Teaching phonics starts at a young age, but even if kids come into your classroom at any age it’s not too late.
First: Address where the child’s at
Data heads most schools, but sometimes when there’s language barriers, it makes these tests harder for students. No matter what additional factors are at play, simple one on one should allow you to know: does the child know their alphabet, do they know sounds, are they starting to get sight words, or just at what level they can read.
SECOND: Create a Goal and A Plan To achieve it
Nobody reaches the finish line without first figuring out where they are headed. Future readers likewise need to have achievable goals, so they can feel the success, and build on it. Notice nuance in each child. If the child is older, they might not be grasping why they even need to learn to read. They need to find inner motivation if they’re going to put forth the effort to master a new skill. This means they might need even more of a game type atmosphere. If you can think of a way to make learning fun, do it! The reward of it for everyone will pay off ten fold!
Third: Know the Basics of Language yourself
Here is some vocabulary around reading. Although it is not essential to memorize these words, the ideas behind them are what the students and all of us need to master.
Phonemes = any distinct unit of sound that when put together with other phonemes create words (for example ‘d’ in ‘dog’)
Grapheme = the symbols we use in writing (for example ‘d’)
Automacity = For it to be automatic and natural. The more words that fit into this category for the child the easier time they’ll have collecting information from a book or a street sign
Language Structure Also Effects Sound
Closed Words = CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant)
Open Words = 1st syllabol ends in a vowel
Silent ‘e’….also the other silent letter nuances
Vowel Team Words = like ‘Chair’ or ‘Neat’
Consonant ‘le’ and ‘er’ Words = like ‘supper’ and ‘turtle’
Lastly: Start Small
Our language is immense! People get Doctorates in just English, so remember achievable goals. Maybe a third grader just needs to learn the alphabet, but until that goal is accomplished the rest of English will not make sense. Good luck and stay patient!