How to Teach Phonics and Reading?
By Jim & Elena
Teaching children to read by teaching phonics activities is a lot like
doing math, where you have to know what the numbers are, how to count,
and you need to learn to add and subtract before learning to multiply
and divide. Teaching phonics to children is no different where you
follow a step by step approach by first teaching the child the alphabet
letters and phonics sounds, and then teaching them the combination of
different letters to create different words, and using words to form
sentences. It is a very logical and sequential buildup of phonics
knowledge and reading ability.
Before a child can learn to read, he or she must first learn the
alphabet letters, and know the sounds represented by the letters. It's
usually easier to teach some consonants and short vowels first before
moving on to more complicated things such as consonant digraphs (2
consonants formed to produce one sound, such as "ch" or "ph") and long
vowels. As you can see, teaching children to read by the phonics method
helps them develop phonemic awareness, and it is also a very logical and
straight forward approach.
Start off by teaching your child the phonics sounds. You can choose to
teach your child in alphabetic order going from A to Z, or you can teach
several commonly used consonant sounds and vowels, and go from there.
For example, you may start teaching your child /a/, /c/, and /t/
(slashes denote sound of the letters). Once your child has learn to
quickly recognize these letters and properly sound out their sounds, you
can then teach them to blend /c/, /a/, /t/ to make the words "cat", or "tac",
As you introduce more letters and phonics sounds in your lesson plans,
you can generate more words, and slowly introduce short, simple
sentences to your reading lessons. Depending on the age of your child, I
would suggest keeping the phonics lessons relatively short - around 5 to
10 minutes. Sometimes, just 3 to 5 minutes for a short lesson is plenty,
and you can easily teach these short phonics lessons 2 or 3 times each
day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes. Young children tend to be
forgetful, so repetition is very important.
You don't want to make the lessons too long and boring, that the child
begins to feel like doing a "chore" when learning to read. So keep it
short, fun, and interesting. By keeping the phonics lessons short, you
also avoid overwhelming the child with too much information, and always
remember to make sure your child has mastered one lesson before moving
on to new material. Confusion and uncertainty will only make their
learning effort difficult and frustrating - so review often, move on to
new material only after they've mastered the current lessons.
So when can you start teaching phonics sounds and lessons to children?
Not everyone will agree with me on this, but I believe that if your
child can speak, then your child can learn to read. Of course, every
child is different and unique, and some children will be more receptive
to learning reading than others. One thing for certain, is that the
earlier a child learns to read, the better.
We have taught our 2 year old daughter to read through teaching phonics
sounds and lessons, and helping her develop phonemic awareness. If you
watched the video above, that is our daughter reading randomly created
sentences. We simply started teaching phonics sounds to her by spending
5 to 10 minutes each day, spread between 2 to 3 separate lessons, and
slowly introduced new letters and reading material.
Learn more about
the simple, effective, step-by-step method of teaching phonics and
phonemic awareness here!