8 tips for teaching phonics to your child

How to teach phonics

Teaching phonics is easier than most people think.

After almost six years of teaching Jolly Phonics to our children (find out more about Jolly Phonics here), I’ve found that having a fun programme helps. However, equally if not more important is how I approach my child and the entire learning procress.

Here are 8 lessons I’ve learned:

1) Follow a routine.  

Have a regular learning sequence as young children find comfort in a predictable routine. For instance, teach the letter sounds first, then follow up with hands on activities like singing and related crafts.

2) Vary learning activities.

Vary the activities to maintain interest. Use flashcards, tell stories using Finger Phonics books, sing some Jolly Songs, spend some time tracing letters and writing, play blending and segmenting games, do cut-and-paste activities. You can do so much in 30 minutes, the time will simply fly.

You can also combine phonics learning with reading aloud, such as pointing out tricky words in story books or asking your child to blend an easy CVC word along the way. Don’t do it too often though as that will spoil the story!

3) Multi-sensory learning.

Have a mental checklist of all the senses used in learning so that the process is effective and enjoyable. Jolly Phonics flashcards and Jolly Songs engage the visual and auditory senses. Doing the actions involves gross motor skills so there’s a kinesthetic element too. Piglet always likes to get up from the table and run around flapping his hands like a bee when he says “zzzzz”. I say “Go, go! Buzz!” He’s a boy!

4) Kinesthetic learning.  

With respect to boys especially, the kinesthetic element is very important. Boys between 2-4 years old are very active and it is unrealistic to expect them to sit still for long. Many early childhood environments do boys a great disservice in this area.

Encourage your child to move around after 5-8 minutes of sitting down. Get him to use his arms and legs, make big sweeping actions and dramatic noises together with him when you review letter sounds. He will love it and you will be more relaxed too!

5) Focus on the child.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is focusing on the activity and ignoring the child. That can be easy to do if you’re an A type personality! What happens when you’ve spent lots of time preparing a lesson the night before and your child doesn’t seem interested? Think of yourself as a partner and less of a teacher in your child’s learning. Be flexible and willing to follow his interests. He may not want to write today, but he could love writing letters on your back using his finger and having fun seeing you guess the letter.

Sometimes, offering a choice helps your child to take ownership of his own learning. For instance, “Which would you like to do first, colour the picture or write the letters?”

6) Talk through letter formation.

Right from the beginning, it helps to guide your child verbally as he forms the letters. For example with “W”, I say “Start at the top, down, up, down, up”. We repeat that aloud as Piglet traces or writes and this helps him remember how to do it properly.

7) Facilitate self-discovery.

Sometimes we just have to hold our tongues and trust the process. Being impatient can sabotage a child’s opportunity to learn.

I’ve learned it’s important for me to wait and allow Piglet time to look at the letters, recall and say the sounds he’s learned, join them together and actually hear himself reading the word. That is, give him a chance to blend a word on his own without jumping in too early to help. Then see his face light up when he discovers a word that he’s known verbally, but is now reading on his own for the first time! This facilitates his self-esteem and motivates him to learn so much more.

8) Play games.

When Piglet first started Blending Cards, I suggested he stack them up and count them one by one to see how many he’s done. He’s always happy to see how many words he’s read. This builds his confidence and is math practice too.

 

Upcoming post: Games that make learning phonics fun!

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When Mama is sick

The past three months has dragged by very slowly. Our family has been fighting a bug that has affected everyone, one by one.

You know, the kind that the smallest kid gets and then passes it to two more and then just as we think we’re out of the woods, the one last healthy kid and adults get it too because a little toddler girl doesn’t know better yet except to keep coughing directly in our faces.

Once is hard enough, but this viral bug has gone around, merry-go-round, FOUR times.

There wasn’t a stop button.

It was a bug that it seems just about everyone has caught at some point this season but because our family has so rarely been sick – hardly even the sniffles – this one stretch of three months has been big for us.

You mamas and your little ones down with it now, I just want to say I know how you feel.

Because being sick and sleep deprived yourself when you have to take care of four sick kids and the house and three meals a day, sucks. It really does.

