Having your child utter a string of “Mama” and “Dada” babbles in their early years can put a smile on any parent’s face. In a matter of time, children will experiment with a wider range of consonant sounds, expand their vocabulary and speak with various tones of voice. This oral language is a clear indicator of their emerging awareness of phonics. With their newfound ability to sound out words, this is the ideal time to build on your child’s letter-sound knowledge through literacy experiences. One such way to do this is to introduce phonics into their everyday activities and playtime.
What is Phonics?
Phonics is the study of sounds and plays an essential role in how your child reads or writes in the future. This is because phonics aids in the correct understanding of sounds. Since there are 26 letters in the English alphabetic language, knowing the different speech sounds ensures that they can read with ease over time.
How is this possible?
Phonics teaches them how to link sounds with the letters of the alphabet. This way, they can read and write faster because they will be able to “sound out” words while participating in any literacy activities.
Why is Phonics Important For Children?
Imagine learning a new language. You’ll first have to learn all the consonants and vowels and the sound each makes. With some practice, you will eventually be able to read and write words down.
Similarly, English is a brand-new language for the little ones. Surely, the exposure to daily speeches by parents will get children familiarised with certain words. However, it is a different ball game when it comes to unfamiliar words present on print media or even subtitles on their favourite shows and movies. Take, for example, iconic yet foreign phrases like “Wingardium Leviosa”.
When we first encounter strange words like these, very often we tap on our knowledge of sound to read them. Through repetition, we learn to read them fluently by recognition. Phonics will equip your child with the same skill.
Essentially, the main way phonics can help your child master English is by equipping them with the ability to break words down while reading. This method triumphs over meaning-based approaches that focus on rote memorisation. Instead of visual memory, phonics drills down on pronunciation so that children can learn to identify and manipulate sounds freely.
How Can You Help Your Child with Phonics?
If each word functions as bricks to build a house of reading and writing abilities, phonics is the foundation of that house.
Teaching phonics is not as complicated as it seems. Exposing your child to the simple phonics rules during their early years lets them build their knowledge of sounds. Be it through song or flashcards, have them first recognise and memorise the sounds of each letter.
To lay a solid foundation, consider these fun activities for your child!
1. Make Phonics Fun!
Every child loves to play! Skip the worksheets and laminated alphabet posters, and spend some time on other fun activities. From visually stimulating games to kinetic ones that get your child’s heart pumping, phonics can be easily made engaging with some creativity.
Transform your living space into a large-scale phonics Snake and Ladder with boards designed with the letters of the alphabet. Have your child hop across according to the number reflected on the dice. Then, get them to make the sound of the letter they have landed on. If a different phonics letter sound is made, they’ll have to go right back to where they started from.
2. Use Educational Mobile Apps
There is no denying that modern-day technology is a handy tool. Transform your smartphones into pocket-sized phonics classes with apps designed to enhance your child’s learning. From ABC Spelling to Teach Your Monster to Read, there are several portable ways to teach children phonics on the go.
3. Consider Structured Reading Programmes
Reading programmes nurture children into skilled readers. At MindChamps, our Reading Programme with Phonics Classes ensures children read with understanding. Avoiding traditional rote learning, our reading programme equips your child with the essential skills required to spark a deep love for reading. Using a unique “Say & Sing Phonics” method, your child will gain a better comprehension of the relationship between symbols and sounds.