Once our children reach 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade, typically we stop having them read out loud. We begin turning the bedtime reading over to them. Have your children read to you every day, if possible, even if it is one paragraph. You will have important insight into any struggles with sounds, irregular spelled words that aren’t instantly recognized, and lots of words in which the meaning is unknown. Ask your child what the paragraph is saying after he or she reads it to you. You will have insights into how your child interprets and understands a passage. Unknown vocabulary words can completely wreck the understanding of a paragraph.
This character is Mr. Bratty Word and there is an entire chapter in my book, Plumdiggity! Developing Student Writers devoted to Mr. Bratty Word. For young readers, too many phonics rules have exceptions and take up a lot of memory effort. Personally, I don’t believe in teaching phonics rules. I believe in teaching the multiple sounds that letter combinations can make so that if one way doesn’t make sense in a word, the child can apply another sound until the word makes sense. (Example: row looks with cow, but to replace the /c/ with the /r/would make no sense. If the child learns that /ow/ can also make the /oh/ sound, they have the ability to slip the other sound in for pronunciation.) Squeeze in at least a paragraph a day of hearing your child read. Don’t let them struggle too long on a word because the goal is to have reading be pleasurable. They’ve been in school all day, working hard, thinking, and figuring out. Congratulate them for reading many words in the paragraph and getting better at sounding out words they don’t know.