This is a series of post designed to help you teach your child how to read in about two weeks. No, your child will not be able to read the newspaper in two weeks or read a chapter book. What they will be able to do is learn the 26 phonics sounds that the letters of the alphabet make. They’ll also be able to make two and three letter words. Three letter words are often called cvc words (consonant vowel consonant). They are words like cat and fig. After this 15 day period your child will be well on their way to being able to read and spell these words, however they won’t be an expert in just 15 days. They’ll have to keep practicing afterwards, but they’ll have the tools. In short, this is the beginning of their reading journey. They will accomplish a lot in this short period of time, but they won’t know everything. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging, I’ll help you with the next 15 days and beyond too.
At the end of 15 days your child should be able to….
– recognize the basic sounds that the 26 letters of the alphabet make
– make and read small two and three letter words
– learn the sight words “a”, “I” and “the”
– understand the concept of word endings
Please keep in mind that after this 15 day introductory your child will learn these skills, but they won’t be perfect yet, they will spend subsequent weeks reinforcing what they’ve learned.
One very important note. It is absolutely imperative that you do not skip days. By that I mean you can’t work on this for 3 days and then skip 2, and later come back to it. A huge part of this is reinforcing what is learned, and skipping days makes it easy for kids to forget. However I know you’re busy, so if you can’t do a full lesson that’s ok. You just have to review all the letter sounds that they know. This should only take 5-10 minutes. If you’re so busy one day that you can’t do anything, then I recommend that you repeat the last day you completed. Keep in mind that kids with shorter attention spans might need some lessons broken into two. If that’s the case always make sure they review all the letter sounds they know every day, and you are always welcome to split up the rest of the lesson.
If you’ve poked around on this site at all, you’ve probably heard me mention letter groups before. That’s how I like to break down teaching the alphabet, so that’s where we’ll start.
An important thing to note: From here on out we are only talking about the sounds that the letters make. We are not talking about the names of the letters. Before you start teaching your child how to read, I recommend that they already are very familiar with the names of the letters. At this point you should explain to them, the letters have names (which you already know) , and they have sounds, (that’s what we’re going to learn now). Do your best to not confuse the two, and the best way to do that is to just start using the sounds. It’s not what sound does a make. It’s this is /a/.
Ok let’s get started with lesson 1. All of this should take place in one day. Once your child is done with this information, they’re done for the day. There is no need to move on to the next day early. In fact I recommend that you don’t. Brains can only take in so much information at once, and besides this should be fun and relaxing. This day is pretty short, but trust me we will rev up pretty soon.
Today we will learn:
the sounds /m/, /a/, /s/, /t/
Materials you will need:
You should purchase or make the letters of the alphabet. You will need to decide if you want to use uppercase or lowercase letters (I like to use lowercase), whichever you choose stick to it. You can make them out of any kind of paper. You can easily buy some cards at the store or online, and you can use little toy movable letters. It really doesn’t matter which you use. I have sandpaper letters. I got them from amazon. I like them because they have a texture that kids like to touch, and that also helps them with their sensory skills, especially if they are young.
Start by only taking out the letters m,s,a, and t. Put all the other letters away, there’s no need to use them today. Having them out will only cause confusion.
The purpose of this is to introduce the sounds to your child, that’s it. Start with one letter at a time. There are a few activities that you can do to help your student start learning these four letter sounds. Start by pulling one letter out. And say this is /m/. Show them the letter. Let them hold it, and keep saying /m/. Have them repeat it. After a few times of saying /m/, ask them “what’s this?” If they can answer this question twice then they are probably ready to move on to the next sound (sound, not letter). If you have sandpaper letters they should definitely trace the m, while saying the sound. Even if you don’t have sandpaper letters they can trace the m.
Now move on to the next sound /s/. Again, let them hold the letter, have them repeat the sound, and trace the letter, all while saying it’s sound. You can also let them draw the letter too. The important thing is, that they interact with the letter while they say its sound out loud. After asking what’s this, and getting the response /s/, pick up the m and ask the same question. Make sure you get the desired answer. If you do, then alternate between the two. “What’s this?” “/m/. What’s this? /s/. If they don’t get the sounds right, then you know you need to keep spending some time working on them. Once they are ready, move on to the next sound.
Now it’s time for the third letter. Repeat all the same activities as before. Once they are comfortable with /a/, add in the other two letters. It’s always important to reinforce sounds and words they have recently learned. Once they’re ready, move on to the final sound of the bunch.
Now that you’ve gone over all four of these sounds, continue to review them until you’re sure your student knows them well. If you notice them getting tired (they’ll start to make mistakes that they didn’t make earlier), then just tell them they did great and stop. You can always pick this back up again tomorrow. I would also recommend going over the sounds one more time before the end of the day. That way you can see how much they have retained. That will let you know if you should plan on moving on to day two tomorrow, or if you need to do this day one more time. Either way is fine. What’s most important is that your child learns and is relaxed. You want reading to be fun. After each day you’ll need to assess how they’re doing and if you should move on or repeat the day.
That’s it for day one. This is their first foray into reading and that’s enough for now.