How to Teach Child to Read: Letter Sounds

The other day I saw a post on a homeschool forum that I’m part of that said, “I’m totally frustrated and lost!! My six year old doesn’t know the sounds of his letters, and his attention span is about 1 minute! … I feel like I’m completely failing him. He’s six and doesn’t even know the sounds of the letters. Someone please help me.”

If you feel equally as lost on how to teach your child to read, and you know it all starts with finding ideas to teach letter sounds, I hope this post helps you.  Always remember that children are born naturally curious about their world.  It’s our job to inspire them to want to learn.  Sometimes that means finding different ways to teach things that fit their learning styles.

Ideas for Teaching Letter Sounds

Inspire a Love of Reading
I think the first step in teaching letter sounds is inspiring a child to love to read.  Our Recommended Reading List highlights books my child loved to read in kindergarten and first grade.  Each night we would pick at least two books to read for story time.  As her ability to read improved, she would read one page (with help), and I would read the next page.  Then she graduated to reading a book by herself each night to me for story time.  When she was done, I would read a book to her.  I think the key to learning anything starts with having inspiration to want to learn it.  Reading to children on a regular basis is the first step in teaching them WHY they should want to read.  Everything else below is the HOW to get them to be able to do it.

Animal Puppets & Letter of the Week
One of the most fun activities we did in Kindergarten to practice letter sounds through crafts and play was creating paper bag puppets.  Each week we had a “Letter of the Week”.  On Mondays we would make the puppet to correspond with the letter.  Using the puppet, we would practice saying different words that started with the letter.  Then we would turn the puppet back into a bag, and each day, we would search the house finding things that started with the letter of the week.  We would put those things inside of the bag.  If you’re not sure where to start on making letter paper bag puppets, click here to find ideas on TeachersPayTeachers.

ABCMouse Letter Videos on YouTube
The other thing we did each week was watch letter videos on YouTube from ABCMouse, and then we would sing the song throughout the week together. It was our song of the week.
Letters A-M Songs
Letters N-Z Songs

Old McDonald Vowel Farm
When we got to vowel sounds, we loved doing the Old McDonald Vowel Song and activities we purchased on TeachersPayTeachers.
Click here to watch a video of us singing the song each week in kindergarten.

Online Programs For Teaching Children to Read / Letter Sounds
We also utilized a mixture of online activities to teach letter sounds, teach phonics, and teach how to read in general.  I’ve listed them below in the order my child liked them the most.

We usually did two of these a day, for 15-20 minutes each.  One was done in the morning and the other in the evening when she wanted to play on her tablet.  She loved Learn with Homer the most because at the end of each learning path activity there is an opportunity for her to draw.  That was a huge reward for her.  She also loved ABCMouse, especially the music and songs they have.  I feel their songs helped her learn more than any of the other platforms in pre-K and the first part of kindergarten.  We started utilizing the other online platforms during the second half of kindergarten and in first grade.

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