Creative Ways to Teach Your Child Phonics
To be effective, phonics learning should involve much more than workbook activities and flashcards. By coming up with real-life experiences, games, and creative activities to introduce phonetic sounds to your child, you help engage them in the process of reading, which has been shown to help children learn faster and retain more of the information longer. Recent brain studies (such as the brain SPECT scan research of Dr. Daniel Amen) have shown that whole brain teaching, where children are physically involved in the learning process, improves brain health because it exercises the entire brain. Here are some great ideas for creative ways to help your child learn phonics.
Make ABC Phonics Cookies
Especially for younger children, hands-on activities provide an important gateway to learning, as it helps keep their attention longer and keeps them more engaged. A great learning-to-read activity involves nothing more than sugar cookie dough and some alphabet cookie cutters. You can tailor this game to where your child is in the learning process. Make a handful of letters and practice sound association for really beginning readers, or make the entire alphabet and then use the baked cookies to put together and sound out words.
Play the Alphabet Game
The “alphabet game” has a million variations, with every family playing it just a bit differently, which makes it the perfect tool for fun phonics learning. One your child has a grasp of the alphabet (i.e., knows the ABC song), you can expand that knowledge by applying it to the greater world. For instance, while in the car, have your child find something that begins with a “B,” enunciating the sound and then helping him or her apply it to everyday names and labels. Or simply take turns coming up with a food that starts with each letter of the alphabet, going in order (e.g., A for apple, B for banana, C for carrot, etc.) As long as you make it collaborative and keep it fun, your child will learn more about phonics and how they’re applied to language.
Find a Good Memory Game
Building a solid foundation in the area of memory is really important for developing reading fluency, as readers will later draw on this memory knowledge (such as remember letter sounds and those common tricky words that don’t fit a pattern) to increase reading speed and boost comprehension. Memory card games or word flashcards provide fun and effective ways to switch your child’s memory on and get it working quickly.
There are endless ways to incorporate phonics into your daily round with your little one. With a little bit of creativity, you can introduce your child to the true joys of language and reading, while building a strong foundation for skills that will last a lifetime.