Use Magnetic Letters to Teach Decoding Words Before Reading a Book

You can select a few words from a book your child is about to read and practice sounding out these words before reading the book. This strategy can be used with children who tend to guess at words using meaning and picture clues. My daughter was this type of reader. She did great with beginning readers, but she fell behind her twin brother as books included more words and less picture clues.
Magnetic letters or writing words with a space between sounds can be used to help your child make and blend the sounds in a word.  Your child will be ready to read the words in a book instead of just guess at a word. Readers need to combine many skills and thought processes to be effective readers. A reader who is guessing at words shows he or she is thinking about the story and wants the story to make sense. This is a good thing, but these readers need to be taught to connect letters to sounds when reading. Some readers are great at sounding out words, but they don't think about what they are reading.

Here is a picture of a book with words to sound out from a phonics reading series from Starfall called Learn to Read Phonics Book Set: Zac the Rat and Other Tales.

Here's a video of some words I chose to sound out before reading Peg the Hen.

Here's a video of my son reading Peg the Hen. Find a free animated version of this story here.

Monkey See, Monkey Do is a Hello Reader from Scholastic. I highly recommend Hello Readers from Scholastic for beginning readers. The following video from YouTube shows a few words I would choose to have a child practice sounding out before reading Monkey See, Monkey Do. There are many words that will need to be sounded out in this story. Picture clues will help. If a child looks at you to check if he or she read a word correctly, direct the child to the word to see if it was read correctly. This will teach a child to look at letters and letter combinations when reading. If a word didn't make sense, have a child combine looking at the letters and thinking about the story or picture.

Here's a video of sounding out a few words from Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Give this a try with a few words from a book your child is about to read. A little practice will go a long way. Make sure to talk about the story and pictures. What is happening? What might happen next? Find ways to connect your child to stories.
How would your child feel? What would your child do?  Did the story remind your child of something he or she has seen or done? Ask questions and encourage talking before, during, and after a book.

This is a one of my Magnetic Letter Monday posts. I hope you are finding some helpful ways to use magnetic letters.

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