Builds a great relationship that will be important for later learning. Be sure to begin an early habit of reading to your child daily.
Develops trust for learning. Children first learn that you love and care about them. This develops into trusting you. A child needs to trust you to learn from you. Without trust, teaching your child will be a struggle.
Develops listening skills. Listening skills are necessary for learning to later discriminate individual sounds in words. You can also help your child learn listening skills by playing some recorded sounds of objects and see if they can identify what the sound is. You can learn about birds and various bird calls and then learn to identify specific bird calls in nature. This will help them later listen for individual sounds in words.
Builds knowledge that words have meaning. If you occasionally point to the words in the story, they will learn that words represent information.
That print goes from left to right.
Knowledge comes from books.
Beginning at birth, you can sing the ABC song to your child anytime. Then around age 2 to 4 years your child will begin singing it themselves. They learn from hearing you sing it while running errands in the car, while fixing
dinner, or at other moments you are with your child. Gradually your child will join in with you as you sing it together.
Point out letters in print such as the beginning letter in your child's name and in other family members' and friends' names. Or you can point to D for dinosaur if your child is interested in dinosaurs. Make it meaningful to your
child based on what is important to them.
Around age four, once your child knows several alphabet letters, you can use a simple ABC chart
and sing the ABC song while pointing to each letter as you
sing, including pointing individually to L, M, N, and O.
Once your child can sing the ABC song and point to the letters as he sings their names on the alphabet chart, he can find out himself any letters he does not know. If he sees a letter somewhere in the environment and
does not know what that letter is, he can go to the chart and sing as he points until he gets to the unfamiliar letter. Singing it will reveal its name. If your child needs an alphabet chart, click on the image of the chart and you can download a copy of it.
Same Sound Sort. Around age 3 and 4 you can gather objects from your house that begin with either "b" or "m", for example, or any two letters that have very different sounds. Then have your child sort them into piles with all the objects that begin with the "b" sound and those that begin with the "m" sound. To the right is a link to a free activity like this that you can download from Teachers Pay Teachers with the letters B and H.
Read Silly Alphabet Books that have lots of words for each alphabet letter. One fun one is Dr. Suess's ABC book. Emphasize the alphabet sounds for each letter.
Focus on just one letter and go around the house finding objects that start with that letter. You could also note all during the day when you notice a word that starts with that letter. See if your child joins in. All you need to do is casually notice to yourself out loud when a word starts with that letter. It doesn't need to be dramatic. Your child might even join in but say a word that does not begin with that sound. That's ok. He is just learning, but he is joining in the game, which is a good sign that he wants to learn.
Alliteration is another activity to try. Alliteration is naming several words that start with the same first letter. An example is "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." You can also just merely point out when a sentence you say happened to have 2 or more words that started with the same sound. For example, "On Monday we are having muffins and milk." Then be surprised and say, "Oh, Monday, muffins, and milk all start with M!"
Read simple rhyming stories and nursery rhymes. As you read them, keep a subtle steady beat so your child feels the rhythm of rhyming. Then after you have read several rhyming stories over the course of several days, you can re-read one of your child's favorite rhyming stories. Then after you have read, for example, "One, two, buckle my shoe, three, four, shut the _________" you might pause when the rhyming word comes up and see if your child fills it in. You can also use a visual such as the one on the left so your child can "read' the poem with the numbers and pictures. At first, your child will fill in the blank because he remembers you reading the story, but this is still a step in the progression of learning to rhyme.
Read a rhyming story your child has not heard before and pause when you come to one of the rhyming words to see if your child can fill in the blank based on their knowledge of something that makes sense. If they have figured out rhyming, they will be able to do this. It's ok if they don't. Rhyming takes time.
CV rhymes. C stands for consonant and V stands for vowel. Just use rhyming words that have one consonant sound and one vowel sound. For example, say "Bee, me" or "Hi, my". Or name a bunch of words and see if your child can add one more, "Be, me, see, he, tea, knee" or moving on to CVCC words, you can say "wall tall, fall, mall, ball."
"Could you pass the cheese please." As you go about your day, if you happen to say something that rhymes, such as "Could you pass the cheese, please?" say, "Oh, that rhymed: cheese, please" so your child notices it along with you. Mention something practically every day for a period of time so your child gets exposed to rhyming. Don't overdo it to the point your child gets annoyed, though.
Consonant blend rhymes. After your child can do CV rhymes, such as add one more to "hi, my, bye, sigh, tie", you can add consonant blends such as "Play and sway". Those begin with consonant blends. You don't need to tell your child this, but be aware yourself that these words are consonant blends and they are harder to notice in rhymes than they are in CV rhymes. Don't drill these or quiz your child on them or they might back away. Just mention rhyming words and notice that they rhyme. Getting exposure is what's important.
Rhyming games. If your child wants to play a game with rhyming words, you can do thumbs up to indicate a pair of words rhyme and thumbs down to indicate they don't rhyme. This is easier to for children to do than to come up with rhyming words on their own. For example, say, "bee tree" and your child will do a thumbs up. Or, say, "dog bird" and your child will make a thumbs down. Then your child can have a turn to say some words and you can put your thumb up or down. This way you can see if he knows how to come up with rhyming words on his own.
Avoid rhyming with numbers. One caution is don't use numbers in rhyming in the beginning. This totally confuses kids. For example, don't say, "Name a word that rhymes with Two." or your child might say "three?" It is too confusing for your child if you throw numbers in.
