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#1 of 20 Old 06-27-2013, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A few months ago we were up at my daughter's elementary school waiting for her when my 3-year-old looked at the gym doors and said, "Does it say 'out'?"  Yup, it did.  I had never noticed.  I asked him what the other door said and he told me it was 'in'.  Yup.  He was really proud of himself and quickly learned "no" and "yes" and "on" (a backwards 'no').  Now at night when we sit down and read together he can pick out a bunch of prepositions.

 

When my daughter was 3, she went to a Montessori preschool and quickly mastered the phonics-based curriculum, which was excellent support for reading.  But DS goes to a daycare center with some learning attached (we tried Montessori--he hated it) and their big thing is mastering the letter sounds and he has totally already BTDT.

 

I am not a full-time working single mom and I don't have time to engage in much homeschooling. Typically we do not have time to use the computer much, and I'm not really keen on just throwing him at starfall.com.  But I'd like to get some simple, non-writing-based phonics teaching program that will cover phonics from basic letter sounds to letter combinations and compound words.  In small lessons, non-intensive, that we can do at home a few minutes at a time.

 

Any suggestions? How did you help your very young reader?


Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#2 of 20 Old 06-27-2013, 05:17 PM
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It's simple and fun:  You read to your children daily, and let them see you reading to yourself for pleasure, as well.  You take trips to the library and bookstore.  You immerse them in a print-rich culture, and they'll pick up reading, as your 3 yo. has already started to do.  

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#3 of 20 Old 06-27-2013, 05:35 PM
 
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With my limited experience, I would suggest you just let him pick up reading just as he has been. When my son was just barely reading a word here and there, he figured out the word "Phoenix" correctly with no help at all. Since then he started reading every sign, book titles, and even sentences before age 5. We pick up the school ish workbooks at target each fall when they are in the dollar section. Same with flash cards of sight words. He just gets it with little or no added push from us. I suspect your child will be similar, needing only encouragement when he shows interest. We are I schoolers, though my son is not yet kindergarten aged. We plan to continue as long as it works. smile.gif
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#4 of 20 Old 06-27-2013, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure DS could learn to read via the sight & memorization/whole word method, and he can learn how to sound out words via trial and error, but English isn't exactly a straightforward sound-it-out language and I don't see any reason not to teach him intentionally.  Of course he'll be a sight reader in the end--we all are, after a certain level.  DD was reading on a high enough level by 6 that she bombed the 1st grade phonics tests because she doesn't consciously use that stuff anymore, but I do believe that knowing it to begin with helped get her to that point. 


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#5 of 20 Old 06-27-2013, 09:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post

DD was reading on a high enough level by 6 that she bombed the 1st grade phonics tests because she doesn't consciously use that stuff anymore, but I do believe that knowing it to begin with helped get her to that point. 

 

Don't be so sure. I'm someone who was reading at a very high level long before anyone bothered to introduce phonics, the sibling to two others, and the parent to four more. In my family at least kids seem to learn to read to very high levels at very young ages with nothing more than the answering of children's questions and consistent reading aloud to them. If all is proceeding well I vastly prefer a child-led organic form of learning.

 

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#6 of 20 Old 06-28-2013, 05:55 AM
 
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I did teach the basic letter sounds, and did some explaining of silent e here and there, but mostly my DS seemed to intuit phonics.  He learned that ph says "f" and cious says "shus" by looking at the words in picture books as I read.  If a kid can understand and apply phonics without explicitly taught rules, I think it makes for a more fluid learning process.  I do see where he could bomb a phonics test because he is unable to articulate the rule, but I'm not concerned about that I guess.

 

After he was reading, we discovered the Preschool Prep video series Meet the Phonics- letter sounds, digraphs, and blends.  They are actually very boring (in my opinion), but he likes these videos because he is alphabet obsessed - he slept with his fridge magnet vowels when he was two (who needs stuffed animals smile.gif ).  I think the videos soothe him, and he talks about the letter characters like they are his friends.   


