Research shows that for children to become enthusiastic, fluent readers, they need a firm grasp of phonics and the alphabetic code. That’s where phonological and phonemic awareness — the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words — come into play.
Reading is not a task that comes naturally for most children. Instead, they need to be taught to read. They won’t learn simply by looking at books or listening to adults read (even though few things are more valuable in raising a lifelong reader than reading to them from birth on!).
Recognizing words easily is one of the first steps on the path to a love of reading and learning. And using phonics can help you get the ball rolling for your child!
Your child has mastered the alphabet; they can name the letters, they know the order of the letters, and they know the sounds that each letter represents. So, what’s next? Are they ready to start sounding out words? The answer is: maybe! Sounding out is the process of blending sounds into words. We use this process whenever we encounter a word we aren’t familiar with. Since it is second nature for us, it seems like this process of blending sounds to make words should be simple for kids who know the alphabet. But this process actually involves specific skills that go beyond knowing the alphabet. Keep reading to see if your child is ready to start sounding out words.
What are Sight Words?
What’s the most common word in the English language? It’s the. Imagine if every time you saw this word, you had to stop and figure out what it was. It would make reading even the simplest text very slow and painful. Being able to read the at first sight makes things a lot easier: no sounding out, no trying to remember. You recognize it just like your own name. Sight words are words like the. These words occur so frequently that readers, including very young readers, need to know them instantly.
Exploring an area of interest helps children grow their vocabulary and background knowledge, gives them an outlet for creative self-expression, and helps them make sense of how the world works can even help them discover new interests. Importantly, it also creates a positive attitude towards learning that can have a lasting impact.