I could type that a few times over.

The months have crawled by with snot-filled, grubby tees and little feverish bodies and in-the-middle-of-the-night tepid baths and sponging cloths and dusty bookshelves and meals you’re glad for simply because they’re cooked, not for their flavours.

Before you know it the world gets so much smaller, filled with all of these things that don’t seem to end and the gaping isolation of quarantines, not being able to meet friends and their kids because you don’t want to pass germs.

But a season like this makes me appreciate so much more the silver lining that shines, of my mother who comes to help with meals twice a week and save the garden from becoming a jungle again.

Of friends who keep loving on me in their own special ways.

Of things that feed my soul and take my mind off being sick, like building a trellis for the vigorous passion fruit vine whose bright green grasping tendrils can’t wait for the fevers and coughs and colds to pass and stretch obliviously upward daily, higher and higher toward the sun, looking for something to climb on.

Yes, the razors in your throat can drive you completely to your knees especially when a sick baby’s been calling out every hour of the night.

You mamas cowering under the bedcovers hoping to stay there a bit longer after “waking up”, I get you. I do.

Cling on to the LOVE of God the Father. Because He is right down there with you in the trenches.

Cling on when the entire day stretches out before you like an unending blanket with the words “Mama, can I have ….”, “laundry”, “cooking”, “dishes”, “floors”, “homeschool”, and “poopy butts” crayoned in bright colours all over it.

Cling on when it feels you’re juggling everyone’s hats and your overworked husband is doing his level best because he’s down sick, too, and can’t but not do overtime on weekends.

Cling on when you feel you’ve gone nuts at some point – a few times.

Cling on and never for one moment believe the lie, “I am in this all alone.”

“I will never leave you, or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Cling on to the HOPE in Jesus. Because He died, and rose again.

That day on which you entertain thoughts of throwing in the towel and going back to work in that carpeted, air-conditioned office without any runny noses or fevers or food crumbs or Legos in it – that day, those days, will pass.

And you can finally deal with the food rotting in the refrigerator.

And clear out the storeroom reeking of dead roaches piled up in the dark corners.

And find the strength to pull out the weeds in the garden and revel in the beauty of the flowering okra plants and pick so much overgrown spinach you will have pots of delicious hot soup to make them with.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)

when mama is sick

Cling on to FAITH in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because His presence makes all the difference in an otherwise bleak day.

How good it is in the midst of it all to feel with body, mind, heart and soul that Jesus the Good Shepherd is carrying you on His shoulder over the thorny brambly bushes through the dark valley to the quiet waters and greener pastures beyond.

How good it is to hear your four year old belt out “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” just as you struggle through the morning routine and as you wonder how you will make it through the day with that congested nose.

He is faithful, always faithful to answer, when you whisper over the pile of dirty dishes – “Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

So whisper along, won’t you?

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

 

Online shopping Malaysia tips for beginners

Online shopping is no longer new these days and a lot of people enjoy it. If you are someone who has no time to go out shopping or just want to explore online shopping Malaysia as a beginner, there are a few shopping tips you should know. This is to avoid you making common beginner mistakes and having a negative experience on your first attempt.

1) Research.   Knowledge is key. List all the websites that seem credible and read product or service reviews from past customers. Attempting online shopping at scammed websites can be dangerous because they may drain your bank account. If you aren’t sure, talk to friends who are avid online shoppers.

OS12) Experiment.   Focus on items you need to purchase because you don’t want to regret buying items you won’t use eventually. As a beginner, take it slow and do a test run. Buy an item or two and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep. If you like the service and products offered, you may continue shopping at the same place in future.

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3) Ensure security.   You should also make sure the website you are browsing has a lock sign in the top url browser before making any payment. This shows that your transactions are secure from identity theft or hackers. If there isn’t a lock sign on the browser, it is better not to shop at that particular website. It may seem a credible one but it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Online shopping has saved me lots of time and inconvenience. With some wisdom (and self-control!) it can be a useful choice that benefits the entire family – because Mum doesn’t have to go to the shops anymore and can spend time with the people she loves!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Zalora Malaysia.