When we introduce our practices to families and other tutors, we share that our clients range in age from three all the way to seventeen. This leads to a number of questions that usually relate to our younger client base. "What do you teach a three year old?" is a question we receive fairly often. The response to this can go on for hours, there is just so much for a three year old to learn! Practically, we might start with letters and letter-sound-correspondence. That is a fancy way of saying being able to identify the correct sound of each letter. Many wonderful parents take the time to teach their children the letters and the sounds of the letters, but they come to us and ask what the next steps should be.
Something to consider; even though your child learns the letters it does not mean your child understands that these letters make up words, and that words make up sentences that make up paragraphs that make up pages and whole books. Once you are a fluent reader you become so accustomed to the words around you that you don't realize how often you're reading, but when you're only relying on words verbally and auditorally you don't really have a concrete understand of words.
One way we build this understanding, using a child's letter-sound-correspondence, is by beginning to put sounds together in pairs of two letters or groups of three. Using these letters to form words that are recognizable and familiar to the child will help bridge that gap.
An activity that can lend itself to this practice is showing your child images, and having them identify the first sound of whatever is in the image. If you show your child a picture of a cat, have them slow down and identify the first sound their mouth makes (C). Help them match that sound to the letter that they know makes the sound (which is a little bit harder than identifying a sound of a letter when given).
Another activity that you can try is showing your child two images and asking them to identify the sounds that are the same in those two words. If you show your child a picture of a hat and a mat, they will identify the _at sound. If you want to make it trickier, have them identify the sound differences and then identify what letters make each of those sounds.
Ideal for ages 3-5