This is one of two questions regarding teaching my child to read using phonics. The other question is:
I am a parent of a four year old boy who is starting to read at school (UK). The school is using a phonics system to teach the children to read.
I honestly cannot remember if my school taught me to read using a phonics system or not. In any case, I find teaching my child to read using phonics difficult and alien. I realise however that it would be destructive to teach a different way of reading to my child to that to which he is exposed at his school. I want to reinforce and consolidate at home the teaching that he receives at school.
That means that I need to learn phonics. While I am happy to get involved in this way, I doubt that I will have the time to get much further than the basics.
Hence the very simple question of the title. My wife and I are both active in helping our son read the lists of words that he has brought home from his school to learn.
How do we explain to our four year old, that the symbol "o" in "got" and "go" (for example) is pronounced differently, rather than being dogmatic about it? I feel that saying "Because it just the way it is", rather undermines his teachers' - and our - instruction. There are other examples, e.g. "no" and "not" etc.
Please note: I am aware that teaching to read via phonics is a contentious topic. I am not looking for a debate on phonics. It's the system that is used in my child's school to teach him to read. I am uncomfortable teaching phonics, but that's the way he is being taught at school and I am keen to support his learning.