The former teacher explained the advantage of phonetics in teaching a child to read instead of asking them to memorize words.
Every parent will agree that reading is extremely important in a child's educational journey. In most cases, children are introduced to reading with the help of "sight words"—words that can be recognized by kids without sounding them out. But @toddlerscanread wants parents to take a different approach. He believes that children would benefit more if they moved beyond just memorization and instead tried to grasp what's in front of them phonetically. In his opinion, this approach will help children become so confident that they can transfer the skills they have garnered into other avenues. Ultimately, it will also aid them in their higher studies. He explains all of this in detail through a video.
In the video, he begins by warning parents not to make children read by making them repeat "sight words" like "are," "all," "to" and "do." Instead, he asks parents to help children visualize the letters and make them attach a sound to the letters. He demonstrates an example of this by showing a child "Aa" and making him repeat the sound attached to the letter. He believes it will help the child associate the various elements quickly and learn reading more proficiently. The caption of the video further explained the whole process: "Stop having your child memorize sight words and instead focus on the phonics sounds (starting with the primary letter sounds). This way, they have the key to unlock any word vs. just a few on a sight word list!"
He explains the reasoning behind focusing on phonetics in another one of his videos. He showcased that when children memorize the alphabet, they do not focus on the alphabet. Instead, they focus on the pattern. They actually learn a song "A, B, C, D" and will repeat the song regardless of which alphabet is shown. Instead, if they are taught to attach sounds to the alphabet they are putting to use multiple senses. He advises parents to mix and match when it comes to letters. The parents should choose any three letters and teach children the sound and pronunciation attached to them, which will help them associate rather than just learn a pattern.
The former teacher also asks parents to focus on teaching children how to blend sounds into words. In another one of his videos, he elaborates on it in both oral and written form. He explains how children should be taught to blend sounds that they have associated with letters first verbally and then after writing. They need to be taught how to mix the sound of "a" with the sound of "t" to make "at." Then he suggests that parents make children identify the words, that are written on boards.
@toddlerscanread believes focussing on phonetics rather than patterns or memory is a much better alternative as it makes children apply a lot of their own senses. They do not follow anything blindly like learning a song but rather are guided towards identifying the sounds. He considers it to be an overall more efficient method. The comment section loved the method. @starsparklezz shares her experience with the process, "Yup this is what my parents did for me and I do it with my son. It’s like a slow puzzle the brain has to figure out to put sounds and letters."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 5, 2023. It has since been updated.