The first years of elementary school focus not as much on the mastery of content as it does on the mastery of skills. Students dive into phonics lessons, introducing them to the building blocks of language. Teachers introduce common patterns and encourage kids to see these patterns within their own reading and writing. This organic format is meant to ease youngsters into their spelling routines, avoiding weekly tests that can be frustrating. While many kids pick up on it fairly quickly, some kids might need some reinforcement. At home, adults can set aside time to emphasize the information. The following three activities are meant to show real-world applications and inspire fun.
1) Write Daily
Have a notebook for evening journals. Even kindergartners can begin to write sentences and paragraphs. The constant act of writing may improve word recognition. Provide a reference list of common sight words. Children may reference it as they create stories or entries. In addition, sit with the little ones and encourage them to sound things out, pointing out how to break words into sounds.
2) Play Games
Many kids prefer a break from tedious assignments; instead, they look forward to learning through play. Reading manipulatives are useful in this case, turning work time into game time. Move around colored tiles to spell out words. Make it a competition to see how many can be made each day. The physical act could improve focus and content retention.
3) Read Phonics Books
Several companies sell phonics-based readers. These collections center around a spelling rule in each booklet. The words may be bolded for visualization. Read it together, stopping to concentrate on the key terms. Use the books several times until kiddos have internalized the rule.
Exposure is important, so set aside 15 to 30 minutes each night to devote to educational goals. Give praise for hard work, and be consistent. That additional time could make the difference.