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
The number 1 most important
tip I can give you on teaching your child to read...is 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 read....is 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 things.....it 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)
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.
to all that I've listed above...you 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.
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 time....to
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,
say all of this without also adding my own "2 cents"...and please do not
be offended....you 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 learn...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!!
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!!
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
It has been a
joy sharing this with you.
I pray God's blessing upon
Love, Laughter & Lollipops,
Living Beyond Adversity
"The Lord is my strength and