"How Do I Teach Reading?"
I receive many email each week filled with questions about how to teach
specific subjects, my opinions on certain curriculum, how to have better
discipline in the home, organizational skills for homeschool supplies, and
so many more. Recently the Lord enlightened me that I should turn some
of the most frequently asked questions into webpages so that other
homeschoolers or even potential homeschoolers could perhaps glean some
information from there. So this is "Page 3" of this venture.
I hope you will find something helpful here!
If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to
email me and I will do my best to answer your question.
As with my other "How To" pages, this one is rather lengthy.
And as I always say....
"Homeschooling is a's hard to put a lifestyle into a "nutshell" !"
Thanks for your visit...      :o)dgw
Dearest Kim,  
Thanks so much for your visit to my website and for taking the time to email me and share a bit of your heart. It's always a blessing to "meet" other folks on line.  
I am not too sure that I am going to be of much help with advice on teaching reading....and I say this for several reasons.  
First of all....our first year of homeschooling was when my oldest was in grade 7, my middle daughter was in grade 4 and my youngest in grade 3. So for the most part they had been "taught" to read in the public school system.  
Now having said that...I must be honest with you and say that in my own personal opinion...I do not agree with the public school's methods of teaching reading. Most schools have given up on teaching reading through phonetics. And as a result of this statistics have been showing that our students are poor spellers AND slower readers. There is a surprisingly high number of high school "graduates" that CAN NOT READ!  
   So although my girls new the basics of reading...I DID work with them on Phonics and had good results.  
The number 1 most important tip I can give you on teaching your child to to fill your home...your child's world...with lots of good quality books....educational magazines....make frequent trips to the library. Teach your child to LOVE and respect books.....set a good example....allow your child to see YOU reading frequently. And another VERY CRUCIAL thing for teaching your child to for YOU TO READ TO HIM EVERYDAY! Statistics have proven over and over again that kids who are read to regularly are much better readers themselves. It is even suggested that we read to our older kids...even those who can read for themselves. This does many allows them to LISTEN to the words rather than worrying about the mechanics of diciphering the words, soon they will be able to follow along with you by running their finger along the sentence you're reading. In our homeschool there are days when we spend our whole "school day" curled up together on the front porch swing reading Charlottes Web, or The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. In our homeschool I make it a point to ONLY have quality, classic literature. I believe that reading is like feeding the mind and the soul. So I don't want to "feed" my kids just junk food...I want to "feed" them something that will minister to them in some way, or something that will take them on a memorable journey. Sure, sometimes it's fun to read comics or silly stories. But for the most part we have the classic "stuff" :o)  
    Another excellent tool for teaching reading is "COPYWORK". This is for students who can write and can copy. You sit them down with paper, pencil and a good classic book or poem. You have them COPY a selection from the book onto their paper exactly as they see it in the book. This in time allows them to take notice of proper punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc.  
    In addition to all that I've listed should then begin to teach PHONICS. No it's not necessary to purchase some expensive "program". You can design one yourself with some index cards. First the student begins to learn the alphabet. Not just to sing the "ABC Song".... but start with just the first 4 or 5 letters....and he must learn the SOUNDS that each letter makes..."A says aaaa as in APPLE".... "B says bbb as in BABY"...etc. This will take some time....don't rush him thru this... a good goal would be to learn 6 letter sounds each week...and as you move along remember to review the previous letters often too.  
    Once all individual letter sounds are memorized then you begin to make "flash cards" with letter combinations.... for example..."br"...."sh"....."st"....."th" etc. Again...DO NOT RUSH through this! Allow him to take his learn at his own pace. Eventually he will learn how to put letter combinations together to form words...("br" + "u" + "sh"= "brush")  
   The next step would be to make some new flash cards with "sight words"...or in other words.....words that are frequently used or seen....for example, "cat, dog, house, car, school, girl, tree, etc." Work with him...being careful not to rush or to pressure him. As soon as both of you become frustrated and you loose your patience or he gets upset...then potentially permanant damage can be done to his desire for learning. In our homeschool I made flash cards and taped them to the item that the card described...for example, "table, door, milk, plate, sink, bed, dog, etc.) In time he will recognize these words and he will be so excited when he begins to recognize these same words in his story books!! HE WILL BE READING!! As he begins to learn letter combinations and sight words...sit down together everday with a book and allow him to point out words that he knows....take turns reading...READ, READ, READ!!!  
