How to Teach Phonics to Toddlers

Language is an integral aspect of the development of the child’s social, academic, mental, cognitive, as well as emotional aspects.

Every human is born with the capability of understanding, acquiring, and comprehending at least one language.

It is every parent’s desire to provide their child with the best possible tools to set them up for success.

Toddlers are young explorers who thrive when provided with appropriate freedom and opportunities for development.

Activities, materials, or toys can be an exciting as well as an engaging alternative to books or traditional curricula.

While learning a verbal language can be acquired through hearing or interacting, acquiring an intimate knowledge of a language needs a few more steps or tools.

Children are able to comprehend complex information rapidly when provided with unique and exciting activities.

If you as a parent have been on search engines to look for appropriate concepts or tools for the development of your child’s linguistic skills, then you might have come across the terms ‘Phonics’ or ‘decoding’.

These terms may seem to be perplexing for most individuals who are unfamiliar with linguistics concepts.

The term Phonics, as bewildering as it may sound, is a simple concept that helps children build a firm foundation of words as well as their respective sounds.

Teaching children concepts like that of phonics can be a daunting task for most parents, hence this is where activities and games can come to one’s aid.

To help clear the confusion here is a list of fun ways to introduce phonics to your child!

What is Phonics Exactly?

Before establishing, executing, or incorporating Phonics in your child’s curriculum, it is best to equip yourself with all the requisite information regarding the concept.

Phonics can be described as a medium of teaching young children how to efficiently read or write in a language.

Essentially, Phonetics is a teaching method that facilitates the education of reading or writing through specific instructions or codes that help distinguish between alphabets, words, sounds, or symbols.

There is a diverse range of sounds humans have the capability of producing from their mouths in order to effectively articulate sentences or phrases.

Phonics is a medium that helps children identify sounds and associate the said sound with words as well as distinguish one language from another.

Phonics helps one isolate Phonemes (individual sounds) from Phonograms (composite words).

Why should you Teach your child Phonics?

With the help of Phonics, written language can be associated with codes or symbols which carry specific sounds.

There are in total of 44 English phonetic sounds that can be combined to create an infinite amount of words.

In order to efficiently articulate sentences, your toddler has to learn about 70 phonograms and their associated phonemes.

Isolating specific sounds of each symbol or alphabet and how these letters may sound when combined can help children read or articulate unfamiliar words effortlessly.

Understanding Phonics can also help your toddler independently phrase sentences in their words and help them build a firm foundation for future prospects.

Teaching your toddlers the inner workings of words, their designated sounds, and their combined sounds can help children comprehend complex words.

Phonics can also help children understand or break down unknown as well as unfamiliar words.

Phonics also helps eliminate the aspect of memorizing a plethora of words and their respective spellings.

When is the appropriate time to introduce Phonics?

Phonics is a medium that helps children understand sounds of individual alphabets as well as how they sound when combined.

This method is ideally introduced to children when they turn 3 to 4 years of age to help develop a firm foundation.

It is important to make sure that the child has started going to a school before incorporating phonics in the curriculum to avoid overwhelming or confusing the child.

Are there different types of Phonics?

As a matter of fact, yes, there are 4 types of phonics that equip children with the knowledge of words and their sounds.

It is best to fully understand the types of phonics before incorporating any method in your child’s curriculum.

1. Synthetical Phonics:

Synthetical Phonics is often regarded as the most commonly used Phonic Approach amongst parents.

This method of teaching phonics helps children associate phonemes( sounds) with their graphemes (alphabets or symbols).

Synthetical Phonics helps children understand isolated phonemes as well as their combined sounds.

2. Analytical Phonics:

Analytical Phonics as the name suggests, encourages children to analyze or identify phonemes from a set of words.

This phonics method helps children understand the sounds or the phonemes with their graphemes that are not particularly pronounced in isolation.

3. Analogy Phonics:

Analogy Phonics is another type of analytical phonics method that encourages children to analyze specific phonic elements from phonograms in a word.

A Phonogram is considered to be a linguistic word that is often composed of a vowel and other sounds that succeed the said vowel.

4. Embedded Phonics:

Embedded Phonics helps children efficiently read the whole part of a language program.

Contrary to the prior Phonic types that dominantly focus on the linguistic aspects, Embedded Phonics intertwine literature rather than incorporating different stages or lessons.

Hence, the linguistic skills of a child are enhanced through providing opportunities to progress rather than promoting different systematic lessons.

How to introduce Phonics to the Toddler?

Phonics is a sequential, systematics, and direct approach that helps children effectively comprehend letters, symbols, and sounds in a language.

It is important to develop a strong understanding of letters or symbols before moving forward with the Phonics lessons.

You can use materials or toys such as Montessori Moveable Alphabets, Sandpaper letters, or other language materials to enhance the child’s learning experience and efficiently facilitate phonics lessons.

Phonics can be introduced to the toddler as a three-part lesson to help them enhance their pre-reading skills.

Lesson 1: Development of Phonics Awareness

The first lesson introduces the child to various phonemic sounds to help expand their horizons.

During these lessons, you should not introduce the symbols or letters to avoid overwhelming or confusing the child.

You must only draw the child’s attention towards phonetic sounds in isolation to help them distinguish between different sounds.

You can draw the child’s attention towards phonetic speech sounds when enunciating words during your day-to-day conversation.

This step will develop a firm foundation of sounds and prepare the child for future symbol association lessons.

It is very important to implement this lesson before introducing symbols and letters to avoid confusing the child.

Lesson 2: Sound and Symbol Association

The second lesson helps children associate the common speech sounds with their respective symbols or letters in a written format.

With the help of the prior lesson, your toddler would be aware of the initial sounds of the commonly spoken words incorporated in day-to-day speech.

Associating sounds with their respective symbols or letters helps bring meaning to the words the child begins to comprehend.

You can use aids or materials such as Montessori Sandpaper Letters to effectively facilitate this lesson.

These materials will help children engage in their tactile, auditory, as well as visual senses and help children develop their muscle memory for future prospects.

Lesson 3: Practicing the Phonics Knowledge to create or Decode Words

This lesson can be bifurcated into two segments that systematically build the child’s reading and writing abilities:

  1. The first method is to help the child arrange symbols in a row to help form a word. This step can be facilitated through Montessori Moveable Alphabets.
    This step is important to help children track their progress as well as to help them make a smooth transition to printed materials.
  2. The last method for enhancing the child’s linguistic capabilities is decoding. This step prepares children to effortlessly read complex and unfamiliar words without a hitch!
    Introduce your toddler to new words every day and encourage them to read different phrases, sentences, or even books.