At the foundation of every child’s education is learning how to read well.
Of course it always really starts with you reading to your children in your lap, but what about actual phonics and lessons?
Over the years, I’ve used a number of tools and tricks for teaching our children, first the alphabet, then phonics, and then eventually, we put it all together, and hooray – they’re a reader!
Here are a few tools I like to use for teaching our kids to read:
I start this around age three or four, depending on the child’s interest. It’s no stress, and for them, just a fun game. I’m always surprised how quickly they can memorize letters and matching sounds. Any alphabet flashcards will do, and can almost always be found in the dollar section at Target.
Or, be creative and make your own game like the ice cream cones and ice cream scoops above!
Starfall is a wonderful way to help children learn their letters. With so many interactive games and exercises, children don’t even realize they’re learning reading skills. I can’t stress enough how helpful this site has been with every single one of our boys! Our sixth child, Levi, spends a good hour per day playing helpful, educational games that boost his phonics and reading skills.
Once a child has mastered letter recognition and letter sounds, I begin teaching them how to make three-letter-words, replacing the first letter with a new consonant once they read the word. I repeat, then begin with a new vowel in the middle. Example: c-a-t, m-a-t, p-a-t, r-a-t, s-a-t.
You can find those letter tiles here.
Free Printable Coloring Pages
These sites are really great for printing coloring pages for putting together “letter books”.
Word and Letter Puzzles
I love these word puzzles, and so do our boys. These puzzles make reading fun!
Letter magnets are another great way for children to explore making new words. Whether you give them free rein on the refrigerator or keep them on the white board where you do your schoolwork doesn’t matter. Your kids will enjoy exploring new words either place!
These are often in the dollar section, or at the dollar store, but here are some really fun ones from Melissa and Doug.