On Teaching Children to Read

When I posted this video of my kindergartener reading aloud from her journal, I got some comments asking how I teach one so young to read so well.

First, let me tell you that I have some children who have taken to reading like a duck takes to water and some who seemed to wake up every morning completely alphabet free, even after oft repeated reading lessons.

Remember that each child is different, and some have an easier time understanding and remembering theĀ  rules of phonics.

Having said that, here is a rundown of posts I have written on teaching reading:

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Comments

  1. Thanks for all the links, it will sure come handy for us, who are just in the beginning of homeschooling!

  2. Just curious, what is the earliest you have started your children with this book? My almost 3 year old is obsessed with pointing out all of the letters when we go anywhere. He learns very easily so I bought this book (through your link…with swagbucks!) I LOVE IT! I started with the idea that if he didn’t love it we would stop. We are through the first 3 lessons and he is picking it up well. Do you (or readers) forsee (based on using the program before) any drawbacks to him continuing? I don’t want him stressed that he can’t get it, but really want to help him gain skills that HE is seeking!
    Thanks so much!
    Ashley N.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      I would say the problem you may run into further on in the book is lack of attention span. The stories get longer and the lesson requires reading it twice. My younger readers would sometimes cry over this. I encouraged them and pressed on if I knew they were capable, but with one, I put the book on the shelf and came back a few months later. (My only boy.) His attention span just couldn’t handle it.

      Only you know your child. If he enjoys it, I would say keep going. No need to stress him out at this age, though.

      Let me know how he does!

  3. Ashley – I don’t think it is too early to teach your child something that he is obviously ready for. Just don’t push him, if he doesn’t show interest tomorrow, skip it, do the lessons the next time he shows interest. I am no expert or anything, in fact, I am having a hard time myself trying NOT to push my (1 month shy of) 5yr old. She just doesn’t show any interest AT ALL. Which brings me to my question for Connie – Should I do ANYTHING to help her get interested? Or just leave it go until she comes to me? She has plenty of handwriting type of stuff to do, coloring, puzzles & blocks, picture books (we use the BFIAR book list) to listen to and look at, and of course plenty of play time. I know she has plenty to do for her age, and I don’t really require anything from her. So, I guess my very long winded question is (drum roll please): At what age do you think is appropriate to REQUIRE participation in reading lessons?

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Hm. I have always started reading lessons by age 6 at the latest. Like I said above, only you know your child. Is she capable of the work? Is she being manipulative? Or does she genuinely need more time to mature before beginning?

      At some point I have had to tell each of my children, “It doesn’t have to be fun, it just has to be done.” The bottom line is EVERYTHING we need to learn isn’t going to be riveting, but we need to learn it anyway.

      Maybe try a sticker chart or some of the reading incentive programs that I linked to in the post.

      Let me know how it goes!

  4. Shelly Smith says:

    The link you have listed for “Reading Program Incentives” is not correct! I was able to find it by doing a “search”- but I thought I’d let you know! Thank you for sharing these great links- I have enjoyed reading each one!

    We have successfully used The Reading Lesson with our two older boys, and I also recommend that one for other homeschool families!

  5. “…wake up alphabet free…”
    oh goodness, I laughed so hard at this. We’ve had this, we’ve also had the child who wakes up math fact free, seemingly remembering nothing from the day, weeks, months of work already done.
    It is frustrating…to me, this is when patience and long suffering are refined in a Mom. I must have needed lots of refining…

  6. Our first year of homeschooling was a learning experience for me. I learned to sight read at age 4 1/2, so TEACHING phonics was foreign to me. My son followed along as I tried to find my way ( I finally chose Horizons Phonics from AOP). At age 6 1/2, he took off on his own and now starting second grade reads without prompting for 2-3 hours a day. My daughter has the example of her brother combined with a few Leap Frog videos and she, at age 5, has taught herself to read this summer without prompting from me. It might help that I spent last spring garage saling and filled two bookcases full of a variety of children’s books for ages 4 to 12 so they have plenty of opportunity to self-direct their learning. The younger kids (4yo, 2yo and 1yo) are learning their letters and numbers sooner than the older ones simply because they learn from each other.

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