Would you like to improve your reading skills or help someone else with their reading? In either case, you need to first select appropriate reading material. Even before you select a book to read, you should tell yourself firmly that you will read at least 30 minutes every day. The importance of setting aside at least half an hour for reading every day cannot be stressed too much. The more you read, the better for you.
If you are training a child to read, you need to consider both phonics and sight words. The child ought not to struggle with a word; he should be able to read it in a second. If your child takes a long time to check out its spelling and painstakingly converts each letter into its associated sound, there is something wrong with your teaching methodology.
Give the child a crash course in phonics. ABC Fast Phonics is an amazing source for adults as well as children. Next, give your child a dose of sight words. Head over to Sight Words and take printouts of Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words. Work with sounds and sight words every day and the day will come when your child is ready to tackle a book.
However, don’t be in a hurry with the above. I know we live in a competitive world that wants children to transform into adults in the blink of an eye. Trying to race ahead of peers is considered part and parcel of living. But do get all this competition out of your head and let your child enjoy the learning process. If you push him too much, he might end up getting frustrated with reading.
On the other hand, if you are an adult, you can push yourself a lot. After all, you ought to have learned all this in school.
If you are in the adventurous mood, you might like to head over to BBC Learning English and learn the phonetic alphabet. If you know the phonetic alphabet, you can learn the pronunciation of any English word just by getting your hands on a dictionary.
You might also like to know that big difference between phonics and phonetics.
- Phonics is a method of associating each English letter with a sound. It is a dumbed down version of phonetics.
- Phonetics, on the other hand, is more complicated. According to the Wikipedia, it “is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of sounds of human speech.”
Have a look at the phonetic alphabet only if you are in an adventurous mood. If you are a student struggling with your reading, you had better stick to phonics and sight words.
If you can already read independently and know how to use the dictionary, you ought to start searching for a book to read, but we will talk about that another time.