While your son is still in the summer reading program, take advantage of the teacher's expertise to find out if one of the commercial phonics programs would be helpful for him. Check out Hooked on Phonics. This program helps children acquire phonics skills; however, parental guidance is required.
Remember, reading should be an enjoyable activity for beginning readers. Don't turn it into a series of boring, repetitious drills that will turn your son away from reading. Keep the time devoted to improving your son's skills short, and stop whenever he becomes restless. Here are some suggestions to improve your son's blending skills:
- Read beginning readers like The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham that have lots of rhyming words and repetition to your child. Pause while reading and give your son the opportunity to sound out some of the rhyming words.
- Buy some magnetic letters that your son can use to form rhyming words. Give him sound patterns such as _at, _ill, and _et, and have him place different consonants in front of them to make words. This activity can also be done on a blackboard or with paper and pencil.
- Throughout the day, play impromptu word games with your child. For example, when you see a fan ask him to think of words that will rhyme with fan. If he is unable to give a response, give him a couple of choices (pan, pat) and have him tell you which one of the two words actually rhymes with fan.