Some children are just natural readers. They love to explore different books and are always picking up reading skills just by naturally being involved and around reading environments. Other kids have more difficulty with the printed language and need to relate a sound to a particular configuration of alphabet and letters. This will be the essence of your phonics instruction. It is these phonics skills that enable kids to sound out the words and letters that they see. As a parent, this can be a very effective way to get the child started reading. Helping the child sound out the words and letters that they see... Phonics.
Generally within the subject of phonics, the best place to begin is by teaching the child the short vowel sounds. The long vowel sounds are just a repeat of the alphabetic letter itself. A good way to get and keep the child’s interest during the phonics process is to use examples (pictures or something tangible around the house) of something that interests them. For example, most children will exhibit a high interest in animals. As a general rule, try to keep your phonics examples theme related. The repetition of learning the various phonics sounds is reinforced much sooner when the examples you are using follow the same type of theme. This limits the potential for confusion and loss of interest that may occur if you jump all over with seemingly unrelated items.
Much of teaching reading through phonics is using visual examples of the words and letters that make up the sounds. Use and create displays for the child. Use labels and cards that have the name of the child’s toy so they can sound out the word and match it with their favorite toy(s). Remember in the beginning we are attempting to focus on the ‘short’ vowel sounds.
In summary, much of learning phonics is repetition so be creative with your teaching tools. Use a theme as much as you can. This is much more effective than haphazardly jumping around using non associated items.
By Mary Joyce