The process of teaching a child to read is very much like building a house. You have to begin by laying the foundations before you can ever put up any walls, and then the walls must be in place before the roof can go on. There’s a necessary sequence, and the order of that sequence is not reversible. So, words must come before sentences, and sounds must come before words. Where does reading begin? Phonics. You start to teach a child reading with phonics activities.
An Amazing Video …
Take a look at the following clip of a child who has not yet reached her THIRD birthday. How is it possible that she is reading so fluently for her age, and before she has even begun school? The answer is that her parents taught her using a simple, step-by-step reading with phonics program.
Lesson Plans for Teaching Reading with Phonics
Okay, so you should take the first steps by teaching your child the phonics sounds. You can either go in alphabetical order, teaching your child from A to Z, or alternatively you might choose to teach them a few of the most commonly used consonant sounds and vowels at a time. This can be very effective.
Here’s an example. You could begin by teaching your child /a/, /c/, and /t/ (where slashes denote sounding the letters). As soon as they’ve learned to easily recognize and sound out these letters, you can then move on to shuffle them around and make words. With these 3 letters you can make “act”, “cat”, “tac”, and “at”.
Then keep on introducing more letters and phonics sounds. As you do so, add more simple words, and you’ll be well on your way to short, simple sentences.
Note! These first phonics lessons do not need to be long. Keep them to around 5 to 10 minutes. Even a 3-minute lesson can be effective when repeated several times a day. This idea of repetition is crucial at a young age.
If you make the lessons too long, your child may find it burdensome. It’s better to err on the side of too short. The idea is to keep it fun, and interesting, and don’t let it become boring or feel like a “chore”.
Another important key is to manage the amount of information, always ensuring that your child has really mastered one lesson before moving on to the next. Uncertainty results in a lack of confidence, which in turn makes the learning seem more difficult, and can frustrate the child. So, it’s far better to review often, and progress to new material only when the child is really confident.
How Soon Can Reading with Phonics Begin?
… Realistically. What age are we talking?
This might challenge your thinking, or what others have said to you, but here’s a simple rule of thumb … if your child can speak, then it’s highly likely that they can also start learning to read!
Now, of course, every child is different, and some will be more open to learning to read than others. And some will also progress more quickly than others. But overall, children are usually ready for some first steps well before many parents are even considering it.
One thing’s for sure … the earlier a child takes their first steps in reading, the better. If you decide to leave the teaching to their teachers when they get to school, you need to know 2 things:
(a) They’ll have to begin the learning process in a group setting. It’s more stressful, especially if they begin to fall behind. They can easily get discouraged and frustrated.
(b) They’ll already be behind the curve. Because other parents will have chosen to begin teaching the first basics.
The little girl in the video above, is reading randomly created sentences. Her parents began teaching phonics sounds to her just 5 to 10 minutes each day, in 2 to 3 separate lessons. New letters and reading material were added slowly.
What these parents have achieved with their daughter is not super extraordinary, and she is not some child prodigy. These results are entirely reproducible, as long as you move step-by-step using a systematic approach.
Want to See More Amazing Videos?
Click here to watch preschoolers reading, as well as an informational video of how YOU can get started TODAY in your own home.