Write poems together. Start by having your child come up with a topic to write about. As you write lines of the poem together, you can pause where the next line should have a rhyming word and say, "now we need to find a word that rhymes with [name the last word of that line]. For example, on Father's Day, write a poem about your child's dad that says something simple like, "My dad is rad. He is not bad. He never gets mad." or something simple like that.
Image from Lakeshorelearning.com
This is available at www.EducationToTheCore.com
Phonemes are individual sounds in words. This is not to be confused with individual letters--just sounds. For example, the word 'night' has three phonemes: 'n', 'i' and 't'. Learning phonemes is something your preschooler might understand closer to age five. You can say, "How many sounds are in your name, 'Josh'. 'j', 'o', and 'sh'. Three sounds."
You can then explore other family members names like you did with syllables, 'm' 'o' 'm' and 'd', 'a', 'd'. Begin it just as a listening skill. Later when your child is in Kindergarten, you can do it as a writing skill.
The image on the left is an example of writing the individual letters in the boxes for the number of sounds your child hears. The example has one letter for each sound, but some sounds have two or more letters for one sound, such as "shell." 'Sh' is one sound, 'e' is the next sound, and 'll' is the last sound. Your child would just write 'sh' in one box and 'e' in the next box and 'll' in the third box. You can use small gems or other marker for the three boxes in the "map it' section. Then use alphabet letters for the 'graph it' section. For the top section, your child says the word and counts the syllables. Below are more ways to help your child learn how to isolate individual sounds in words.
Play a game where you say things like, "say 'pig.' Now instead of saying the 'p' sound, say 'j'. See if your child makes the word 'jig.' Children might not be able to do this mentally until age 5 or 6. Before then, you can show the words visually with alphabet letters and switch out one letter at a time to form a new word.
An even more difficult exercise for older ages would be to do this with consonant blends. For example, say, "Say the word 'play.' Now say it without the 'l' sound. The new is 'pay.'
Sight word memorization activates the right brain
Struggling readers show more signs of right side activity of the brain when reading
Proficient good readers activate mostly the left brain when reading
Phonemic awareness and phonics skills (sounding out words and listening for sounds in words) activate the left brain.
Infants use mostly the right side of the brain, but this shifts during the ages of 5-7 to mainly using the left side of the brain. This shift is important for future learning.
If kids get too used to memorizing words by sight or shape, they can do not make the necessary shift from right brain to left brain activation for reading.
In about 3rd and 4th grade, readers who have focused on memorizing words instead of sounding them out begin to struggle. They no longer have picture cues and phonics knowledge has not been exercised as much, so it gets lost.
Research shows that if kids are not reading proficiently by 4th grade, 2/3rds of them will end up in prison or in poverty.
Phonics/decoding skills can be more challenging in the beginning, but it pays off in the end. Focusing on sounding out words, rather than memorizing them produces a better left brain and better reading.
Has trouble learning simple nursery rhymes, such as 1, 2 buckle my shoe (scroll up to see this visual) or even song lyrics that rhyme
Has memory recall problems when needing to name a common object. May resort to saying "thing" or "stuff" instead.
May struggle to memorize lists of items that go in order, such as learning the ABC song
Delayed language development and has fewer overall vocabulary words
Has letter reversals in language such as says "aminal" instead of "animal" or "beddy tare" instead of "teddy bear"
At preschool they may not speak a s much as other kids
Trouble creating a rhyme or difficulty hearing that two words rhyme
Difficulty following directions with multiple steps due to information processing difficulties, may only process parts of the instructions that are given
Struggles talking about an event in a logical order
This information came from www.Understood.org.
Has trouble with spelling, may spell the same word correctly and incorrectly in the same writing assignment
Has trouble sounding out words
Often confuses letters that look similar such as d and b, p and q
Confuses letters that sound similar such as d and t, b and p, f and v
Often doesn’t recognize common sight words
Struggles to find the right word to say, may say "um" a lot or other words as fillers
May struggle with words that are similar such as saying 'internal' instead of 'eternal' or 'extinct' instead of 'instinct'
In 3rd through 5th grade, may skip words in sentences such as 'in' or 'the' without noticing them
Struggling to remember what happened in a story they read
This information came from www.Understood.org.
Reads very slowly
Trouble finding the right words to say
Leaves out small words or parts of longer words when reading aloud
Not getting jokes or puns
Struggles with writing assiginments, may have trouble organizing thoughts
Struggles to fit in socially, has a harder time reading body language and difficulty learning from social blunders
This information came from www.Understood.org.
Try calling for objects that are missing or out of sight, such as calling, "Shoe! .....Shoe?.....Shoooe". This can help a child who is not saying any words. This helps your child begin saying one-word sentences.
Hold up an object that is obviously a shoe and say, "Is this a dog or a shoe?" That can prompt a smile or laugh as they say the word since it is silly.
Once a child is good at one-word sentences, add just one additional word each time your child says a word. For example, if your child says, "blankie", you could say, "Soft blankie" or "warm blankie, or "want blankie?"
To learn action words, focus on one for a week at a time when it applies to a situation, reinforcing that one word, such as "eat". You can pretend to have a dolly eat and say, "eat". Then when your child is being fed, say, "eat", and even when you eat, emphasize, "eat" as you point out that you are eating. Then focus on another action word, such as jump as you jump. Then help your child jump.
If your child struggles with "f" or "v" sounds, tell your child to gently bite his lower lip and blow. Both letter sounds use that same position. However, "v" uses voice and "f" uses air. You can also have your child feel their neck where their vocal cords are and feel the vibration when they say "v" but there is no vibration when they say "f". If they cannot make the sounds, have them feel your neck and then they can try to make their neck do the same.
Watch for more ideas and helps coming soon!