Kip’s Tips for Teaching Children to Read through Phonics

Education Column Newsgroup Kip Mc Grath

At Kip McGrath we understand that to read English successfully, children must learn to turn the words they see in a text into sounds and make sense of these sounds. It is important for children to learn letter-sound relationships because English uses letters in the alphabet to represent sounds.

Here are some ideas to get your child on the path to reading English:

  1. Teach the sounds of the letters before the names of the letters.For example, in phonics it is important to know that the sound of the letter B is “buh”. This will help the child to read. Knowing that the name of the letter is B is irrelevant.
  2. Teach the child writing and reading at the same time.Younger children can “write” in a pan full of rice, in sand, or in finger paints.
  3. Teach the short vowel sounds first.This will enable children to read simple words such as cat, hot, up, met, or pig, rather than more complex ones such as name, seem, boat, ice, or cute.
  4. Train your child’s ear to the sounds of language.Play games to help your child identify the beginning sound of his or her name and of common words such as baby, mama, dog, and so on.
  5. Incorporate all the senses whenever possible.Cut out felt letters, make clay letters, or paste pictures of animals or items beginning with a specific letter / sound.
  6. Eat your words!There are many edible products that could promote literacy: Alphabites cereal, alphabet spaghetti, alphabet cookies, or alphabet fries. You could also “write” edible messages in mashed potatoes on a coloured plate.

Of course, don’t forget that while phonics can help children learn to sound out both familiar and unfamiliar words in texts, the approach has limitations. In English, many high-frequency words are irregular, like ‘one’ or ‘of’.

If you still feel your child needs more support with their reading, Kip McGrath Professional Tutoring can help. Call us on 01 490 8780 to discuss how we can help.


Sarah Davies BSc, MSc, PGCE Secondary, MSc Educational Leadership, PGDip Speech & Language Difficulties







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