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#7 of 20 Old 06-30-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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I would agree with the other posters here - my children have learned to read without any formal phonics program. We just read to them a lot, answered questions, pointed out words on signs etc. - basically anything to encourage or reinforce their reading. My one DS is now 5 and i find that he is starting to ask questions about constant blend sounds or strange pronunciations or spelling that the english language is so famous for but other than that he has grasped on to reading very well by just being exposed to lots of reading at home. So my input would be to just keep doing what you are doing!!!
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#8 of 20 Old 07-04-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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My DD learned to read with the Montessori letter sounds, Leapfrog phonics DVD, Bob books then Dr. Seuss.  She learned the sounds that go with the letters, then watched that leapfrog DVD a couple of times, then started reading.  We read to her every night since she was 3 days old, I 'm sure that helped.  Then she started reading to us.  I remember driving in the car and she would say street names or signs when she was 3, and freak everyone out.  We never spent any time on phonics and she is now in 3rd grade and still at the top of the percentiles.  I think some kids just get it, why I don't know.  She has always had a strong drive to read.  She is also an amazing speller.  So just keep up what you're doing, and remember that most kids learn to read in K these days!  So it will be a while before other kids are reading at his level.  

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#9 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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This is a very interesting question, and one I was going to post a thread about myself. Thank you OP!

 

My two-month-away-from-being 3 year old is very interested in reading and spelling now. She can recognise quite a few words in oft-read books and elsewhere. Pretends to read with me and runs her fingers along the words at the right 'pace'. Has lots of fun finding random 'A's' or 'M's'  or other letters scattered about everywhere on packaging, fine print...wherever! Recognises all of the alphabet and numbers on the fridge magnets. She has a very basic computer programme on an old laptop which basically just types and 'speaks' the letters, and she can now type out Mummy, Daddy, Dog, Cat and her own name (which is very short, ha ha)...but annoyingly, the computer voice does use phonetics, and the Y, for example is pronounced as 'e'...which I find confusing myself.

 

Anyway - She has expressed an interest in learning MORE about how to read....and I'm a bit stuck! (I may have talked it up a little TOO much - ranting and raving about how great reading is...and how fantastic it is to be able to read etc.)

I have no familiarity at all with the different language/writing/reading teaching systems, and was going to come here and ask what would be a good way forward?

 

Flash cards?

Spelling first? (she seems to be quite interested, and fairly able at guessing what the first letters of words are and should be).

Very basic reading books (we don't really have any...except Spot books...and I'm not sure what would be a good choice)?

 

We already do a TONNE of reading each day. So much so, that I worry a little she doesn't do other sorts of play, and running around enough.

We also have a great time playing 'Eye/I Spy' - where she's able to correctly choose a thing that begins with the letter 's' for example...and then smarty-pants enough to give me CLUES when I'm failing to guess correctly, ha ha.

 

Anyway - the wisdom above seems to suggest just carry on and these types of kids will just carry on picking it up....but, if there is a fun way that's a bit more methodical (or even games to play - not on the computer) I would love to hear about it? Anyone have anything they loved playing, regarding the alphabet, numbers and spelling?

 

The other question I had - was how does one explain the difference between upper and lower case....? I can see this being a strange hurdle, as the letterforms are so different. But maybe that is picked up naturally along the way too? Punctuation has also come up - have had to resort to telling her that exclamation marks just mean the word is meant to be loud. Ahem. I think I need reschooling myself!

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#10 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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You are doing great, Grover!  Just keep it up.  She may like starfall.com if she likes to use the computer.


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#11 of 20 Old 07-08-2013, 06:25 PM
 
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You are doing great, Grover!  Just keep it up.  She may like starfall.com if she likes to use the computer.

Thanks. Don't feel I'm doing great...but thanks anyway!

We want to limit her computer time - though maybe later starfall would be okay.

 

I should do some hunting around in this subforum - but one issue we have a LOT is frustration. She gets very very frustrated if she doesn't get things right. She is just learning to draw (she started off drawing on balloons with a marker, heh heh - paper was harder for some reason) people shapes, and faces...and if she misplaces a single stroke...well, it ain't good. 

 

I just wish it was all fun - including the letters/reading thing (which seems more fun to her than drawing and painting etc)

If anyone does have any specifics (as above) - would still appreciate hearing what you did with your enthusiastic pre-readers!

 

....off to search....

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#12 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 03:45 AM
 
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Hi, Grover.

