It’s All Fundamental
Babies crawl before they walk, and in reading it’s much the same. Children need to learn the sounds of each letter, or combinations of letters before they are able to string these sounds together to read words. It all seems very easy, and making a concrete connection to sound/print is critical. Begin the process with print and sound association. I like to use objects or picture representations; i.e., if you show a child the picture of a rabbit, make the distinction that the first letter, r sounds like this (and say the sound rrrrrrrr). And so it goes. After you have moved the child through sound/letter recognition, try stringing sounds together. I like to start with three letter short vowel a words. An example would be: if you show the child the picture of a cat. You can say, cat has three sounds, c a t. If you say those sounds together quickly, you have just said cat. When the child is ready for actual words, I recommend making flash cards with pictures of the sounds represented. Now move through other vowels using the same method. Break, or segment the word, then blend it back together. It takes practice, and you will sound pretty silly, but by isolating the sound of each letter an joining them, the child makes that concrete association and is on his/her way!