Introducing phonics to kids
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1.What is phonics
Phonics is the awareness of the sound for every letter rather than only understanding the name. By understanding the sound, the child/person can combine those sounds and read a word confidently. They don’t have to memorize all the words by using the letter names.
Phonics Helps the child to read unfamiliar words by combining the sound of each letter. Without phonics, it is hard for them to read any unknown word. As they haven’t come across that word before and haven’t memorized it, it is hard for them to read it.
2.When is the right age to start phonics?
The only person who can answer the question is our child. It entirely depends on the child’s interest. Look for a child’s sensitive period/interest and then move forward. My suggestion is between 3 to 5 as the child has better pronunciation at this age.
3.Sensitive period and phonic introduction
My daughter had started to show interest in phonics when she turned 3.5 years old. As I went through based on her interest, within a month, she learned the sounds of all alphabet; she has started to recognize the alphabet and match both capital and small letters. So, always go with the child’s interest, which is still right for both the child and the instructor.
But after learning the single letter sounds, she lost interest in moving further. So, we have put a pause on our phonics journey of proceeding further. Was recalling and practicing the single letter sound every day.
We can’t predict the children. So, always be prepared with the materials, whenever they show the interest start the learning.
4.Who can teach phonics better?
A trained person teaches phonics in a better way. Before giving away any information to a child, we need to be knowledgeable in that particular field. I don’t have any idea about phonics before starting the journey. So, I took a class from a jolly phonics trainer and trained myself before moving forward with my daughter. Always get ample knowledge before proceeding with the child.
We are learning jolly phonics and it has various steps in learning the phonics.
- Letter sounds
- Letter Formation
- Tricky words
6.How to practice Phonics?
- My first recommendation is, please follow the method which they follow in school.
- Sometimes the child may get confused if both the methods are different.
- Since due to the lockdown, my daughter was not going to school. Hence I have started to do it at home.
- Introduce the letter sounds in day-to-day life, talk about sounds by showing the letters. So, they can recognize the letter, its sound, and the name altogether.
- Whenever talking about any items, Use the starting sound and say the word. For ex: If we are going to say Strawberry instead of saying just the word, say “S” makes the sound Ssss- Strawberry.
- Phonics helps with language development. So, whenever possible, include the sounds in routine life.
- Please avoid rushing. Let the child learn phonics in their own interest.
We have done minimal activities for phonics reading. I haven’t done many activities for all letters individually. I highly recommend play-based learning, but my daughter easily gets distracted with activities rather than understanding the sounds. As we do activities and do play-based learning other times, we have concentrated much on learning rather than different activities for phonics. It completely depends on the child’s interest. If the child wants to do activity-based learning and can grasp the content, please go for it. Otherwise, minimal activity learning is enough. The main idea is no-stressful learning for both parents and children.
As per jolly phonics they divided the letter sounds into different groups. The first group is S, A, T, I, P, N. The main reason for not starting in the sequence (A, B, C.. ) is with the above group we can form a greater number of words rather than the sequence (A, B, C.. ). So , we have started with this group .
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8.Letter identification and recognition
As like many children, even my daughter struggled to between various identical letters such as b,d, p and some other. So we are practicing many activities to understand the difference very well. I am sharing one such activity here.
9.What if child didn't learn phonics?
Not all children get the chance to learn and understand phonics, and not all parents can afford to learn themselves. There are so many reasons behind it. So, please don’t stress yourself if the child didn’t get a chance to learn phonics. The little struggle may be there, and It is perfectly fine; kids are smart; they find their way to understand things.
Phonic awareness helps the child to read any word by using the letter sound. So, it helps them to read any unfamiliar word without any struggle.