How To Teach Phonics at Home: Empowering Parents to Boost Their Child’s Reading Skills

This blog is about how to teach phonics at home. As parents, you play a pivotal role in your child’s education, especially during their early years of development. One crucial aspect of learning to read is phonics, the foundation of literacy.

By understanding phonics and implementing effective strategies, you can empower your child to become a confident reader. This comprehensive guide will provide you with essential information and practical tips to teach phonics at home and make the learning process enjoyable for both you and your child as you observe your child’s reading skills improve by leaps and bounds.

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching reading that focuses on the relationship between sounds and letters. It involves breaking down words into their individual phonemes (sounds) and blending them together such that one can read out the whole word. Mastering phonics equips children with the necessary reading skills to decode unfamiliar words and become independent readers.

How To Teach Phonics at Home

Building Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. It lays the groundwork for phonics instruction. You can help develop phonemic awareness by engaging in various activities, such as:

  • Rhyming games: Identify words that rhyme and encourage your child to come up with their own rhymes.
  • Sound blending: Say individual sounds and ask your child to blend them into a word (e.g., /c/ /a/ /t/ becomes “cat”).
  • Sound segmentation: Pronounce a word, and your child separates it into individual sounds (e.g., “cat” becomes /c/ /a/ /t/).
  • Sound substitution: Change one sound in a word to create a new word (e.g., change /b/ in “bat” to /r/ to make “rat”).

Understanding Letter-Sound Correspondence

Understanding letter is one of the way to teach phonics at home with your child.

Once your child has developed phonemic awareness, introduce letter-sound correspondence. Teach them the sounds associated with individual letters and letter combinations (digraphs and blends). Apply the following techniques:

  • Alphabet charts: Display an alphabet chart in your child’s learning area with each letter and its corresponding sound.
  • Letter of the day: Focus on one letter each day and explore words that begin with that letter sound.
  • Flashcards: Create flashcards with letters and corresponding pictures to reinforce letter-sound associations.
Teach Phonics at Home

Introducing Sight Words

Sight words are commonly used words that children should recognize instantly to improve their reading fluency. While sight words don’t always follow phonetic rules, they are crucial for reading comprehension. Practice sight words through:

  • Word walls: Create a word wall with sight words your child can refer to daily.
  • Sight word games: Play games like Bingo, Memory Match, or scavenger hunts using sight words.

Decoding Techniques

Teach your child various decoding strategies to read unfamiliar words:

  • Sounding out: Encourage them to use their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to pronounce new words. Saying them out loud by both parent and child can help reinforce a new word or phrase learnt.
  • Chunking: Break longer words into smaller, recognizable parts to simplify pronunciation. Some examples are ‘sun – shine’ or ‘moon – light’ or ‘day – break’.
  • Context clues: Encourage using context to guess the meaning of unknown words. This is important as understanding the meaning of the words your child encounter in the context of what he is reading will go a long way to improving both vocabulary and comprehension.

Engaging Reading Materials

Provide a wide range of reading materials tailored to your child’s interests and reading level. These may include:

  • Age-appropriate books: Invest in picture books, early readers, and chapter books that cater to their reading level. Our National Library is a good and economical source to ‘loan, read, return’ as the range of books available is enormous.
  • eBooks and audiobooks: Utilize digital platforms with interactive elements to make reading enjoyable. Again the national Library is never short of eBooks for loan. They have selections like ‘Disney Book Box’ like ‘Zootopia, ‘Baby Board Books’ like ‘Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss’ and ‘Picture Books’ like ‘Shampoodle – Joan Holub’.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud to your child is an invaluable bonding experience and reinforces their love for reading. Select books that are slightly above their reading level to expose them to new vocabulary and concepts.

Animating and dramatizing while reading aloud, not only puts voice to written words but also emotion and atmosphere to the setting. Characters in the books come alive and this will inject fun and meaning to reading.

Creating a Reading Routine

Another way to teach phonics at home is to establish a consistent reading routine to cultivate a reading habit.

Designate a specific time each day for reading, whether it’s before bedtime or during playtime. Show a good example by being an avid reader yourself. Showing, rather than telling, can be the best way for kids to learn anything especially at this impressionable phase.

Monitoring Progress

Keep track of your child’s reading progress. Regularly assess their phonics skills and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Sometimes keeping good records instil good habits and helps both parent and child to recall books read especially when the list is going to get long and we are in it for the long run.

Seek Support

If your child faces challenges with reading or phonics, don’t hesitate to seek professional support from teachers or reading specialists. Many resources and programs are available to help children overcome reading difficulties as this might be a better approach then trying to teach phonics at home with them.

Here in ‘Seriously Addictive English’ (S.A.E.) @ HOUGANG, we offer good support and customize English programs including phonics, reading and writing after a comprehensive diagnostic. For phonics, we use a structured phonics approach and an integrated literacy skills curriculum to help children read fluently and write confidently. The structured phonics approach simplifies English language into 44 sounds that can help the early learner to read and write. 

Not wanting to teach phonics at home, then you might be interested in checking out our carefully structured modules which cover motor skills for the little ones, phonics, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, structuring text, planning and independent writing.

Conclusion

By now, we hope that you know how to teach phonics at home can be an exciting and rewarding journey for both you and your child. By building phonemic awareness, understanding letter-sound correspondence, introducing sight words, and engaging in decoding techniques, you can equip your child with the essential reading skills to become a proficient reader.

Remember to create a nurturing and positive reading environment and be patient as they embark on their literacy journey. With your support and encouragement, your child will develop a lifelong love for reading and a strong foundation for academic success.

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