Thursday, December 11, 2008

Learning to Read

Shockingly, my post on spelling curriculum garnered 4 whole comments. Really? Barbra Streisand only got 2. So there.

My friend Lindy asked if I had any opinions on teaching a pre-schooler how to read. Well, of course I have opinions! What's a homeschool mom without opinions :-)

Having said that, I do hope you know that I don't believe there is one and only one way to teach your child to read. This is what I have done and maybe it will work for others too. But perhaps you'll find a different resource that I'll have wished I knew about.

Okay, enough disclaimer-ing. Here is what we have used.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

In 20 minutes a day you can work through simple phonics lessons to teach your child to read. By the end of the 100 lessons, your child is supposed to be reading at a Grade 2 level. I started this with my oldest 2 when they were around 4 respectively. The 1st born never finished the book because she "just got it" one day and was indeed reading at a grade two level. My 2nd born didin't finish the book either. She also "got it" but was reading more at a grade one level. Good enough for me. Both are doing great with their reading still.

My 3rd and 4th borns liked this book a bit less. Maybe I started them too early for their personality or maybe I had just lost my patience a few too many times.

So I switched to these little gems:

I must say I was awfully skeptical when I first saw these. They are so ridiculously simple (illustrations included) but the tag line on the book says "Your child will be amazed and say "I read a whole book all by myself"."


So I finally cave in and buy them and sit down with my then 6 year old. She picks up the first book in the set of 12 per box...reads the whole thing....looks at me with pride all over her face and says "I read a whole book all by myself".


So we are liking them despite my desire to not like them (I get like that sometimes).

Once they are underway in the reading department I get them to read Pathway Readers.

These start out as simple as Dick and Jane readers but are not nearly as annoying. They are put out by an Amish company and so the tales are all lovely and moral and agrarian. Plus they have workbooks to go with them to work on comprehension, spelling, and more phonics rules. Overall pretty nice. We quit this series by grade 3or so because by then the kids want something 'real' to read.

How helpful is that? Plus what I would say to all the moms out there who are ready to sign up for the "worst mother in the world" award: Relax. Not every child will read at age 3. I did. My kids have not. Does that mean I stink as an educator? No. Read lots to your children. Have lots of books around. And let your kids know that if they read the stop sign that counts as real reading! Two of my girls thought they 'couldn't read' because they couldn't just pick up any book in the house and read it cover to cover. Praise them for the little words they recognize. Let them know that beginner readers are "real books" and help them to slowly expand their library.

And nothing, NOTHING is better than the first time you hear them read the Bible. My April one day sat at Family Worship and read part of the Genesis account of creation. I was bawling and she looks at me with tears of joy in her eyes and says "Wow, I guess I can read!" Only the most important thing in the World... incredible.


halfpint said...

Beautiful. There have been few things for me as wonderful as finishing that 100 easy lessons :) I turn it into 200 lessons so they get it more. I think I am a sucker for punishment. Actually I KNOW I am. Why can't I punish myself by eating less treats???? I just started with Katie and she is doing well so far. Could be that she is getting some attention! There is less of that to go around with each child. Oh, and patience, time, and sanity. L.

Lindy said...

Wow Barbara thanks so much for this post!!! I have seen that '100 lessons' book at amazon and have had it on my wishlist for months but it is good to hear from a 'real mom' who made it work! I hadn't even thougth about the whole early reading books, but it makes sense to have those on hand as we begin. My daughter was asking me again to today to teach her to read (she's picking up books and was frustrated for a while that she didn't just know what they said - she's gotten over that and now just tells me stories based on the pictures - which is cute too!).
Thanks again. :)

Jessica said...

Yes.. spelling is fascinating.. BUT can I just point out that the Barbra post wasn't left up on its own long enough to play "comment comparison"...
Someone in this dark world needs to fight for Babs!
my word verification is: failin