Questions and Answers
Phonics & Decoding
Making the connection between letters and sounds is the first task of reading. Many kids struggle with this step, but there are things you can do to help your child crack the code.
Click below for answers to the following phonics and decoding questions:
Why can't my child re-read a word in a sentence that she just sounded out?
This may happen because she is concentrating so hard on the decoding (sounding out), that she is unable to remember and comprehend the full sentence. This is a good indication that the books she is reading are too challenging for her at this time.
The next time you and your child choose books, you may want to ask her teacher, a librarian, or a reading specialist to help you find "just right" books for your child. These should be books that your child is interested in and that she can read with about 95% accuracy the first time. Ask her to read a page or two aloud while you silently count the errors from the total numbers of words on the pages she reads. This will give you an estimate of her accuracy.
By reading "just right" books, your daughter will practice all aspects of reading, including fluency and comprehension. And comprehension, ultimately, is the goal of reading! As she reads "just right" books, her ability to decode words will become even more automatic. As she gains proficiency, the text will become more meaningful because she will be able to understand and enjoy what she is reading.
Check out Reading Rockets' recommended books by theme for some ideas!
I have a student who has trouble blending phonemes. Any suggestions?
What is the best order in which to introduce letters and their corresponding sounds?
What are some ways to help my daughter learn the names and sounds of letters? She is tired of simply using flashcards.
There are several things you can do to help your child remain interested in learning her letters. Try using a multi-sensory approach. Your child may be a tactile learner instead of an auditory or visual learner, or she may just need a variety of sensory input to learn best. Help her to identify how each sound feels on her mouth. Use a mirror to help. For example your lips come together for /m/.
You may want to try coming up with a rhyme or song about each letter. Use alphabet magnets or alphabet cookie cutters with clay in lieu of flash cards. These activities may be more fun and engaging than flashcards and help your daughter develop her oral communication.
Use pictures. Give your child a picture (e.g. a cat) and have her sound out the name while placing marbles, drawing marks, or tapping her fingers for each of the individual sounds in the word (e.g., /c/.../a/.../t/ is composed of 3 sounds, thus the child would use 3 marbles, marks, or taps.) Stick with short words with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern, like bat, top, pen, dad, etc. You can also clap or tap out the number of syllables in a word.
How can I help my son practice blending sounds as he reads?
You can do a lot to help your child practice. One way is to use modeling to introduce these skills. As you read to your child, sound out some of the words before you say them completely. Also, you can make a game to practice blending. Give your child a picture (e.g. a cat) and have him sound out the name while placing marbles, drawing marks, or tapping their fingers for each of the individual sounds in the word (e.g., /c/.../a/.../t/ is composed of 3 sounds, thus the child would use 3 marbles, marks, or taps.) You can also practice counting syllables by clapping or using your fingers to tap out the number of different sounds, or phonemes, in a word.
As your child continues to develop as a reader, the best thing you can do as a parent is to support him and give him many opportunities to practice.