If you have an iPad, you might find this app helpful for your daughter: https://itunes.apple.com/app/i-know-my-world/id619052667?mt=8

It`s free. There are voice flash cards with alphabet letters and pictures of different objects. My son is 2 years 8 months, he enjoys it and has learned many words with this app and can recognize almost all letters already. But I also read an alphabet book to him and we arrange letter cubes to form words. I just think that it`s better to diversify reading activities to keep kids interested in learning to read. 

Good luck to you! 

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#13 of 20 Old 07-11-2013, 07:57 PM
 
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Hi, Grover.

If you have an iPad, you might find this app helpful for your daughter: https://itunes.apple.com/app/i-know-my-world/id619052667?mt=8

It`s free. There are voice flash cards with alphabet letters and pictures of different objects. My son is 2 years 8 months, he enjoys it and has learned many words with this app and can recognize almost all letters already. But I also read an alphabet book to him and we arrange letter cubes to form words. I just think that it`s better to diversify reading activities to keep kids interested in learning to read. 

Good luck to you! 

 

Hiya,

 

Thanks. Will note down for the future. The household's only iPad....is *MINE*, and *MINE* alone. Heh heh. Did without presents for myself for a whole year to save for it...so ain't no little toddler getting her hands on it until it's replaced with a new one! (Hence we've given her an old laptop instead). She thinks the iPad is "mummy' computer book" for special bedtime stories. Heh heh. And she'd be right, since I don't have time to do anything but read on it anyway.

 

But also, I do want to limit her screen time at the mo...she gets a little too much in the way of mindless video's each day (only about half an hour, but I regret that half an hour)...so if/when we can cut that down to nearly zero...perhaps more computer. Definitely when she's older.

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#14 of 20 Old 07-12-2013, 07:38 AM
 
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Thank you for the post! I have been feeling guilty that I don't work with my son too often and we don't do structured lessons or anything but he seems to be just fine exploring language his way, with me simply responding to his requests and questions. I kept telling myself that I should be doing more but I am pregnant and tired! The responses were very helpful. Grover, as far as capital and lower case letters go, I don't have an answer other than my son picked up on the difference on his own. I had the same question myself but then noticed that he knew the difference and ended up explaining thngs to ME and said he likes his name with all caps but he prefers other words in lower case. I tried to explain sentence structure and names etc. but he kind of dismissed me like he he already knew. The point is, they pick up on so much more than we realize which I find a relief.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-12-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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A suggestion for early readers; our youngest is a profoundly gifted now 13 year old who was reading (I think at a 3rd grade level or so) before her third birthday. She always loved books, letters, writing and reading. When she was about 16 months old my MIL bought her some foam rubber letters in a foam puzzle of the alphabet. I was going to throw them away, because I though she would eat them (my daughter, not my MIL!) but she saw the puzzle, picked a random letter out and said, "A." "A" Mama, dis a "A." It wasn't an "A" but I showed her what the "A" was.  (She must have just picked it up from my reading, because she hated Sesame Street, the monsters scared her, and never watched that kind of "educational" TV.) She learned what an "A" is, then ALL the letters were "B"s to her for a while. We went through the letters (I have some health conditions and could do this easily even while lying down with a migraine or a fibromyalgia attack) and she learned them all by about 20 to 22 months, all the while we were making frequent library trips, reading books every day and playing with paper and writing implements.

 

I truly believe that little foam rubber puzzle helped her learn to read! When she outgrew the foam rubber puzzle, I got her some "work books" from the dollar store and then we splurged on a little computerized toy that had all the letters upper and lower case, and could be used to identify letters, write 3 letter words etc. (I think it was from Leapfrog, but it wasn't the Leapfrog that READ the books to the child. I wanted to do that for her, so we stuck with regular books.)

 

I also bought some "Primary Paper" with the right spacing and room at the top for drawing pictures. I would write a word, then write it in "broken" lines so she could follow my lead. This helped her learn to read and write as well. We never did phonics, as S. did better with Whole Language reading techniques (every child is different.) She just picked up phonics as she learned to read. Our Pediatrician (the first person, besides my dh and me to identify her as profoundly gifted) suggested "The Bob Books" but she memorized them the first time they were read to her so they were useless for real reading for her. I had some Dick and Jane books, and she loved them. The repetition and colorful pictures were just what helped the most. She was reading before her 3rd birthday, and it wasn't all that much effort. Kids will do what they are meant to do with a little support.

