Thursday, July 1, 2010

the phonics festival

My big A turned 4 this June. His school was gracious enough to allow me to record his small reading session in the class on his birthday. In that video he reads a small booklet that I made for him. He has a very long way to go, but I am happy with his progress so far.

In the christmas of 2009, when A was about three and half years old, I had a passing thought. Could I help him read before he turns 4? He would join playschool in June 2010. Though I am not a professional teacher, is it possible for me to teach him read at home? All he knew then was the uppercase alphabet. I had seen videos on the internet, of a 3 year old child reading fluently and was very impressed.

I was fairly convinced that the best and the fastest way to teach him read was by the phonics method. I searched the web extesively, but did not come across any worthwhile material that I could use directly. If ever I came across something on the web that made tall claims about teaching reading to young children, it was not for free! It had a big price tag attached to it. I visited bookshops and browsed several books, but did not like a single book that had it all. Some explained the theory well without providing examples, while others that did have examples and tips, I did not find those satisfactory!

While discussing this with various acquantainces, help came from one young dedicated school teacher, Ms Shreya Dhruve. Ms Shreya teaches phonics to kindergarten classes and she explained to me how I could teach the same to my child. This method breaks down the process to simple steps, where each step builds on the previous step.

Initially, I had shared this teaching method in a couple blog posts, but then I get the feel that it would be unfair on the subject if this information cannot be used by a mother to teach her child. I want to share details. We, thetinytoes team, want to help parents help their child read better and faster. I have seen this method produce beautiful results with my big A for whom reading has become more of a fun filled activity and hence want to share the same.

So, we bring you the phonics festival for the entire month of July. During this month, we will publish a post on phonics everyday, starting with why the phonics method, followed by an in-depth explanation of an alphabet and its sound everyday. The posts will be have illustrations that you can download and print for your little ones, giving them ample opportunity to play and learn.

Tomorrow, we will talk about what is phonics; and why and how this method can be used. By the end of this month, you will have everything a kindergartner needs, to learn letters of the alphabet and their sounds!!

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