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Reading begins in a child's ears. When you talk to your child, you are putting the sounds of the English language into his brain. His brain is properly wired to learn to talk back to you. Over time his speaking vocabulary grows to thousands of words. The more you talk, sing, and read to your child, the bigger his speaking vocabulary will become. Here is the surprise: children's brains are not automatically wired for reading. Your child needs your help to become a successful reader. Learning how to read begins when your child's ears are ready. There are several things you can do to get your child's ears ready. Teach him how to rhyme by playing rhyming games, or reading rhyming poems to him. Play some of the other games presented in this website. His ears are ready when he can rhyme and play the games successfully.

Teach your child alphabet letter names and sounds. This is the beginning of phonics. Phonics is learning what letters and letter combinations "say." It is an essential part of learning how to read. Don't assume that your child learned all the letter sounds in school. It is likely that she does not know the vowel sounds because they sound so similar. Other important phonic combinations are listed in the sidebar. When your child learns letter sounds, teach her to "blend" them together to "sound out" new words. Knowledge of phonics will help her to read many words that follow phonic rules. The best way to incorporate phonics is to find a short reading selection that has a lot of "sh" words, for example, and read those words to him. Ask your child to say some words beginning with the "sh" sound. Then teach him to read the short selection. Continue teaching phonics by finding other short reading selections, each highlighting one of the letter combinations from the phonic list. Please notice that letters and letter combinations appear in different places in words. Vowels often occur in the middle of words. "Wh" occurs at the beginning of words and "Ch" appears at the beginning or end of words.

Phonic skills must be put into connected print in order to become useful. Connected print is short selections in magazines or books. Two books, both by Dr. Seuss, have wonderful selections to help a child apply a phonic skill by reading connected print.

  1. Hop on Pop, an easier selection by Dr. Seuss (1963), has the following selections:
    • pages 3-5 short u "Up pup pup is up."
    • pages 22-24 short e "Red Red They call me Red."
    • pages 26-33 short a "Pat cat Pat sat on a cat." "Dad is sad. Very, very sad."
    • pages 40-41 short o "We like to hop on top of Pop."
    • pages 56-57 short i "Will is up hill still."
  2. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss (1960), has these selections:
    • pages 10-11, 18-19 short u "They run for fun in the hot, hot sun."
    • pages 26-27 ea words "Oh dear! I cannot hear."
    • pages 30-31 oo words "He took a look at the book on the hook."
    • pages 40-43 short i "It is fun to sing if you sing with a Ying."
    • pages 48-49 short e "You never met…a pet as wet as they let this wet pet get."

You should help your child read a new reading selection every other day. This is incorporating whole language methods of learning how to read. Using "To, With, and By" teach your child how to read a couple of sentences or one paragraph until it sounds great. The whole language method helps your child learn to read "sight words." Sight words must be memorized because they don't follow phonic rules. (Half of all words in the English language are sight words.)

Best of all, using To, With, and By will improve your child's fluency and comprehension. The goal of reading is comprehension. When your child is able to sound out new words, has memorized a bunch of sight words, reads fluently and understands what he read, he has learned how to read!


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If you want more help, check out my new reading website: WowzaBrain.com. Listen to the free podcasts, and look at the subscribable ePackages with printable Brain Games and video demos to help you, step-by-step, teach your child to read.

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