Teaching kids to read can be a challenging task.
Luckily, there are now plenty of free resources that parents can take advantage of. Best of all, many are easily accessible, interactive videos that teach literacy to children in amusing and simple ways. In fact, kids may not even realize they’re learning!
The videos below rely on animation, song, and plenty of good humor to engage young audiences and teach them essential reading skills:
Vimeo is a user-based video service, similar to YouTube. Its selection of Hooked on Phonics clips is extensive. Hooked on Phonics is an excellent collection because its videos focus on individual letters, their sounds, and how they link together to form words. Each letter is taught through a song that gives examples of words beginning with that letter. The collection also includes videos that teach kids to read short words. The Big Pig Song is one of these — and it’s definitely worth watching.
This video barely surpasses the two-minute mark, but it does an exceptional job of working its way through the alphabet with visually appealing animation and a simple, catchy tune. Presented in the rhythm of “Teach Me How to Dougie," the video first runs through the alphabet, giving an example of a word for each letter. In the second part of the video, the song breaks down short words, like “sat" or “bat," into their component sounds, thus teaching viewers how to put letters together to create words.
In the same vein as the "Teach Me How To Read" Rap video above, the Alphabet Song takes kids through the letters of the alphabet with a catchy jingle and colorful backgrounds. The video goes through the alphabet three times, first showing capital letters, then displaying lower-case letters, and finally focusing on the sound each letter makes.
What’s critical here is the repetition. Kids watching the clip will be able to anticipate which letters are coming and make a strong connection between what they see and what they hear. Designed by Have Fun Teaching, this video is one among several that focus on one letter at a time.
KidsTV123 provides videos, worksheets, and MP3s to help parents teach their young children how to read. In this video, the narrator pronounces each letter of the word and then puts it all together, giving the listener a chance to identity the word he's reading. Then the narrator asks the listener if the pronounced word is a real word; if so, an image of that word appears, helping kids place images and faces with its associated word.
Leap Frog Letter Factory offers a multitude of videos, many of which can be found via the link above. In these videos, entertaining animation aims to teach kids about particular letters and sounds, phonics, and the process of making words. The clips are especially useful because they teach mnemonic devices to help kids remember the sound(s) associated with each letter. For example, a friendly monster surprises the kids in the video for letter A, making them scream “Aaaah!" This becomes a lesson about how to pronounce “a." These clips are short and succinct, and kids will find in them a wealth of humor and fun. A full version of Leap Frog Letter Factory videos can be purchased if parents are looking for the entire collection.