sneaky ways to teach reading - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-15-2011, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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My 6 year old wants to learn to read, but he's a perfectionist.  If he can't do something well right off the bat - he doesn't want to do it at all... (prime example - he wanted to ride a bike...would try for 5 min here and there, but when he couldn't ride he was done.  One day - he just took off and never looked back).


I think reading will be the same way... we sit and try to learn (progressive phonics type books, 100 easy lessons to learn to read) ... but he gets frustrated and is done 5 minutes later...


However, if we play games where he has to sound stuff out as part of the game...he's good to go.  We do treasure hunts where we find stuff I've written sight words on, and he likes that and will play for a while...  We have kids boggle where you match the dice to a card and sound out the word -- he likes that.  I'm making a memory game where you match cards with 1 letter with cards with 2 letters and if they make a word you keep the cards... 


I need more games like this.  Anyone have any good resources?  (and preferably ones that are inexpensive/I can make)




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Old 11-16-2011, 03:55 PM
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We do a car game.  Well, it is a game in the car for us. . . it could be done anywhere.  


Think of a word, say "CAT".  Take turns changing a sound. 

So, you say CAT and then ask your son what the word would be if you changed the last sound to a /p/  (say the sound, not the letter name).  

He should say cap.  Then he gets to pick which sound to change (beg., mid, end) and to what.  Then you sound out the new "word" -- which won't always be a real word--that doesn't matter! 



If he has a hard time figuring out which sound needs to be replaced, you can prompt him.  So in the previous example, if he wasn't sure which one to change (or if he just added a /p/ to the end of cat without removing the /t/) you can say, "so instead of /c/ /a/ /t/ we will say /c/ /a/ /p/ " (again saying the sounds).  My kids love this game and it has made sounding words out much easier because they get good at manipulating individual sounds in this game.  We do make sure that each word has a vowel sound though--so usually we change a vowel sound for another vowel sound (not necessarily a short sound).  



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Old 11-16-2011, 05:30 PM
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Have you tried Starfall? He might like it.  Also, Spelling City has great beginner spelling games where he can learn words. 


Just a thought. 



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Old 11-18-2011, 02:28 AM
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I have a free resource-- it's something you will both treasure!


Take dictation from him.  It doesn't have to be a story-- it can be anything (lists, for example).  You can do it on the computer (use Century Gothic font-- at least 28 point) or by hand.  Write down EXACTLY what he tells you, even if he starts every sentence with "and."


He will be able to read it back to you, word for word.  Punch holes in the paper and put it in a 3-ring binder.  Now he has reading material that he will read with great success, and he will love to read again when he's older.  He can illustrate if he wants-- sometimes it's good to put one or two sentences on each page to leave room for drawings.  I've added photos, too, sometimes.


The other thing you can do is write rhyming words.  My other girls learned to read on their own, but my 3rd is not.  So, yesterday we made lists of rhyming words.  She could read them all back to me, so then I started combining the words to make short sentences.  She could do that, too, and was very happy.


The other option is to ask him to list his favorites . 3 favorite foods.  Write them down and have him illustrate.


Keep all of this in that binder-- ask him to read to you for bedtime, to the pets, siblings, etc. 


My other 2 learned to write before they could read.  Let him type on the computer (again, use a good, large font). 


Oh, and keep it short and sweet.  Don't push-- it should always be fun, and always leave him wanting more.  5 minutes here and there is fine!  Don't be surprised if he wants to keep going.

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Old 11-18-2011, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I've looked through starfall, and I don't get it...  maybe I'm looking in the wrong place because everyone loves it... but I haven't been too thrilled with it yet...


And mizelinius -- LOVE those ideas!  He's written a few stories before, but they were really cute and I put them away so they wouldn't get torn up and only take them out occasionally -- I'm going to get some page protectors and a binder and let him make his own book. thats genious!! :)  And something he would be totally into!


aak - LOVE that game idea too!  We do a rhyming version, but I never thought of changing the other sounds around... :)

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by happy1nluv View Post

I've looked through starfall, and I don't get it...  maybe I'm looking in the wrong place because everyone loves it... but I haven't been too thrilled with it yet...


yeahthat.gif  I just don't get that site either.


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Old 11-18-2011, 08:10 AM
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Two things.


