Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teaching Children How to Read

Here are my favorite resources and materials for teaching children how to read!

For a Gentle Introduction:
  • LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD - We received a copy of this and it turned out to be a super-easy way for my boys to learn their letter sounds with NO drilling, no flash cards, no formal lessons whatsoever. Just a simple video. 
  • LeapFrog Talking Words Factory DVD, - This is the follow-up dvd introducing how to blend letter sounds into words. This is only for children who already know their letter sounds! 
  • We got a lot of use out of our Lauri Letters. We used them to play simple games, and as they showed interest we used them to form words as a game. They thought this was great fun and were able to sound out three letter words in pre-school without any formal lessons. 
  • Be wary of doing too much too soon by way of formal reading lessons during the pre-school years

For Reading Lessons:
  • Hooked on Phonics is a great program if your child is ready for reading lessons! It's easy to pick up and use without parent preparation before-hand, and you can rest assured that you've got it covered. I'm currently using it with my newest reader and it's going well. 
  • BOB books are GREAT for beginning readers! It's a series of easy-readers that gently progress from the easiest three letter words to books with more than one sentence per page. I've used them both as a supplement and to teach reading. 
    • You can just jump right in, or if you'd like help making lesson plans to go with them, check out Teaching with Bob! It's written by a former reading tutor and home school mom who posted her own lesson plans that she used to make the Bob books into a complete phonics reading program. I used the free version of this when teaching my boys to read with Bob books. Now she's also made her curriculum available as a handy, printable PDF file you can purchase so you don't have to go through the blog for every single lesson.  
    • There are also lots of free printable activities that you can find online to go along with the BOB books. Here are a couple sites to check: Royal Baloo, 3 Dinosaurs, This Reading Mama
  • I liked Hooked on Phonics and Bob, but if you want to try something else,   check out Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool! I hadn't heard of it when we got started. Her reading program is 100% free, accessed online. She uses the McGuffey readers and begins by teaching common words by sight, then progresses into phonics. By the time you child completes it, they should be a very proficient reader. If you're interested, look at "Getting Ready 1" (preschool) and "Getting Ready 2" (kindergarten). If your child knows letter sounds and is ready to learn to read, start at lesson 172 of Getting Ready 1. 
  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - I have not personally used this program, just so you know. BUT my sister-in-law did and recommends it for kids who are starting from the beginning with letter sounds rather than kids who already know how to sound out basic words. I checked it out from the library and would highly suggest that you do the same if you're considering it. It's a no-frills program (unlike Hooked-on-Phonics), but if you have  a tight budget it might be a great fit. If you read the Amazon reviews you'll see that the overwhelming majority of people who buy it love it. It works. It's cheap. It's doable. It's also non-consumable, which means that $15 is all you'll need to teach all 25 of your kids to read. Or 4. Or 2. What ever. 
  • The Three R's by Ruth Beechick. This little set of three books is great for mom of grade schoolers, regardless of what curriculum or method you choose. It is seriously fabulous. Don't just take my word for it either... check out the Amazon reviews.
  • Remember to keep reading lessons short!  This helps prevent burnout and keep learning fun... you don't want your Kindergartener to be overwhelmed with school, or you'll have a long, hard road ahead of you!! You can slow down or speed lessons as needed to suit them to your child's pace.
  • Want to know what we did? Read my post, Learning to Read: What Worked For Us. Of course this is just what worked with one kid... my current recommendation for a homeschooling Mom teaching reading to her kids would be to just buy Hooked on Phonics. The price is well worth it, it is easy to implement, and it saves me time. My recommendation to parents (whether homeschoolers or not) who just want to start informal reading lessons is to read through the Bob books together, no lesson plans needed. 

Please Remember That Every Child Learns Differently

It's important to work with your child's individual ability and interest. If children are "introduced to letters, words, and reading through their own learning style strength, they achieve much higher reading competency... If the child is strong kinesthetically, it's important to include hands-on practice such as tracing letters in the air with the hand or whole arm and/or tracing the letters with a finger in sand or salt. If the connections between the sounds and letters are not clicking for the visually oriented learner, use picture cues and focus on the shape of the letters, then write the letters or touch them. The auditory learner benefits by hearing a word first, having the phonetic sound pointed out, tracing or writing it, and then using it in a game or experience."(Source, page 98) 

*** Go back to my Reading Resources page! ***


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