Hey guys! Sorry this is late, but at least I’m actually posting this week. I’ve had a ton on my mind and on my plate (and I don’t mean overeating, though I’m sure there was a bit of that too). My best female friend is getting married tomorrow! (my best friend is my husband, just to clarify. I always feel like I’m a liar or cheating on him or something if I call her my best friend, so I call her my best female friend. I’m weird like that) I’ve been helping her out, getting nails done, crafting on my dress, freaking out a little about being in front of people while wearing said dress, putting candies in tiny tin hearts, etc. It’s been interesting.
So…on to it then! This week we’re teaching kids to read. By “we’re teaching kids to read,” I mean “we’re talking about the steps to reading success.” And by “we’re” I mean “I’m”. Just in case you didn’t figure that out. As I mentioned, I’m weird.
- Suggestion 1: obtain one or two sets of magnetic alphabet letters. We like the nice ones offered by Melissa and Doug. Totally awesome company.
Kids should be exposed to many different sources that have the alphabet. Books that focus on individual letters are great. “Richard Scarry’s ABC Word Book” and “Dr. Seuss’s ABCs” are great examples. Cheerio Champ really liked flashcards. Princess Cheerio enjoys alphabet blocks. We even have a wall hanging toy (purchased by my mother. I’m not sure why I felt the need to clarify that) that has Velcro letters and pictures. The best way to conquer anything is by repetition. Try watching Sesame Street! Draw letters in the sand! Anything!
- Suggestion 2: repetition by many different sources
After children master the alphabet, the next step (or to teach simultaneously if you are ambitious) is to learn the phonetic sounds each letter is responsible for. http://www.starfall.com/n/level-k/index/play.htm?f is a great website for you and your child to play around on. There are really cute songs available for teaching phonics, as well as videos on the market. I highly suggest Rock N’ Learn DVDs for phonic sounds.
- Suggestion 3: teach phonics
Teach sight words next. I really like Preschool Prep Company products. “Meet the Sight Words” 1 and 2 are great for beginners. (The next couple DVDs teach digraphs and blends, which can be worked up to and are great for kids that can make out simple sentences and just need help pronouncing combinations of sounds) Cheerio Champ loved flash cards. Sight words flashcards are widely available at supermarkets, convenience stores, and dollar stores. They are usually to be found near the books and magazines, but occasionally near art supplies.
- Suggestion 4: teach sight words
After that, work with your child on simple sentences that contain sight words they have learned. Move on and slowly introduce more complex sentences and gradually work up to paragraphs.
- Suggestion 5: teach simple sentences, working up in complexity towards paragraphs
- And now, my number one suggestion: READ TO YOUR CHILD EVERY DAY!
I’m not saying you are the worst person in the world if you miss a day or two. I’m just saying that the more they are exposed to books, the more they will learn to love them. Show them that words have meaning, pointing to pictures in the book as you read the words that describe them. Read simple books and more complex books. They will enjoy either. Don’t feel like you have to read every page if they lose interest. Let them skip around in the book. Talk about pictures even if they are not an essential part of the story, “That man has a big blue feather in his hat. Isn’t that silly?” Read yourself and invite your child to sit near you with a book of his or her own. If you show them that reading is fun and important to you, they will be more likely to pick up on it and read for a lifetime.
Alrighty folks, that’s it for me! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. And I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestions for teaching kids to read or requests for topics. Don’t forget to like us on facebook! Have a great week, everyone. :)