Parents often wonder how to teach letters and phonics to their children. It’s easy for you to teach letter sounds at home. You just need to know a few simple techniques based on Montessori principles.
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Letter Sound Games with Toddlers
There are many letter sound games you can play with toddlers and preschoolers. You can start with simple phonetic sound games with a toddler. The game can use any toy your child loves. In our video today, my daughter, Christina, played a phonetic sound game with Zoey (my granddaughter and Christina’s niece) using Beanie Babies.
Introducing Letter Sounds and Letters
When your child is ready to be introduced to letter symbols, Montessori sandpaper letters are wonderful for first introducing letter sounds with letter symbols. In the video, Christina also tells about some Montessori techniques for introducing phonetic sounds. Then she tells how to pronounce each letter sound. There are some variations among Montessorians, but the sounds Christina gives in the video are ones that should work well for most families.
(See “How to Teach Phonics with Montessori Letter Work” for another simple way parents can introduce phonics at home.)
Some of the Montessori principles to consider when teaching letter sounds to your child:
- Use lowercase letters to introduce the sounds.
- Don’t worry about introducing letter names (letter sounds are enough. Most children spontaneously pick up the names).
- Teach the phonetic sounds in an order that allows your child to quickly learn to read many words rather than in ABC order. (See “In What Order Should You Introduce Letters to Your Preschooler?”).
- Introduce short-vowel sounds before long-vowel sounds.
- Introduce letter sounds with sandpaper letters and the Montessori 3-period lesson, using your index and middle fingers to trace the letters. (See “How to Teach Concepts and Vocabulary to Your Preschooler Using the Three-Period Lesson” and “Inexpensive and DIY Sandpaper Letters.”)
- Use a variety of writing extensions, such as the butterfly salt writing tray shown in the collage at the top of the post.
- Later on, introduce the Montessori movable alphabet for spelling activities. (See “Inexpensive and DIY Movable Alphabets”)
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Does your child have a favorite activity with phonetic sounds?
UPDATE: This post was my most popular post from 2015 and part of the collaborative Best Craft, Education & Parenting Posts of 2015.
This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Learning series!
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