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#1 of 32 Old 07-04-2012, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This may seem weird, but my oldest was taught to read in school. Now we are going to homeschool and I have a kindy kid. I keep reading to let him learn to read on his own.  How does that happen? I mean I know reading TO him helps a TON...but do you do sight words and phonics and such too? Or do kids just 'get it' somehow? I remember being frustrated a lot while my oldest learned. 

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#2 of 32 Old 07-04-2012, 09:38 PM
 
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Some kids teach themselves but most don't. DS did so I am by no means an expert but the programs/books I see recommended most often are The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.


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#3 of 32 Old 07-04-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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I'm the mom of four self-taught readers. They all asked a lot of questions. From basic things like "Rainbow starts with R, right?" or "What does p-r-e-s-s spell?" to gradually more sophisticated things like "Why does 'ice' have an E on the end?" to "Why do they spell 'thought' with so many letters?" They began to recognize some words by sight, learned to spell their names and the names of their siblings ... and gradually, with the help of questions asked and answered, they began to intuit the rules of phonics.

 

They didn't learn according to my schedule or my perception of their readiness. I was surprised by a couple of my kids gaining a fair bit of reading skill long before I had any sense that they were getting close. I was also surprised by long fallow periods where interest in reading seemed to drop off the radar despite what seemed like complete readiness. One of my kids got to the stage of being a competent beginning reader (1st grade level) on his own, and then asked for help practicing so that he could improve. So we read through a bunch of levelled readers together and he was off and running. That was about the extent of the parent-directed assistance I provided. The rest happened organically.

 

The thing is, though, you can't rush a child to the point of self-taught reading fluency. It might come at 4, or it might come at 9. It almost never happens exactly when you think it should.

 

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#4 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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From what I understand I believe most of the "self-taught readers" are whole language learners, and they usually need to be taught some of the phonics rules later on. I have a child who "doesn't get" phonics and thinks it is "very boring", and we have tried a few different programs with her. She is going into 2nd Grade and says she has no interest in reading, though we do ask her to read some BOB books occasionally and also to try and read what she puts in her workbooks. We're not worried about her.


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#5 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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I'll start with a disclaimer: I'm not a homeschooler and I don't think my son is all that typical - however, I think he has learned to read phonetically in a very child-led (if not strictly self-taught) way...

My son is a relentless asker of questions... I'm sure he asks thousands each day and often has very specific lines of questioning that he'll repeat until he's mastered a certain concept. Around the time he turned two, he started becoming very interested in print and would point to a lot of words and ask me what they said. A few months later, he started pointing to individual letters and asking me what they were. I replied with the standard letter sounds rather than names (I had become interested in Montessori at this stage). I didn't have any alphabet posters or books for him (I was very much hung up on the idea that he was only 2 and too young) but nonetheless, after a few weeks of non-stop questioning, he had learned all the letter sounds. Sometimes when I answered him, I would say something like "that's /b/, as in ball" So his next line of questioning was "What letter does *** start with?" He got this concept fairly quickly and after a couple of weeks, the question became "Mamma, does apple start with an /a/?"

Then his interest waned a little bit - I think he started asking about car models and numbers instead... but around his third birthday, a new series of "Mamma, what does this say?" questions began. This time, you could see him studying the word very carefully and sounding it out slowly. He's continued since then, getting more and more confident in his sounding out of words. He's now three and a half - and while he doesn't sit down and read a book, he reads all sort of text - signs, cereal boxes, chapter titles, etc. I notice he's starting to pick up a few common sight words though his reading is still mostly sounding out words phonetically. Oh, and I did actually teach him the letter names (as opposed to sounds) a few weeks ago (well, read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and sung the alphabet song for him - he picked it up in a day or two) The main reason I decided to do that is that he's been asking more and more questions about phonetic irregularities and I find it a lot easier to answer his questions using the actual letter names rather than the sounds. I've also bought a few phonics books to read myself so that I feel better prepared to answer his questions as they come up... but I have no plans for direct teaching and will continue to let his questions lead the way.

