Unlocking the Power of Phonics: 5 Reasons Why It’s Critical to Teach Struggling Readers How to Read with Phonics

If your child is struggling with reading, you’re most likely experiencing anxiety about it. Reading is fundamental to every subject in school (and in life!), and as you watch your child struggle, you’re probably telling yourself: “I’ve got to do something about this before it’s too late. But what?” 

The good news is, starting at the beginning by teaching your child to read with phonics might sufficiently address the problem.

But before you begin working on reading skills, take your child in for a physical checkup—eyes, ability to focus, learning challenges, and overall health. Once that’s all clear, the next thing to do is make sure your child has been taught to read with a direct-instruction, phonics-based approach. 

If your child hasn’t learned how to read with a systematic phonics-based approach, let that be music to your ears! Phonics is easy to teach and easy to learn; even non-reading adults can quickly learn to read once they’ve been taught the code of the English language.

So, what’s the deal with phonics? Let’s dive right in and uncover why it’s so critical to teach struggling readers with this seemingly ‘magical’ approach.​

Phonics Provides a Strong Foundation

Phonics is a special way of teaching reading that focuses on the relationship between sounds and letters. It gives your child a strong foundation for understanding the building blocks of language. Instead of trying to memorize whole words without context, they’ll learn to break down words into smaller, manageable parts. This systematic approach empowers struggling readers like yours to recognize words more easily and improves their overall reading skills.

Phonics Enhances Decoding Skills

Decoding is a crucial aspect of reading: that is, figuring out the sounds represented by letters and blending them together to form words. When a child learns to read with phonics, they develop powerful decoding skills, making it easier for them to tackle unfamiliar words. As they become more proficient decoders, they’re better equipped to handle challenging texts and enhance their reading comprehension. Learning to decode is important for everybody, but particularly important for struggling readers.

Learning to Read with Phonics Boosts Spelling Proficiency

The benefits of learning to read with phonics go beyond reading; phonics will also help your child become a better speller. Understanding the relationship between sounds and letters helps everybody spell words more accurately, but children who have difficulty with spelling find it much easier when they know phonics. These kids begin to recognize the patterns and rules that govern the English language, which they can then use to figure out how to spell even complex words. This newly-acquired spelling ability will not only improve your child’s written communication but will also reinforce reading skills. Phonics will pull everything together for your struggling reader!

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Daily Mom Parent Portal Read With Phonics

Phonics Fosters Reading Fluency

Reading fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. For struggling readers, achieving fluency can be tough, which in turn, makes reading less interesting. Phonics can change that! As your child becomes more comfortable with decoding words, their reading pace will naturally accelerate. This enhanced fluency allows them to focus on comprehension and fully immerse themselves in the text. As a result, reading becomes a more enjoyable and rewarding experience for them.

Learning to Read with Phonics Cultivates Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of learning to read. It involves understanding the meaning and context of written words, sentences, and paragraphs. Phonics plays a crucial role in cultivating reading comprehension skills for everybody, not just struggling readers. As your child builds their decoding abilities and expands their vocabulary through phonics instruction, they will develop a deeper understanding of what they read. This enables them to make connections, infer meaning, and draw conclusions from the material, dramatically increasing comprehension. The mental effort of reading will no longer interfere with the ability to understand what’s on the page.

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Daily Mom Parent Portal Read With Phonics

Boosting Confidence Through Learning to Read with Phonics

One of the most significant impacts of teaching struggling readers how to read with phonics is the boost in confidence you’ll be delighted to see! As your child masters phonics, reading will cease to be a trigger for low self-esteem. No longer overwhelmed by unfamiliar words, your struggling reader will feel more confident to tackle new challenges and explore a diverse range of literature. This newfound confidence will not only positively influence their academic performance but also extend to other aspects of their lives as well. Furthermore, when your child looks into your eyes, they’ll no longer see your heartbreak over their struggle to read.

As a parent, you have the power to help your struggling reader meet this challenge head-on. Teaching your child to read with phonics will transform the reading journey, instilling a lifelong love for reading and learning. By equipping your child with the tools to decode, understand, and appreciate written language, you’ll empower them to succeed academically and personally. In other words, your child’s reading success starts with you!


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Daily Mom Parent Portal Read With Phonics
Mary Follin
Mary Follin
Mary Follin is the founder and developer of Teach Your Child to Read™ , an online phonics-based program for teaching children ages 3-6 to read. She is also a parenting advice columnist for Fredericksburg Parent & Family, and the author of Ethyr, winner of a 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Her parenting advice column, 'ASK MOM,' won a 2021 Parenting Media Association Award.

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