The word the sort of follows a rule. I say sort of because it is more of a sight word than anything else, and yet the consonant digraph |th| has a consistent sound throughout the language (this, then, them, they, those, and so on). However, when learning phonics, there are some words we need to introduce before we are working on digraphs of any kind, and one of those words is the.
This is actually very simple to do.
Any child who has been read to will be familiar with the concept of “the end.” Thankfully for us, each of the books we are taking the children through also ends with “the end.” So the child has probably already picked up on it to begin with.
The first time we run across the within the text of the book and not just “the end” at the end, the child is usually stumped. So I quickly flip to the end and show them “the end.” Usually, the child remembers the phrase and reads it. At this point, I flip back and forth, showing them that the in “the end” is the same word as the in the story.
Then, I show the child that we use this word all the time. I make up two or three sentences: Mom ate the cake. He hit the ball. She sat on the table. Help them see that we use the word all the time, and that “the end” is only one of the times.
After this happens, I am prepared for the the likelihood that during the next two or three weeks, the child is not going to remember the unless they are reading “the end” at the end. No worries here. Every single time, flip to the end and ask them if they remember this word right here, and point to the. Remind them that this matches the word they are trying to read. Ask them what the word is for one last review and move on.
After a few weeks of this, they will naturally begin to read the within the text.
Get My Free Binder Guide!
The Teaching Reading with Bob Books method uses a special binder system in order to simply and easily tailor the frequency of review to the needs of each individual child. This free guide explains exactly what you need and how to build the TRwBB Binder so that you can get started teaching right away.