, kids cannot read as fast as we can nor can they do their best if they tend to read it without speaking out loud. Teach your child to use his finger and place it under each word as he attempts to read it loudly. This helps him put together the sounds of the letters and attempt to read a word he doesn’t even know. Such an activity is what makes use of the power of phonics and turn the kids into their own teachers.
6. Make it a Daily Habit
Gradually, teach your kid to read beyond the realm of textbooks and the usual time set aside for homework and school activities. Begin by making it a habit to read the headlines of the newspaper every morning. Or when you return at night, let your kid pick out a magazine and both of you can read it out together.
7. Speak as You Write
While most activities focus on reading, phonics can also be used while your child is learning to write. As he starts getting the hang of words, ask him to write a particular word. While he does so, let him speak out the sounds of the letters used in it loudly. This feeds back the knowledge he has and makes it stronger.
If you are wondering how to teach phonics to kindergarten kids, you are thinking far out ahead. Teachers have their own ways and techniques that focus on each skill individually. At an early stage, you can make use of games and fun activities to provide support to that learning, as well as establish a wonderful bond with your child.