Some homeschool parents are so afraid of having to teach their children how to read. I must admit to being one of those… and I have been a teacher for over 15 years, and I even teach teachers how to teach. Sounds crazy huh? I think I had so stressed the importance of my children learning how to read correctly that it had pretty much just freaked me out.
Yet, if I think about the practical steps that it takes and just take one simple little baby step at a time reading will flow naturally from that progression. I have taught countless children how to read, why were my own so intimidating to me? Silly right?
1) The first baby step is gettting your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet. First get them to say them in a song, or a silly saying. I think almost every child in America picks this one up from cartoons,or leap frog, or educational games.
2) Next begin to correlate those letter names with visual symbols of the letters. Begin with either A,B,C or with the vowels and then progress to the consonants. Typically, when we begin with the vowels we only teach the short sounds at first. After the child has progressed through recognition of most of the alphabet we then progress to the long sounds for the vowels. Some people believe that associating these letter pictures or symbols with a picture of the sound that it makes helps the child go from this step to the next step.
3) At this point your child should be able to say the alphabet and recognize the letter of the alphabet by their names. To help facilitate this, use of letter flashcards is very beneficial. Review these daily to keep the letter names fresh in their memory.
4) Once your child recognizes each letter by name, begin a deeper study of each individual letter. Bring out the sound that it makes. When you do this be sure to make only the sound of the individual letter. Sometimes when we teach the sounds of consonants we tend to attach a vowel sound to them. Instead of saying “nnn” we will say “nnnuuu.” This is not correct and can produce sound confusion with your young learner.
Go through your entire alphabet learning the sounds of each letter, draw pictures that begin with these sounds, and use games of thinking up more items to represent these sounds. Review of the letter sounds should take place each day, and should be fun and entertaining. You can make a game out of items