The kids are growing. They’re learning how to imitate sounds that they hear from the television or the people around them. The little three-year-old is finally able to recite numbers one to ten. You must be thinking, “It’s time to teach them how to read, but where do I begin?”
Nannies are childcare workers who bear the special responsibility of teaching younger children under their care different life skills, including reading, speaking, and writing. While many believe that learning how to read will come naturally to a child, this vital life skill requires proper guidance.
Learning how to read is made up of a complex system that involves various skills and strategies, such as knowing the relationship between letters and sounds. However, the steps you need to take to build these skills are simple and straightforward.
We listed seven time-tested strategies shared by ReadingEggs that nannies could try to make the children’s learning experience a fun and rewarding activity.
1. Use songs to build phonemic awareness
According to Begintoread, Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognise manipulate the sounds in spoken words. This is needed for children to become more aware of how sounds in words work. Reading and spelling requires an understanding that words are formed using speech sounds.
A great way to build phonemic awareness is by clapping and singing along children’s songs and nursery rhymes. The rhyme and rhythm in these songs help kids hear the sounds and syllable in words, which develops the literacy skills needed for reading and spelling.
2. Making fun and simple flashcards
Children are generally visual learners. Cutting out simple cards with words containing three sounds (e.g. ram, pig, dog) could help build essential phonics and decoding skills in younger kids.
Invite the child to choose between several flashcards, then read the word together. Afterwards, hold up three fingers and ask them to say the first sound they hear when reading the word, then the second, then the third.
Nannies taking care of children who are just starting with learning the letters of the alphabet should focus on the sound of each letter.
3. Create a print-rich environment.
Creating a print-rich environment gives the child daily opportunities to see and apply connections between sounds and letter symbols. Decorate the room with posters, charts, books, and labels.
Reading skills can also be developed outside the family home. When you take the children out for a walk, point out letters on posters and street signs and ask the child to make out the sound of the letter.
4. Make reading a daily hobby.
Children can develop much more than their reading skills if they read daily. The simple act of reading even short passages builds their comprehension skills, grows their vocabulary, and lets them hear what a fluent reader sound like. Regular reading may also develop a love for reading.
If you are taking care of younger children, giving them picture books may be a more effective way of getting them to engage in the activity.
5. Invest in letter magnets.
Middle vowel sounds can be tricky for some children. Help them along by keeping letter magnets on the fridge and separating the consonants from the vowels. Say a CVC word (consonant-vowel-consonant), such as ‘dog,’ and have the child spell it using the magnets.
You can also say each vowel sound aloud while pointing at the letter to help the child determine which one makes a sound similar to the middle sound in the CVC word.
6. Understand the core skills needed in teachings kids to read.
Learning how to read requires five different skills. There are five essential components that children need to develop their literacy skills successfully. These include
The ability to hear and manipulate different sounds and syllables in a word
Recognising what the connection is between letters and sounds
Understanding the meaning of words, its context, and definition
Understanding what the story or information means
The ability to read with accuracy, speed, and understanding
7. Be patient.
Children have different learning paces. Some may learn faster, while others may need a bit more guidance. Making reading an enjoyable experience by mixing things up with activities gives young kids the best chance at reading success.
Are you looking for easy and engaging activities to support your child's reading experience? Click here to see 5 tips shared by a primary school teacher.