When teaching a child to read, all the focus generally is on identifying letters, phonics and decoding, and sight words. And for good reason. All of these things will enable the child to learn to read much quicker.
However, it would be wise to combine the lessons a bit with teaching them to write as well. After all, literacy pertains to both reading and writing. There are several strategies to incorporate into these sessions where the student can both learn to read and write approximately at the same time.
Identifying Letters and Sounds
Rather than just identify the letters and the sounds each letter can make, take it one step further and have them try to write these letters out as well. This can be completed in a fun experience by using a whiteboard. Every child loves the chance to be creative with dry-erase markers. Once they are able to write the letter, help them identify some words that begin with that letter and you should write these down on the whiteboard as well. This will assist them in figuring out word patterns and realizing each letter in the word makes a distinct sound when put together as they form whole words.
Sight Word Cards
Students practice sight words while learning to read for a couple of reasons.
- Sight words are words that are frequently used in text so a student should try to identify them early on while learning to read.
- Many sight words do not follow the usual phonics and decoding rules (such as the word “the”). To learn these words, the student cannot just try to sound them out. They just have to learn them by sight!
Once the student is able to correctly learn a group of sight words, place the sight word flashcards out in front of them and assist them in making sentences with the cards. Be sure to have a card with punctuation on it as well so you can teach them the difference between a question mark, exclamation point, and a period.
Write a Similar Book
For students in second grade and above, all the way through college even, find a book that the student really enjoys. It could be a mystery, science fiction, fantasy, or any type of fiction really.
As a writing project, have the students write their own book that uses the same themes or is slightly different. They can take the inspiration they feel after reading the book they love and turn it into a book they can write and be proud of.
In fact, LightSail, a comprehensive online literacy platform, enables students to publish their own books right on the LightSail app. Students usually enjoy the writing process much more when they know there is a chance that quite a few other people will be reading their work.