“Great teachers teach children how to think not what to think.” ~ Unknown
Being a teacher and specialist in primary grades, I’ve also taught Literacy to adults for four years and English as a Second Language. Over the years I’ve developed a way of teaching reading that really suited my students, no matter what the age. A combination of Phonics, Whole Word, Sight and Experience rounded out the way I taught reading. Although Phonics was a major part of my Language Arts lessons, I incorporated various methods of teaching reading so that all children had an exposure to each style.
Phonics Are Very Important
I believe learning to read with Phonics is a most valuable skill. I consider it necessary to be taught sequentially, step by step. However, not all educators agree on the sequence. I can only offer the method I used for many years with great success.
The very most important part of phonetics is the ability to know the sound or sounds the letters represent, most often or should I say ‘always’ in combination with other letters. Listening and being able to discriminate each variation of sound is essential to this method of reading. The difficulty in the ability to discriminate sounds increases as the different letters are combined. So, I teach a particular sequence that has worked for me and my students and still works today!
The trickiest part of teaching phonics is to make the sound of the letter correctly. And it seems unfortunate that most people, some teachers and most parents don’t always know how to teach these sounds or even say them themselves.
I’ve realized that I have a passion to pass on the knowledge and experience that I have to parents who want to teach their child or children to read. The games and activities I suggest should be started when the child is young. Since these games and activities are listening games, listening for sounds in words and in the letters that make up the words, young children can follow these games easily while they’re learning the sounds. But you should always remember that it’s never too late. No matter how old your child is, if he/she is having difficulty reading, you can always begin to teach them starting with my methods on this site.
Perhaps a Contrarian View
Although some educators say the name of the letter should not be taught first, I humbly disagree. I have found it easier when the child can see the letter and is then taught the sound of the letter in the correct way, they can associate one with the other, yet see there is a difference. I explain to my students that a dog is an animal that is named a “dog”. His sound is “bow wow”. A cat is named a cat but its sound is “meow”. So it’s the same with letters having a name and a sound. Each is different and children are taught to know the difference between name and sound by frequent practice. Various games can keep it interesting for them.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed teaching children to read because they shared with me their joy in learning and achieving new knowledge. I loved to read a story to them before the end of each day because it sent them home in a calm state of mind. And it would leave me with a satisfied feeling that I had had a good day! When I left my teaching career, the whole Grade One class was tested and found to be reading in the 76th percentile average, which is quite high and unusual for a whole group so I’m told.
So “happy teaching”! The methods on this site, that I’ve used for years, are tried and true. If you take the time to go through the processes, your child will be reading very quickly!