Help Your Child Learn the Golden Words
Research has shown there are twelve words which make up 25% of all written words in the English Language. The twelve words are, ‘in, is, it, of, be, to, a, and, was, the, that’. These words your child will regularly see in their take-home books and use in their writing.
Don’t overwhelm your child by asking them to learn the twelve words at once. Break the list into smaller achievable goals.
Begin with the words I and a. Show your child, I and a are words, by finding them in the newspaper, magazines and books. When reading the word a/A with your child, such as, a dog, a cat or a mouse, pronounce the word a, in a long vowel sound /ā/ (as in ape). If children read the word a as /u/ (as in up), it may confuse them in early writing stages.
in, is, it, and
The above four words are able to be sounded out. Each letter represents their most common sound – /i/ as in itch, /n/ as in nose, /s/ as in sun, /t/ as in tree, /a/ as in apple, /d/ as in dog.
Help your child learn these words by saying each sound then blending them together. At the beginning children will say aaaaaannnndddd until they become fluent and say ‘and’.
Introduce the words ‘to, be’ next. These words cannot be sounded out using the most common sounds, however with only two letters they are often easy to remember. Practise the word, ‘to’ by writing letters to family or friends.
Teaching the word ‘be’ provides an opportunity for your child to learn to read for meaning. Does the word make sense if you say /b//e/ (as in egg) or does it makes sense saying /b//ē/(as in emu)? Your child will learn quickly that the English language will not be consistent. Sometimes e will make a short vowel /e/(egg) sound while other times it makes the long vowel /ē/ (emu) sound.
Depending on your child’s stage of development you may be able to introduce the digraph /th/. If this is to confusing for your child and they are only learning /t/ for tree and /h/ for hat, then include the word, ‘that’ in the next list.
was, the, of
These words are sometimes known as sight words as their spelling rules are not common. Place the flashcards, ‘was, the, of’ in a doorway for your child to say each time they enter or exit.
Have fun with the words. Hide them around the house, write them in the sand at the beach, make them using playdough or write them on balloons.
Let your child experiment with reading and writing and ensure they are ready to learn these new skills. Monitor your child’s enjoyment level, always stop before they become disinterested, this will ensure a willingness to participate next time.
Remember ‘Stages Not Ages’ let your child progress through all the stages regardless of their age.