 

We also started doing a lot of matching games when she was a baby, and used blocks a lot. She was read to since the womb. I was a SAHM with a small lactation business when she was small, so I had time to "teach" her, but I also had other children, my husband, my business and my health to take care of. I think a few low cost good quality tools are really helpful in helping a child who really wants to learn to do so. :)

 

It doesn't take a lot of effort to spend 10 to 20 minutes a few times a day reading and pointing out letters to children. As long as it's fun for both of you, it's worth the little bit of time.

 

Good luck with your amazing child! :Hug


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#16 of 20 Old 09-13-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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My now DS6 loved the "BOB" books. Short sentences on each page with small, phonetic (looks just like it sounds) words. He was super proud when he could read them on his own. He is now in the first grade and, like many children on this forum, is tackling 200+ page chapter books. I have no doubt that he would be a great reader without much intervention, but a firm grounding in phonics amd high frequency sight words, plus reading to him every day of his life from engaging books has gone a long way. I'm convinced that reading aloud to elementary kids is as important as reading aloud to preschoolers- the focus turns more to technique, pausing at commas and periods, reading with expression, using different voices for each character to demonstrate a different point of view, etc.
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#17 of 20 Old 09-13-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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I'm convinced that reading aloud to elementary kids is as important as reading aloud to preschoolers- the focus turns more to technique, pausing at commas and periods, reading with expression, using different voices for each character to demonstrate a different point of view, etc.

 

I know this is a bit of a tangent, but I couldn't agree more, and to expressiveness, voicing and punctuation I'd add: exposure to new vocabulary, internalizing more complex grammatical constructs, improving focus and stamina, building a family tradition of the shared appreciation of literature, discussing themes and literary devices, and relationship-building. I still read aloud every day to my 10-year-old who has been reading on her own for six years and is taking high school courses. Right now we're in the midst of "Clan of the Cave Bear" and on the periphery of our reading we're discussing the science of human evolution, global warming, animism, sign language, racism, foreshadowing and the balance of descriptive vs. plot-driven passages. 

 

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#18 of 20 Old 09-13-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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A lot of kids do really well with the BOB books. I really think different children learn in different ways. My littlest one did best with the repetition of Dick and Jane, but BOB works wonders for many children.

 

I agree with you about reading even to older children. Often when I would read to my youngest, my two older girls (11 and 13 years older than the baby) would come and listen. They were in Middle School and High School. I liked to do different voices or different people (in a more complicated book like the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series) and they all enjoy reading and listening to books on CD as well.


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#19 of 20 Old 09-15-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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If you wanted to go in the direction of a few minutes here and there of more scaffolding, but without a screen, you might like the Alpha-Phonics primer. It's simpler to look at than most books--plain calligraphy that is kind of in between printing and typeface--and is very pared-down and straightforward and lovely.

 

(I came across it too late to use with my two, but it is what I would use if I had another that wanted that kind of instruction. One of mine did, and one didn't.)

 

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#20 of 20 Old 10-22-2013, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW, I had no idea how many more replies there were to this post.  I'm guessing I lost track around the time Gmail started up the multi-inbox thing, which has resulted in unfortunately misplacement of email from several places.

 

A couple days after my last post I found the BOB books at the local Barnes & Noble and bought the first set for him.  He liked having his very own books and we set a rule that as soon as he could read the first book to me, then he could have the 2nd book, and so on.  He's gone in fits and spurts because his interest in reading on his own really comes and goes, but he finished all 12 books. He really prefers to have me read fun stories to him to reading on his own, though, so he will go a couple weeks before wanting to read on his own.  He would REALLY rather play with manipulative toys most of the time. At the beginning of September he moved into the pre-K class at his preschool and they are doing a bit of writing/tracing and during centers he sometimes gets to do Starfall on the classroom computer.

 

I'm a single mom nowdays and don't always have time to read to both kids at bedtime, so my daughter usually reads to herself, but we are all enjoying a lot of books on CD in the car and DS (who will be 4 on Thursday) is really good at following the story.  We just finished "The Salamander Spell" and "Dragon's Breath" by E D Baker and DS is the one begging me to go get another right away. 


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