Has this ever happened to you?
You’ve spent months teaching your students every sound that was required in your phonics program. You practiced them every day using flashcards, singing songs, and playing sorting/matching games. You finally felt like your students were ready to read and … you quickly realized that they weren’t recognizing their sounds in words. Why is that? All that hard work and nothing to show for it. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
We often assume our students will easily be able to decode words once they learn simple phonics patterns. However, we often find that it is not the case. Why? Students need practice in order to easily recognize their sounds in words. The more they read, the more fluent they will be. That’s why it isn’t enough to practice those sounds with flashcards and games. Kids need to SEE those sound patterns IN words in order to become more fluent readers.
How do we make sure that our students will recognize their sounds when reading? Simple. Expose them to words and sentences right from the start!
Have kids highlight/color sounds patterns in words. This will help them become more aware of the presence of sounds in the words that they read.
Get your students to sound out words and match them to pictures. This will make their reading more meaningful and will help them remember the words that they are reading.
Have your students track words when reading sentences. One-to-one correspondence isn’t automatic for all kids. Help them remember to track words by showing them how to point while reading.
Make sure that your students are reading sentences and passages THREE TIMES. That is the KEY to them becoming fluent readers!
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