Focus on Phonics
- Play the "Blend it Together Quickly" game. You say a word, one sound at a time, and then have your child say the word at the normal rate. For example, you say each sound in the word “clock,” /k/ /l/ /o/ /k/ . Then your child says the word at the normal speed, "clock,” and writes the word on a piece of paper. Play this game with five to ten one-syllable words (words like: stripe, felt, build, tree, bent, frame) every day.
- Words with prefixes and suffixes are increasingly frequent in grades 3-5. The three most frequent prefixes, (un-, re-, in-) account for 51% of all prefixed words. If students know that “un-” often means not, “re-” means again, and “in-” means not, they can use this information to figure out a word’s meaning. Encourage your child to use this strategy when reading a word with one of these prefixes or with other prefixes: 1) remove the prefix, 2) check if a real word remains, 3) think about the meaning of the prefix and the remaining word, 4) combine the meanings of the prefix and the remaining word, and try to figure out the unknown word, and 5) ask if the meaning make sense in the sentence being read.
- Highlight or underline words that your child can read from the day's "junk mail.” Ask your child to read these words.
- Make a simple recipe with your child allowing them to read each direction to you, step-by-step, so you will "know what to do."
- Ask your child to read all of their spelling words to you. Use the words in sentences that relate to occurrences in their world.
-Texts that contain longer words with two or more syllables can be difficult for students to read. Identifying prefixes, word endings, and root words can help students read the word. Help your child figure out a longer word’s pronunciation by breaking the word into smaller parts or chunks, reading the parts separately, and then reading the entire word.
- Play word games that require your child to manipulate the parts of a word. Start with compound words and have them say the whole word and then delete part of the word and produce the new word. For example, say “birthday” and ask your child to say “birthday” without saying “birth.” After working with compound words, have your child manipulate smaller parts of words. For example, ask your child to say “brain” without the /b/ sound. They should say that the new word is “rain.”
- Play the "Say it Slowly" game. Say a word at normal rate and then have your child say the same word slowly, one sound at a time. For example, say the word "mat.” Then they will say that same word slowly, one sound at a time, /m/ /a/ /t/. Next, have your child say the name of the letter for each sound while writing the word on a piece of paper. Play this game using about five to ten one syllable words each day.
- Take turns thinking of two words that have the same middle sound. Examples: “sled” and “bed,” “mad” and “bad,” and “fleet” and “Pete.”
- Play the “Change that Word” game. Think of a one-syllable word and have your child think of another word that is different by one sound. Take turns with each word. Examples: “sat” and “sit,” “sip” and “lip.” Have your child tell you the letter name for the two sounds that changed. For example, in “sat” to “sit,”your child would say, “the a changed to an i.”
-Play word-building board games like Scrabble, Boggle, and Upwords.