Not long after starting school, your child will start to learn phonics. Phonics is the sounds that letters make in words.
Dexter started school a month ago and is really enjoying learning his letter sounds but his teacher has recently told us about words that can’t be taught by sounds and are taught by sight. These ‘Sight Words‘ are also often known as exception words (because they are exceptions to the phonics rules) or tricky words.
We have been given a few of these tricky sight words on flash cards to start us off so that we can work with both Dexter and his school to help him learn these words by sight so that he can recognise them himself and then learn to say them, read them, and write them.
Every new stage of parenting with Dexter is a new stage. I’ve never had a school-aged child and I’ve never had to teach a child to read or write anything apart from teaching Dexter his name, so I’ve been having a think about some fun ways in which I can help him learn these sight words that will make it fun for him and encourage him to read and enjoy them. The best thing you can do for your child is read with them and I’ve always been keen on encouraging a love of books from the start. I can’t wait until he can start reading along with me!
Seeing how much he has learnt in the last month is amazing and I’m so eager to help him learn more. So, without further ado, here are some of the ideas Dexter and I will be implementing over the coming months…
Teach your monster to read
Teach your monster to read is a game/app that I’ve come across recently as it was mentioned in a facebook group that I’m in. At the moment it is free but I think its normally £5.99. It teaches your children phonics in the same order that they learn the letters at school but it also teaches them tricky words too. Dexter really enjoys playing it so far and I don’t mind because he’s learning at the same time.
Word of the day.
Chose a word of the day and with your child, look out for it everywhere. Help them to find it in books that you read, on signposts and shop windows. Maybe put the subtitles on if you are watching tv. Look at labels and packaging.
See it, Say it, Make it and Write it.
Look at the letters together, say the word a few times. Then, using scrabble tiles or magnetic letters or something similar, spell out the word on the table or a piece of card. Go over the letters together and then speak the word again. Then write it. Write it at least 5 times so that it sticks. The more you do this, the more it will stick.
We have some brilliant foam letters for bathtime. Dexter’s bath often resembles alphabet soup but now that he is starting to recognise letters and sounds he’s starting to get much more enjoyment from them. We often spell out his name but I will now be using this one to one time with him to make these tricky words with him but also some CVC words using the phonemes that he is learning (consonant, vowel consonant words like cat, dog, jam, mat etc.)
Make up some simple word searches. Just 5 or 6 letters across and down for example and hide your word of the day in it a couple of times. Write the word above the word search so that they can keep coming back to it for reference. To start with, keep it simple and just write the words horizontally, as that is how they are read.
Have you got a reception aged child? Perhaps your child did all this last year or maybe you’re a teacher. I’d love to hear any other tips or ideas you might have. Especially ones that we can develop as he learns more.