 

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#6 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 07:04 AM
 
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I don't think anyone can really say that "most" kids need to be taught to read, or that "most" who learn on their own will need to be taught phonics later on.  The fact is that "most" kids go to school, so it is impossible to tell how those kids' reading skills would have developed without formal instruction.

 

No one has done a large-scale study of unschooled kids and how they learned to read.  Peter Gray has, however, compiled some anecdotal information about how unschooled kids learn to read, and it may answer some of OP's questions:

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201002/children-teach-themselves/read

 

My eldest learned to read, with very little help from his parents, and with zero phonics instruction, at age five.  Today, at age eight, his reading and writing ability continue to increase without phonics instruction.  He reads a little fantasy/sci-fi fiction, but most of his reading comes in the form of gaming manuals and catalogs and nonfiction reference books on subjects like astronomy and geography.  The books he was spending lots of time with when reading really clicked at age five were The Scholastic Atlas of the United States, the Kentucky State Driving Manual (!), and Transformer comics.  I also learned to read at age five, and remember filling out phonics worksheets in first grade.  I always knew the answers already, though I did learn some phonics jargon ("blends," "dipthongs," etc.) that I wasn't familiar with.  Though I'm pretty sure lots of outstanding readers have no idea what a dipthong is.

 

My second child is seven.  She is not yet reading fluently, but she is progressing nicely.  What is fascinating is that her writing skills seem ahead of her reading skills--the opposite of her older brother.  The verdict is still out, but I'd say that she's learning to read largely through building a set of words that she can spell (even if the spelling is sometimes imperfect).  Right now she is spending a lot of time studying The Barbie Collectors' Handbook, though she also enjoys graphic novels like the Fashion Kitty series.  She has always adored the Madeline books.  We don't do any formal instruction.

 

My third child is five and can sight read maybe thirty words or so.  He struggles with a pencil grip, so he doesn't write a whole lot yet.  He has recently become very interested in computer games, and I've noticed that some of the words he can sight read are the ones that come up in his favorite games.

 

One of the books I always recommend to those wondering about how to help their homeschooled children learn to read is Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith.  He argues that we best help children learn to read by offering them membership to "the literacy club."  It's difficult to explain all that he means by that, but it includes reading to children, offering a print-rich environment, and modeling reading. 

 

Edited:  Argh, I can't get the link to work. If you google "Peter Gray children teach themselves to read," you'll get there.  Sorry.

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#7 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 07:42 AM
 
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From what I understand I believe most of the "self-taught readers" are whole language learners, and they usually need to be taught some of the phonics rules later on. 

 

Not true in my experience. My kids were never taught any phonics: they intuited the "rules." They're excellent readers and excellent spellers. I was an early self-taught reader myself and recall being given a systematic phonics workbook in 2nd grade and thinking it was the silliest, most self-evident stuff, finishing the workbook that was supposed to last all year in a weekend.

 

I also think that in unschooling families learning to read without direct instruction is the rule rather than the exception, so I would venture that most children are capable of it -- though not necessarily at age 5.5. 

 

I enjoyed the Peter Gray article. His observations jive with my own.

 

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#8 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 07:57 AM
 
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Some kids teach themselves but most don't. DS did so I am by no means an expert but the programs/books I see recommended most often are The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

 

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From what I understand I believe most of the "self-taught readers" are whole language learners, and they usually need to be taught some of the phonics rules later on. 

I might agree with these statements in the sense that no child learns to read in a vacuum.  Our house is much like Caitlinn and Miranda's houses: tons of questions, lots of reading, more questions.  If I answer their questions on how to pronounce a word, does that count as "phonics instruction"?  Does it count as "teaching themselves to read"?  I suppose you could answer both ways.

 

But what is learning to read, exactly?  Is it all those questions about the words, or is it that moment when your kid sees that she is looking at a page and the understanding is formed?  Or is it not just the knowledge that words stand for something (where my 5yo is currently) but having those words come to life on that page?  There is a moment of wide eyes, like you get when you stare at one of those chaotic pictures where a real picture is embedded and you finally see it.

