My 7 year old loves to read, but now that I am teaching my 5 year old to read I can see how the 7 year old struggles with reading. I taught him to read using phonics but I notice him guessing at words a lot and so I say, “say each sound”. He enjoys reading and I don’t want to change that. Do I just keep keeping on or what would you suggest?
Reading is such an essential skill that phonics practice needs to continue on for a few years. If a student has to stop and “sound it out”, he has not mastered phonics. Keep practicing, and soon it will be automatic, just like mastering math facts and reading music or any other learned skill. Reading comprehension is hindered by hesitancy in knowing phonics sounds, even at the college level.
If you previously taught your 7 year old with a phonics program that has practice to keep skills reinforced and sharp (like my program Happy Phonics), then playing the phonics games for practice should be a part of his daily schoolwork. I keep phonics on the daily schoolwork “menu” until about 10 years old, no matter how well a child reads. This is the time period that they are learning to spell, and phonics is the right place to learn a foundation of spelling accuracy (by phonics groups, for example, learning all the words that end in “oud”, such as “would”, “could”, “should”, etc.). Exceptions and spelling rules need to be taught as well, but remember that the majority of words in the English language hold to the phonics rules and that is where we build our foundation. (I have spelling by phonics groups included in my Happy Phonics program.)
Encourage him to continue reading as he enjoys, but make sure you back it up with daily phonics skills practice….he’ll learn to be an excellent reader!
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