Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ready to Read

When should a child begin reading lessons?  I think a better question is when should we start reading to our children.  And the answer is it's never too early to start reading to your child.  Find easy, short books to read to your baby.  If you can find some that are hard covered and even have pop-out pages, even better. Something baby can touch and enjoy playing with.

For toddlers, choose books about everyday experiences, like naps or visits to the doctor or grandma's house.  Toddlers also like stories about animals.  When reading, change your voice for the different characters, laugh at silly parts, comment on a part of the story, ask questions and answer them.  "What color is the bunny?  The bunny is white."  "Oh, look!  The bunny is crying.  Why do you think he's crying?"

About the time they are 4 or 5, you can start pointing out that we read from left to right.  That there are spaces between words.  That the word "Run" starts with the same sound as the first letter in his name "Robert".  That "cat" rhymes with "fat".  That each picture represents a sound.  So point to the picture "B" and say, "When we see this picture, we say "B".   As you teach different sounds, you can then start blending sounds, like m-o-p.  That's the first word my youngest daughter learned to read. I was so excited because she has Down syndrome, and professionals had told me she would only learn to read by sight, and a limited amount of words at that. Well, today she loves to read.  She reads at a 5th grade level....beyond just sight words.

With some kids, learning the name of the alphabet and then the sounds can be pretty confusing.  If your child already knows the name of the letters and you're trying to teach him to read, he may start to read 'cart' as 's-a-r-t' because the letter "C" starts with the "S" sound.  Now, my older two had no trouble with this.  But my last 2 kids did.  One caught on fairly quickly.  But with my youngest daughter we had to go back and just learn the sounds.  Every time she'd start to say the name of the letter, I'd say, "Yes, that's the name of the letter.  But let's say the sound, because the name of the letter won't help us in reading. What sound do we say when we see this picture?"

I really enjoy reading. My kids see me reading a lot.  And I enjoy teaching reading, reading with and to my kids.  Just watching the development as they read 2-letter words or just the small words as I read the bigger words when we buddy read, to reading multi-syllabic words and full sentences.  Once they showed an interest in reading, I found a good phonics curriculum that was also fun.  My main goal is always to foster a love for reading and learning.  Dolch words, though, can be harder for some beginner readers.  We've used those for vocabulary and spelling practice.I also try to find books that have these words so they have more practice in reading these words fluently.  It's okay to read books over and over again.  Especially if they are favorites. 

1 comment:

Kat said...

I agree...it's never too early! My husband and I are avid readers, so my boys have always seen us with a book (or an ereader) in our hands. We would read to my oldest son all the time. He was 5 when our next son came along, and while we read to our youngest often, their favorite read-aloud time was (and still is!) when the oldest read to the youngest. :)