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How to Teach Phonics to Preschoolers
There are various phonics programs that are widely available for educators and mothers to teach their children. The more common programs are Letterland, Zoophonics, Ants on the Apples and Jolly Phonics.
With the lack of knowledge in phonics, many parents shy away from teaching their own children. In this modern era, information is bountiful at your fingertips. I believe parents are the best teachers. Thus, I make the extra effort to understand more about phonics in order to help my daughter personally.
I started knowing nothing about phonics. For the sake of my daughter, I visited phonics websites like starfall and browsed through videos on YouTube. With a willing heart, nothing was difficult. In fact, I was confident to teach my daughter well.
I began with Letterland when my daughter was 2.5 years old. She did not really like. I felt the songs were too difficult to be understood at her age. With different tune to sing along to each alphabet, it was far too much for her to remember.
I tried the Ants on the Apples program after Letterland. The Ants on the Apples program well suited my daughter for the phonic song has a catchy tune with standard rhythm. With the colourful illustrations and big words, it made teaching and reading easier. It made teaching more systematic as my daughter could point to the words in the book as the song sang along. The phrases in the songs were shorter and remembering them were easier for her.
Ants on the Apples is a wonderful educational tool I like personally and will strongly recommend it. I believe your child will like them like my daughter does. I find various sections in the book pretty hilarious and I can act, sing and dance along with my child. It is truly a more fun and interactive experience.
1. Dolls are dancing (I hold my child hands and we dance together)
2. Caterpillar coughing (cough out loud)
3. Indian itching (scratch ourselves pretending to be very itchy)
Ants on the Apples program comes only in songbook and CD. Being a Flash Card lover, I complemented Ants on the Apples with Zoophonics Flash Cards. In Zoophonics, each alphabet has an animal with a special name (starting with the alphabet) and an action associated to the animal.
1. Alphabet: A
2. Special Name: Allie
3. Animal: Alligator
4. Action: Snap by hitting two hands
It goes like this, ‘Allie Alligator… air air air follow by the snap action.
By incorporating Ants on the Apples and Zoophonics, learning is more fun with music and movements. My girl learns with better understanding.
Some common questions related to phonics:
1. Q: Do I have to use the same phonics program as the school?
A: I personally don’t think it is necessary. My girl uses Jolly phonics in school and I am using Ants on the apples and Zoophonics. She has no problem at all as the only difference amongst the program is the method of teaching. (Please note that the initial sound for ‘a’ in Jolly phonics is pronounced as ‘ar’ instead of ‘air.)
2. Q: Why is phonics important?
A: Phonics helps your child learn to read and spell. Without this ability, your child cannot be fully literate. Words are like codes and phonics teaches children how to crack the reading code. Phonics is therefore an important part of any reading development program.
3. Q: When is the best time to learn?
A: It is recommended from age 3 and above. However, parents can help a child younger to pick up phonics through informal way of learning.
I can’t say I am an expert in phonics. I simply enjoy the process of learning together with my daughter. There is no right or wrong method. It is only a matter of preference. The deciding factor will be your child. Now, I am starting the same phonics methods on my second child with a tad more experience and confidence. I will still enjoy it because each child is unique!
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