To develop the ability to read, it’s important to first focus on reinforcing phonetics. Reading becomes difficult for children and students who do not recognize the sounds of each letter. Being able to identify sounds (phonetics) develops pre-literacy skills and prepares students with a strong foundation to begin reading syllables, words, and then sentences. The first step in teaching literacy and one of the most important is the association between sounds and letter identification. Knowing phonetics helps in several ways. For example, it helps to be able to identify simple and complex words. Understanding phonetics is also important to be able to pronounce words correctly. Finally, reinforcing phonetics is essential when learning to read because it helps develop reading comprehension. With practice, the action of associating a sound with a letter becomes automatic and children can begin to understand the meaning of what they are reading.
I will share a fun activity to practice phonetics; you will need ping pong balls and two containers. On each ping pong ball, write different vowels and consonants, and have the same amount of both: Identify one container for vowels and the other for consonants. Then have your child sit a few feet away from the two containers, place the ping pong balls in front of your child, and they can play by tossing each ball into the vowel or consonant container. Once your child has thrown all the balls into their corresponding container, have them read each one and make sure they understand the difference between a vowel and a consonant. The Nacho Libro Inicial de Lectura and El Gran Nacho are two great resources that support the teaching of phonetics. To make this activity more challenging, you can use the practice words found in the books and write them on each ping pong ball. For example, prepare 5 containers that belong to 5 different letters. On the ping pong balls write words associated with the 5 different letters.
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