Have I ever mentioned that I can be a bit lazy when it comes to organizing elaborate and crafty learning activities? I think I have. Have I ever mentioned that I'm too cheap to buy "educational" electronics or apps? I think I have. (Also, I think they are annoying.) I present to you: The Lazy Mom's Guide to Teaching Her Child Phonics.
Summer Learning and Reading Readiness
My 4 year old will be entering Kindergarten this fall. (Insert cliché here: "where oh where does the time go?") I'm happy to see that he's showing signs of reading readiness. (He's not the rockstar reader like his brother was, who was reading chapter books by this age. If I can't brag to the internet, who can I brag to?) I want to make sure his skills continue to develop over the summer both without pushing him and without taxing myself. (I mentioned my laziness, right?)
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Easy Ideas for Teaching Phonics:
Fortunately, you can develop your kid's phonetic understanding without Leapfrog or an iPhone! Here are a few of the ways I am doing it:
Play a simple word choice game. With our magnetic word set* I put two words next to each other and asked him to point to the one I named. For example, "Which word is 'monkey'?" (see above photo) He only needs to know the sound of the first letter to do this, but it gets him ready to read whole words. (*Pictured above is the Magnetic Poetry Kit - Really Big Words, which both boys love playing with.)
Use an alphabet puzzle to practice and introduce phonic sounds. See how I did this with my son here.
When you read books "mess" up words. For example, your reading conversation may go like this:
Mommy (reading a book): ... and the farmer drove the duck...
Kid (giggling): No! Mommy! Truck! Not duck!
Mommy (putting finger on the letter T): Oh, yes. You are right that is a "t" not a "d". How could I be sooooo silly? "T" is "tttttt" sound, not a "ddddd" sound!
Add a lot of simple rhyming games to your everyday life. Rhymes are one of the very best ways to build the skills necessary for reading.
Recite tongue twisters. Tongue twisters are also excellent distraction tools when your kids are
going insane getting antsy in public. I can't tell you how fun they are. Plus the look on the kids face when you suddenly bust out with a tongue twister is fantastic. Alliteration, which is the foundation of tongue twisters, is great for phonics understanding.
Let you child play with Scrabble tiles or a Boggle game. They can sort letters while you make the sound. Or just drink your
coffee chai while they stack them up. That works, too.
Try a frozen word hunt in the bath. This does take a bit of planning but is still very easy.
And of course... read, read, read. Pick one of these fantastic summer picture books.