Speaking WITH your children
The very beginnings of learning phonics are more to do with the adult than the child.
Now, that’s a daunting thought isn’t it?
Children from a very young age are natural mimics. They will pick up on any bad speaking habits you may have.
From dropping the ‘t’ = wa’er or using a f or v sound for ‘th’ to inappropriate language, your child will mimic you and you can bet it will be at the most inopportune moment.
This may sound rather old-fashioned but it is very hard for a child to spell a word that he can’t pronounce properly.
For example, simple words such as ‘cat’ c-a-t are impossible to spell correctly if you don’t know there is a ‘t’ sound at the end. ‘T’ is in the alphabet so use it!
The word ‘that’ has a ‘th’ sound at the beginning but if a child pronounces it v-at they won’t be able to sound out the word or write it successfully.
Listening to your children
On the flip side of speaking is listening.
Listening is very different to hearing and it takes more of an effort. There won’t be many times during the day when you won’t ‘hear’ your child but listening doesn’t come quite so easily.
I think listening is becoming a lost art as our lives become more stressful, hectic and full of distractions.
As a challenge, record how many minutes in a day you listen to your child – that is, really concentrating on what they have to say not just hearing them as background noise. Then record how minutes you are listening to someone on the phone. I wonder if the results will surprise or shock you.
If you don’t listen to your children, how do you expect them to listen to you or anyone else for that matter.
A child who doesn’t listen to the sounds making up words, will be at a disadvantage when learning phonics, reading and writing.
Speaking and listening to your child is very different from talking at them and hearing them.
Just be aware!