The big debate on how to teach kids to read.
For toddlers, learning to read is one of the essential skills. But there is the never-ending debate about which approach is best, phonics or whole language?
Should children learn how letters are made up to read, or is it more critical to understand what words mean once they’re sounded out?
One perspective is that they need to learn phonics, systematic patterns of sound combinations that help them read better and faster than anyone else. Another camp suggests whole language learning about stories so kids can relate to what’s being said and expand their vocabulary.
Before we jump into which approach is better, let’s briefly review what each process entails.
Teaching toddlers to read with Phonics.
Phonics is a method of teaching reading that emphasizes the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language.
Phonics is centered around the relationships between the letters in written words (graphemes) and the individual sounds in spoken words (phonemes).
In other words, it helps children understand how spoken words are represented in print. This understanding can then be used to decode unknown words. Although phonics instruction is not the only way to learn to read, it can be a valuable addition to any reading program. It can help children develop a strong foundation in reading skills when used correctly.
Children are taught to identify each letter’s sounds and then blend those sounds to form words.
Once children have mastered the basic sounds, they begin putting those sounds together to create simple words.
The key to phonics instruction is systematic and progressive, meaning that each new concept builds on the already learned concepts.
Teaching toddlers to read with Whole language instruction.
On the other hand, whole language instruction takes a more naturalistic approach. Children are exposed to literature and learn to read by exploring the meanings of written words in context.
This approach also emphasizes sight words – words that can’t be sounded out using phonics rules but still need to be recognized quickly while reading.
The idea behind this approach is that reading should be natural and fun and that children will naturally learn to read if they are naturally exposed to reading materials.
Phonics vs. Whole Language. Which approach is better?
The Kokotree team proposes a mix of both methodologies as the best way to teach young kids how to read and pronounce words. Why?
Studies have shown that a combined approach of phonics and whole language is best for learning to read. This is because each system has its strengths and weaknesses.
Phonics instruction helps children learn the relationship between letters and sounds and provides them with the tools they need to sound out unfamiliar words. However, this approach does not give many contexts for words and often leads to bored or frustrated children who want to give up.
On the other hand, whole language instruction provides context for words and helps build a love for reading from an early age. This approach does not give explicit instructions on sounding out words, leading to frustration when children encounter unfamiliar words.
When both approaches are used together, children are exposed to a wide variety of literature from an early age and are given explicit instructions on sounding out words.
This combined approach is most effective in helping children learn to read.
It’s important to note that both approaches should be used together from the very beginning. This is also based on the fact that the human brain does not function in an isolated manner.
Our consciousness and learning are emergent, which means that our brain processes learning as a whole instead of comprising it in bits and parts.
Many parents make the mistake of starting with one approach and switching to another later when their child isn’t progressing as quickly as they would like. This only leads to confusion and frustration for both the child and the parent. It’s best to start with a combined approach from day one so that your child can reap all the benefits!
How to teach your toddler to learn to read. The Kokotree Early Reader Program.
Learning to read can be difficult for kids sometimes, but the Kokotree educational app for kids is designed to make that easier. As mentioned earlier, we use a combination of phonics and a whole language approach, making learning to read fun and engaging for toddlers.
1. Single Letter Phonics.
Kids as young as two can start with this introductory video lesson about the different letters of the alphabet and their sounds. Watching this video daily at least twice will make the young minds associate with the letter sounds. This will help them use phonics to associate sounds and blend them to make new words.
2. Three-Letter Words.
This video lesson helps you understand essential three-letter words. This is a fun lesson where you can help your child pronounce these important words. Watching this video daily at least twice will help kids make quick progress in learning to read.
3. More Three Letter Words.
Another set of 3-letter words solidifies the foundation built in the previous lessons and helps kids learn more words quickly. By the end of this lesson, your child will be able to read and pronounce around 20 different phrases!
4. First Book “Cat on the Mat.”
Once your kid has spent around 2-3 weeks practicing single words, it is best to introduce a whole language approach through interactive story-telling. Cat on the Mat is a fun reading lesson that helps your toddler learn to read and understand the concept of sentences.
5. Sight words.
Sight words are words you can usually read without sounding them out. Sometimes they are called “high-frequency” words because we see them often. They make up a big part of our reading and writing, so it’s essential to learn them. Kokotree’s Sight words lessons will help your child learn to read faster.
Practice the above points daily with your child, and you will notice a marked improvement in their reading abilities.
How to make reading a fun family activity.
Reading can open up a world of opportunity for children, offering them a way to learn and grow intellectually. But getting kids interested in reading can sometimes be a challenge.
Luckily, there are many fun ways to make reading a family activity that both parents and kids will enjoy. By working together to find books they both like and taking the time to read together, parents can help foster a love of reading in their children.
1. Get everyone on board.
The first step to making reading a fun family activity is to get everyone on board. This means that you will need to find books that everyone in the family will enjoy reading.
Look for books with bright colors and simple stories if you have young children. If you have older children, look for books that they can read aloud to the younger children.
2. Make it a regular activity.
Another essential step to making reading a fun family activity is to make it a regular exercise. This means setting aside time each day or each week for reading. You can even make it a part of your bedtime routine!
3. Let everyone choose their book.
One way to ensure everyone enjoys reading time is to let everyone choose their book. This way, everyone can read something that they are interested in and that they will enjoy.