One I think Starfall is more for little kids learning their letters, we haven't really liked the learning to read section.


Two we love What's Gnu.

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Old 11-18-2011, 10:22 AM
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I love Mizelenius' suggestions. A couple of my kids loved to draw detailed illustrations, so I would get them to use standard copy paper for their pictures. Then I would ask them to tell me the story or caption for their picture, type it out in a large font, and print it onto the bottom of the page. Three-hole punch, into a binder, and gradually they would accumulate a portfolio of illustrated stories they could "read." Mostly by memory of their own story-telling at first, but repeatedly and delightedly until they began to recognize the words and correlate them with the words they were remembering.


"Collecting" rhyming words was great fun for my kids as well.


Kids' Magnetic Poetry was fun to have around and probably helped them a lot. We would start out using just a few sight words and make a short poem collaboratively. Then we could have fun rearranging the words to make nonsense, or new poems, or with line breaks and pauses in different places. And gradually we'd add a few new words with natural, authentic "word searches" as we looked through the tiles ... "I'm sure there's a 'red' in here. Can you help me look? It starts with R and ends with D. .... ah! there it is!" I linked to the "First Words" set that is mostly Dolch sight words, but there are other kids' kits that have more variety and poetic potential.


Hope that helps!



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Old 11-18-2011, 12:19 PM
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I have another suggestion.  You can make your own books (write them yourself) but use the traditional method of patterning, so that most of the text stays the same, and just a word or phrase changes.  Include photos or illustrations (you can use clip art) for visual clues.


An example . time, we came home and found a bagel in the bushes.  I took a picture of it, and wrote a book, Who put the bagel in the bushes?  Then I took a picture of each family member (including the pets) with a surprised or guilty look (whatever they wanted) on their faces.  OK, so maybe the pets didn't pose, but you get the idea. wink1.gif  Every page started off with, "Who put the bagel in the bushes?"  and then, "Was it Daddy?" and repeated this for each person.  I can't remember how I ended it and we never did figure out how that bagel got there. 


Your son will not have to read much to be able to read that kind of book (he'll memorize it quickly) and he probably knows how to read the names of everyone in the family anyway.  Of course, with funny pictures, he'll be even more excited.


If you celebrate Christmas, you can make these kinds of books to go along with a special gift.  He'll get the gift plus a personalized book to go along with it.  I find those little photo books work well for that type of thing.  For example, one year I got my nieces mermaids, and wrote a book about how each mermaid had a special talent that went along with the gift I saw within each niece.  It made the mermaids more memorable to them because the book connected to them personally.


My daughter made up her own language, so in order to teach it to other people (her sisters!) she's made up these types of books with the pattern of same phrase repeated, then a new word.  I hate to say it, but I am fluent in Spanish and used to speak ONLY Spanish to her.  Now her sisters can all sing a song in my DD's invented language but NO ONE can sing a song in Spanish!  Sheepish.gif


Miranda, love your poetry idea!  That is great!  I think that is going on my Christmas list!

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Old 12-09-2011, 11:30 AM
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We play a lot of sight word games in my house, too!  It makes learning to read feel so fun - which is how it should be.  I am using the Dolch list of sight words.  I print a set of Dolch sight words flashcards (I started with pre-primer then primer then first grade, etc.).  And once my son is even a little familiar with the words I pull out the games.  Sight word bingo is a fun one and he likes to read sight word sentences too.  Hope these links help.

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Old 12-09-2011, 11:44 AM
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what is a special food treat? get a kid's cookbook and work on reading what is need to make that special thing, writing a list of what to get and reading the packages at the store to find the correct one


make fortune cookies for Chinese new year 


or a model and perhaps the instructions (if you really want to make the project) might spark an interest


making holiday greeting cards for family


making "scrapple" magnets (for gifts maybe) - I can usually find tons of sets at goodwill or salvation army - we use crazy glue but other type might work too, just even starting with family/friends names


help in writing out the holiday tags for gifts (not much writing needed)- or help make the tags out of paper and rubber stamps ABC's for the names 


beading neckless or bracelets with alphabets to make or keep as gifts (not just names but words like strong, brave, etc)- get cool beads and add some learning to it



they make cool cookie kits and these would be fun to make -

they make holiday sets too



just a few thoughts


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