    I cannot say all of this without also adding my own "2 cents"...and please do not be may very well feel differently. But I feel strongly that we must never rush our children with learning!! Just because a professor in some University says that a child at a specific age MUST be able to do "this, this and this"...just because he has reached some age. All children are different....they're not cut out with a "cookie cutter". I feel that we must allow them to be themselves...allow them to advance early in areas in which they excell...allow them to spend extra remedial time in areas with which they may struggle. Irreversible damage can be done to a child's natural inclination to LOVE doing it.....if we push them...if we scold them and nag them....if we force them to learn "twaddle" (unnecessary junk).... I believe that each child is a unique individual...with unique interests and gifts, talents, etc. I also feel that learning is a natural inclination within every child...they have a curiosity that drives them to explore and learn. I feel that sitting stiff at a desk with a text book, memorizing dates in history is not nearly so beneficial as say hiking across an old Indian Burial ground and exploring for fossils. Reading an old dusty sciecne text about "photosynthesis" is not nearly as inteersting as planting seeds in the ground and caring for them and watching them grow...studying the insects that like to live on the new plants and then the tremendous reward of picking that first tomoato!!  
    Forgive me...I fear I have gotten off track. But I get so excited when I am blessed with the privilege of sharing a bit of my heart with another homeschool mom. The final point I was attempting to make is this: I would caution against feeling pressured to teach your child reading if perhaps he is not ready. Not all children learn at the same ages. I have known friends whose 4 year olds picked up a book...spent an hour or so asking mom about the letter sounds...and then they just began reading! And at the other end of that spectrum I've known kids who were in 3rd grade and they were just not quite ready for reading...instead they were a very busy explorer going on a dinosaur dig with their dad in Colorado!! A learning expereince that no text book could ever recreate!!  
    Okay. I will stop. Do forgive me for rambling. I hope that something here will be of help to you. Since this has become such a "novel" I think that I may do what I've done many other times when asked for advice concerning homeschooling....turn this email to you into a new "page" in my Homeschooling website. Perhaps another mom facing teaching reading will find some help here!!  
   It has been a joy sharing this with you.  
I pray God's blessing upon your life.  

Love, Laughter & Lollipops,  
Denice Whitaker  
 Living Beyond Adversity  
     <><   <><    <><  
"The Lord is my strength and song"  
                             Exodus 15:2 

Other Pages in Our New "How To" Homeschooling Series
"How Do I Homeschool?"
Page 1 in this series. Here I share my best tips for getting started on this journey
"More Info. for New Homeschoolers"
More info: curriculum and teaching tips, my "educational beliefs" and more.
"How Do I Teach Reading?"
What I know about teaching phonics and the importance of reading in our home
"What Do I Do When They Want To Go Back?!" Every homeschool mom's worst fear...
How our family handled it when our daughter considered returning to public school.
"Getting Organized"
Tips for finding organization in the midst of chaos!
How to organize your home and life even when you're being buried under books, papers, folders and science experiments :o)
"Recordkeeping for HS Mom's"
My ideas for keeping yearly records and getting ready for end-of-year evaluations
More to Come!~
I highly recommend
"The Homeschool Gazette"
This is a wonderful newsletter that is
published and designed by homeschooling veteran Kathy Reynolds and her son Josiah.
This big, fun-packed newsletter is filled with games, stories, "Flabbergasting Facts", book reviews, and lots more and it's all written by HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS from all over the country! AND there are always helpful and informative articles written BY and FOR homeschooling parents! 
Kathy and Josiah happily accept submissions prior to each issue from homeschoolers everywhere... via email or "snail mail".
For subscription information
Email The Gazette
send them a "snail mail":
"The Homeschool Gazette"
c/o Kathy & Josiah Reynolds
address: P.O. Box 178, Hollister MO 65672
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