I've taught three kids to read this way

Supplies: Time

More than anything else, I try to work with the child about 180 times per year, in bite-sized pieces per day. None of these assignments should take much more than ten minutes. Bite-sized pieces make it easier on everybody.

This method could be useful for the mom who has a tight budget. This method has worked with my three older kids in a literature-rich environment (read: lots of storytimes).

Age 4

Supplies: Upper Case and Lower Case Letter Puzzles

The puzzles are school supplies, not toys. I've managed to hang on to mine for nearly a decade because I keep them up, and only bring them out for class. (And, I am not a tidy mother!) In a literature-rich environment, there's no harm in doing this.

Puzzles are fun! Put the tray on one side of the room and put the pieces on the other. When the child brings the letter/s to you, say the sound it makes while the child is putting it in the tray. It may seem like they are not paying attention, but repetition, repetition, repetition is the name of the game.
Let the child choose which puzzle -- upper case or lower case -- s/he wants to work on that day. I haven't noticed any confusion from my students. If mom takes it for granted that different looking letters make the same sound, then that just must be how the world is.

I only require that the student knows the primary sound each letter makes. (At First)

Supplies: Alphabet Picture Books, such as Curious George's ABCs, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Alphabears and Dr. Suess ABCs.

Alphabet picture books are for those days that you want to do something with the child, but no one is really interested in doing phonics work.

My experience is that after the children become confident about the sounds that the letters make, word exploration will come naturally to the children. If you work and work on the sounds the letters make, the student's "AHA" moments will come naturally! Help your child learn notice the beginning sounds of names to facilitate this process.

Eventually, there will come a day when you think, "self, this student is very familiar with the letters and the primary sounds they make."

This is a nice time to also go over "matching" upper case letters to lower case letters in a more formal way, and a time to introduce the secondary sounds the vowels make (the vowels say their names).

Age 5:
Supplies: How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Matching -- words to pictures

Then, you can look to the next big event in the child's life -- a birthday, perhaps, or maybe a holiday -- and think, "self, we are going to start 100 EZ Lessons after this next big event in the student's life." This could be after a big holiday, or on a birthday. A fifth birthday is an excellent time for this.

I do not know anyone who uses the penmanship portion of the program. The first dozen lessons are pretty boring, and it is hard to see the point of them, but hang in there! The satisfaction you get from reading your first story in lesson 13 is fun.

Then proceed to lessons 14 through 22. Shelve the book for awhile. It moves fast, and its better to give the student time to gain confidence with a new skill -- reading CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.

Supplies: Frank Schaffer's Easy Consonants and Easy Vowels Flash Cards

I love these cards. This is what they look like: on the front, there is a picture and the name of the picture (like "dog") and then the word is again printed in back. I ignore the word on the back side. I snip the card right down the middle, between the picture and the word. Then, I assemble the pictures into one pile and the words into another pile. Taking a dozen matching cards at a time, we play the "crazy mix-up game" and mis-match the pictures and their words.

It is up to the student to match them correctly. This is a classic Montessori method. Look up "Montessori Pink Cards" in a search engine and you'll see what I mean.

Frank Schaffer has lots of these kinds of cards to introduce your child to new phonograms (sounds that letters and letter combinations make). Sound Beginnings Phonograms Cards are a great way to educate yourself about the various kinds of phonograms.

Then, I use a list of Common Words to go over with the student. Every time the student reads the word properly, s/he can circle an f next to it.

Age 6:

Then, we start reading an easy Bible. I just help along with the words that the student stumbles on. For the reader who is reluctant to sound out words, I let it slide for a few months, and then when the reading is starting to flow more easily, I give the student an option: either make an effort to sound out the words, or do two lessons per schoolday instead of one. That motivates the reluctant sounder-outer! But, two of my children have had sounding out come naturally.

Early Reader's Bible By Gilbert Beers. Recommended as part of the Sound Beginnings Program, this is a very good beginning reader. (If you click the link, scroll down to view title.)

"Keeping It Catholic" has made this book unnecessarily controversial, because the premise of KIC's claims appears to be that you may use this book as the primary text of your student's religious formation. That's not the intent of the book, and if that premise is incorrect, KIC's claims about it fall flat.

While I cannot say your student will be able to "read anything" after being able to read this book, your child should be able to read many of the books in your library's "early reader" sections.

No comments: