How to Give the Gift of Literacy Through Abeka

Abeka’s six steps to reading through phonics

Reading is the key to learning, and phonics is the tool to make reading a reality. 

We all want our children to master reading. But what can we do if our child struggles? Give your child the gift of literacy by applying phonics using Abeka’s six steps to reading.

STEP 1: Start with the basics. Teach the five short-vowel sounds. As your child reads the sounds, have him or her eat an apple for “a,” walk like an elephant for “e,” wiggle like an inchworm for “i,” run like an ostrich for “o,” and open an umbrella for “u” to help them make a connection with the letter sounds.

STEP 2: Teach the consonant sounds. As you say them, have your child point to objects or words that begin with that consonant.

STEP 3: After the short-vowel and consonant sounds are mastered, join them together to make blends. Blends are the bridge to reading words. A blend is one consonant joined to one vowel, such as “ba, be, bi, bo, bu.” Learning and reviewing the blends is more fun when singing the blend song found on

STEP 4: By adding the ending consonant, the blend becomes a word. Add an ending “t” consonant to “ba, be, bi” and you have “bat, bet, bit.” If your child struggles with the word, cover the letters and reveal them one by one. Challenge your child to make his or her own words by adding a consonant to the end of a blend.

●STEP 5: Once your child has begun reading one-vowel words, the next step is to learn the long vowels by reading the vowel name. “A” in acorn, “e” in eagle, “i” in ice cream, “o” in open, and “u” in uniform. Now your child is ready to read two-vowel words. Take it slowly and encourage accurate reading. A struggling reader should mark the vowels short (with a smile mark above the one vowel) or long (with a line above the first vowel and a line through the second vowel to make it silent). Macaroni noodles and spaghetti work great for this!

STEP 6: The last step to reading is the special sounds. In this step, repetition is important. Have your child practice the special sounds by writing and saying the Abeka phonics charts. Record your child saying the special sounds, and then have them listen to their work. Help them to find special sounds in words they see as you shop or travel.

One of the best tools for applying all six steps is Abeka’s Handbook for Reading. It clearly presents the six easy steps to reading. Plus, the consonant-vowel blends and words in this reader are arranged to correlate with the sequence in which the special phonics sounds are taught. Ample practice and thorough review are provided, and it’s a great guide for the reinforcement of skills or for remedial work. 

Encourage Your Child to Read for ACCURACY, COMPREHENSION, and EXPRESSION. 

Accuracy is reading words correctly.

Boost accuracy by drawing stars or placing stickers next to sentences read accurately. Applaud your child when he or she realizes their own mistakes. That’s a great sign! 

Comprehension means understanding what is read.

As your child reads, occasionally stop and ask content questions. You’ll be reinforcing the process of retention by getting them to think about what they’ve read. 

Expression gives life to words.

Encourage good expression by reading with your child. Offer opportunities for your child to read aloud to the family. Reinforce reading by practicing whenever you can. While in the car, have a stoplight challenge to see how many words your child can read before the light turns green. The more your child reads, the more comfortable reading will become.

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