Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child and help them succeed. Getting their child ahead in reading early on is usually at the top of the priority list. Children feel proud when they can “read” but they are often just guessing, or have seen a book so many times that they have memorized where words are. When faced with a brand-new word out of context, they don’t have the skills they need to decipher the new word.
The reason for this is that parents don’t often give much thought to phonetic understanding, which is a problem because if your child doesn’t understand phonics, they will soon start to fall behind. They can’t rely on guessing and memorizing forever; they need to learn how language works and how letters and words function. Teachers do teach phonics in school, but it often isn’t emphasized like it should be, so it’s up to parents to fill in the gaps.
How Can Parents Teach Their Children?
It’s easy and common to quickly get overwhelmed when trying to teach your child phonics. There are so many rules and exceptions that teaching your child can feel like an impossible task. If you wait until you’re an expert and know everything there is to know about phonics before you start teaching your child, you’ll never start. Let go of the idea that you need to be a perfect teacher and just start helping them the best you can.
You don’t have to do it alone. Flashcards and online worksheets are great resources you can use to help your child learn. They can provide the knowledge base, and you can make the learning fun by interacting and playing with your child.
What you work on with your child will depend on his/her age and developmental level, but some skills you can focus on when teaching your child include:
Practicing letter sounds
Identifying vowels and consonants
Distinguishing between long and short vowel sounds
Understanding how letters blend together
Recognizing letter combinations in words, such as sh and ch
Practicing long vowel combinations, such as oa and ai
Learning and distinguishing between different syllable types
What to Do If You’re Stuck
If everybody waited until they had it all figured out to start helping their child with phonics, nobody would help their child with phonics! That being said, all you can do is your best and if your child still needs extra help, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Math Genie wants to support you and your child to help fill in the gaps. We have reading programs for various ages, ranging from early childhood to middle school. Check out our programs, so we can help your child get the extra boost they need with their phonics skills.