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ABC to Reading: Early Reading Skills

Last week I did an instagram Live with Kazima, a speech language pathologist and a wonderful author and blogger over at Flowers of My Garden. We discussed the basics of getting our kids to read! It seems like such an abstract topic that explaining it to a three year old feels mind boggling!

If you missed the live your can watch the replay here . If you are currently under the covers and trying not to make a sound, I typed a summary blog for you 😀 .

How do I even get my child interested in books? They find it so boring!

The answer involves nurture and nature. Lets start with nature. Some kids are naturally drawn to books, they love them from an early age. Others have little to no interest in them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them to fall in love with books!

Thats where nurture comes in. Reading to children from a very early age helps build a positive association with books and reading. Reading to them shows them that it is fun, not a chore. Your child will come to enjoy books because it means they get 1:1 time with you!

As your kids get older, you will see their attention being drawn by the fancy toy that lights up and makes noises. You can keep books still interesting by picking up books about their favorite characters. For a while we would read a page from a book and then “act it out” with her figurines!

What is the best way to teach my child the alphabets?

Traditionally we learn our ABC by the names (usually with that annoying songs). However, learning alphabet recognition without phonics can often make it harder for a child to understand phonics later on.

Basically we are adding an extra step for our child down the road. We first teach our kid to recognize the symbol for the letter. So in their little brains when they see A they can say thats the letter “A”. A few months later, we teach that same kid that the letter “A” makes the sound “AH”. Essentially letter recognition becomes a two step process.

Teaching the alphabets phonetically means we eliminate the first step. Instead of having the child recognize letters by their labels, we have them recognize them by their sound.

I know what you are thinking, my kid already labels the letters, did I just doom them?

Nope. Lucky for you, these munchkins are easily rewired. Start focusing on the sounds instead of the labels. So rather than asking “what makes the sound “ceh ceh”, ask ” Can you find me something that begins with the sound “ceh ceh”. Slowly they’ll stop focusing on the letter itself and more on the sound.

Phonics down. What’s next? How do we go from their to reading?

There are two types of words: sight words and phonemic words. Again, traditionally, we were taught reading using sight words. These are high frequency words such as “and, but, it and the”. The idea is that your child will memorize the way these words and start to “read” them. Slowly you can build their reading vocabulary. During that process your child will get the concept of words and start to be able to sound out words to read them.

The other approach uses phonemic words and builds on the phonetic approach of learning the alphabets. You chose words that have similar endings such as -at, -of, -am. These words sound the same except for the first letter.



BOB Books are great for that. However as Kazima pointed out, they do get boring as the child gets better at reading!

What books have you used to teach your child to read?


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