4. Take turns reading aloud.
Another great way to make reading time fun for everyone is to take turns reading aloud. This way, everyone participates in the story, and no one gets bored.
5. Discuss the book afterward.
After reading, take some time to discuss the book as a family. Talk about what you liked and didn’t like, what you thought about the characters and anything else you found interesting.
Subscribe to Kokotree!
Get free parenting tips, news, updates, and content from Kokotree.
The benefits of early reading for kids.
Do you want your child to have a leg up in school? Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do for them is to start reading to them early on. Here are a few benefits they’ll reap from early reading.
1. Improved Literacy Skills
One of the primary benefits of early reading for kids is that it can help to improve their literacy skills. A study found that children who were read too frequently at a young age were more likely to become proficient readers than those who were not.
Additionally, children exposed to reading early are more likely to develop a more extensive vocabulary and understand complex concepts.
2. Enhanced Communication Skills
Early reading can also help to enhance a child’s communication skills. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who were read too frequently at a young age were more likely to develop strong communication skills than those who were not. The study found that these children were better able to express themselves verbally and non-verbally and had better listening skills.
3. Increased Bonding Time
Reading with your child can also be a great way to increase bonding time. This is especially important for fathers, as studies have shown that children who spend more time bonding with their fathers are more likely to have higher self-esteem and be less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Reading together is a great way to create a strong bond between you and your child while promoting their love of learning.
4. Improved Imagination and Creativity
Early reading can also help to improve a child’s imagination and creativity. A study published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly found that children who were read too frequently at a young age were more likely to score higher on creativity tests than those who were not. Additionally, these children were better able to come up with original ideas and solve problems creatively.
5. Greater Success in School
Finally, early reading can also lead to tremendous success in school. A study published in the journal Educational Psychology Review found that children exposed to reading early were more likely to do well in school and less likely to need special education services. Additionally, these children were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than those who did not have early exposure to reading.
While there are many benefits of early reading for kids, it is essential to remember that every child is different and will develop at their own pace. If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak with their doctor. Additionally, there are various ways to promote early reading, so don’t hesitate to try different approaches until you find one that works best for your child.
How to teach your toddler to read in different ways.
As a parent, you want to give your child the best start possible in life. One way you can do this is by teaching your toddler to read. While some parents may feel intimidated by teaching their toddler to read, it can be a lot easier than you think. There are many different ways to prepare your toddler to read, and below, we will discuss a few.
1. Start with the basics.
Before you start teaching your toddler to read, you must make sure they have a strong foundation in the basics. This includes things like learning their shapes, colors, and numbers. Once your child understands these basic concepts, they will be better prepared to learn how to read.
2. Make it fun.
Remember that learning how to read should be fun for your child. There are various ways to make reading fun, such as reading stories together, playing word games, or even making up your own stories. The more fun your child has, the more likely they want to keep learning.
3. Use different materials.
There are a variety of different materials you can use to help your child learn how to read. In addition to traditional books, you can also use flashcards, apps, and websites. You can also find a variety of children’s books on tape or CD that your child can listen to as they follow along with the story.
4. Take turns reading.
When you’re reading with your child, it’s important to take turns so that they can practice reading aloud themselves. This will help them to develop their reading skills and confidence. As they become more confident, you can start reading longer passages or whole books together.
5. Encourage them to practice every day.
The more frequently your child practices reading, the better their skills will become. Try to set aside some time each day for reading, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. You can also encourage your child to read on their own by providing them with a quiet space and some favorite books
5 easy tips for helping your child learn to read.
Reading is a fundamental skill that all children need to learn. Check out these five easy tips if you’re looking for ways to help your child develop this critical skill. With a little bit of effort on your part, your child will be reading like a pro in no time!
1. Read to your child every day.
One of the best ways to help your child learn to read is to read to them daily. Reading aloud to your child will help them develop a love for reading and also give them a chance to hear how words are pronounced. You can find children’s books at your local library or bookstore.
2. Encourage your child to read on their own.
Once your child has developed a love for reading, encourage them to read independently. Start by letting them choose books that they are interested in. As they become more confident readers, challenge them with slightly more complex texts.
3. Help your child sound out words.
If your child has trouble reading a particular word, help them sound it out. Break the word into smaller parts and have your child say each piece slowly. Once they have mastered the individual parts, please put the word back together and have them reread it.
4. Praise your child’s progress.
It is important to praise your child’s progress, no matter how small it may be. Reading can be challenging, so any improvement should be celebrated. You can compliment your child verbally or with a hug or high-five.
5. Be patient and keep trying.
If your child struggles to learn to read, don’t give up! Keep trying different techniques and strategies until you find one that works for your child. And most importantly, be patient – learning to read takes time and practice.
Parents of toddlers should use a combined approach of phonics and whole language when teaching their children how to read. This combined approach has been proven most effective in helping children learn sequence letter-sound relationships, build vocabulary, comprehend what they read, and become fluent readers.
Teaching your toddler to read may seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone.
The Kokotree Budding Sprouts Program is available to help you get started. And by using a combination of phonics and whole-language instruction, you’ll be setting your child up for success!
Not only will your child benefit from this approach regarding their reading ability, but they will also develop a love for reading from an early age!