Vowels and consonants and blends
In the first edition of our series on how to teach children how to read, we discussed the beginning steps of phonemic awareness. Many homeschooling moms are terrified of teaching their children to read, but taking one baby step at a time will naturally bring your child to the place where they not only read, but read well!
Baby Step 2
Differentiating between vowels and consonants can be something that you incorporate with your beginning letter awareness or something that you really bring out after your child has already learned their alphabet and the letter names and sounds. There are alot of really great games that you can play and songs that you can sing to help bring out the concept of vowels. One of my children’s favorites was “Old McDonald” but on his farm he had vowels… with an aa here and an ee there… you get the point. They loved it, and my four year old still loves it! We played memory with vowel cards, and then of course they would have to tell me their sound and one word that began with that sound.
It is easiest to start with the concept of vowels, because then you can state that all the rest of the letters that aren’t vowels are consonants. After your child has mastered these two concepts and completely understand what vowels and consonants are, you can move on to blends.
Blends are simply the combination of vowels and consonants. When I begin to teach this I usually make blend families. These are little groups of blends that have the same consonant but use each of the vowels. For example, b-a, b-e, b-i, b-o,bu. Introducing a new blend family and then reviewing it each day is an incredibly important step on the road to reading.
As with every step toward reading, making sure the child enjoys a print rich environment is important. Surround him or her with plenty of books that they can “read”, and then be sure to read to them each day.