 

My 5yo is definitely not a "whole language learner".  She is dedicated to sounding...... wooooorrdsssss...... oooooouuuuuut...... sssssllllooooooowllllllyyyyy.  My oldest is definitley the whole-language type, and yes, she is learning that she has to sound words out, and dd2 is learning that she has to just recognize some words so probably what it means is that you also can't learn to read English sticking with one method.

 

As for self-taught readers being whole-language learners, in my home that is exactly 50%.  I was a self-taught reader, but I learned when I was 4yo and don't remember it.  I remember not knowing, then I remember knowing.  Unhelpful!  But even dh, who learned to read in school, still had that aha! moment that can come from no other place but yourself.  You cannot be given it.  You can be lead to the place where that moment can happen, but the "aha!" understanding is all your own.

 

I'm not sure when my 5.5yo will start reading.  She sits and "reads" all day long some days, unexpected books like guide books and other "science-y" books that are way beyond her abilities.  Same for dd1, who is reading.  She might be excited about an early reader briefly so she can show off her skills, but those books quickly get forgotten and she goes back to perusing her own tomes, like her horse and pony encyclopedia, which are loaded with pictures and text far beyond her current ability, but she looks, she reads, she asks me to read a passage now and then.  


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#9 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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I learned to read without being taught (my mom didn't even realize I could, until my kindergarten teacher called her to tell her). I believe my husband did, as well.

 

DD1 and ds2 are being homeschooled. We're not exactly unschoolers, but that's probably closer to our approach than any other label I can think of. We've very child led. DD1 has had some spelling lessons, because she asked a lot of quesions, and learned some basic phonics (just the sounds all the letter made), and they've confused the crap out of her. She frequently spells words with "u", instead of "a", because it sounds like it should be a "u". This was affecting her ability to read quite profoundly, as she's a "sound it out" reader, and there were too many words she couldn't sound out. (On another note, she hates English with a passion, and says it's the stupidest language ever.) So, she's not really a self-taught reader, exaclty, but she's had very little formal instruction.

 

I've never worked with ds2 at all. I've answered questions he's asked me, and that's it. He doesn't read very often. His reading level is above grade level. I have no idea how he even learned it all, but he did.


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#10 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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I am also very surprised at how well DS seems to "get" phonics. He taught himself to read at 3.5 much to our shock. I'd planned on using phonics to teach him. I am placing a high priority on phonics this fall (I think we're going to use Phonic Road for LA) but I'm not as worried as I was initially. I've seen a lot of evidence this year that he actually has a very intuitive understanding of the rules.


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#11 of 32 Old 07-05-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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I have a self taught reader.  We did do "Bob Books" Usborne has a great reading series where you read one side of the page and they read the other.  After she was reading we did do Progressive Phonics, I think they are a fantastic program.  The stories are fun and easy and it is all free.


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#12 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 04:18 AM
 
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I am not a homeschooler (yet - my daughter is only 2), but my background is as a Reading Specialist and I just wanted to chime in that kindergarten can be really young to read, so if independent reading is not happening, don't panic. Just keep reading aloud. I wouldn't start to worry until they get to maybe 8 or 9 and aren't reading independently. I've read some research that estimates about 40% (of the school population) learns to read on their own, 50% benefits from explicit instruction and about 10% needs really intensive instruction. And by all means keep any reading skill lessons short...once they know the sounds of English spelling combinations, you want to practice fluency. Maybe five minutes a day. Just pick a passage of 50 to 100 words and have them read it out loud, playing around with punctuation and emphasis and all that. 

 

Also, older kids can really benefit from some word study of latin and greek roots - this is also phonics, but not the a-apple-ah variety. You can just google a list of roots and then have them brainstorm other words that use the root.

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#13 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 05:46 AM
 
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I am a self-taught reader, as is my son. I wonder why so much emphasis is being placed on phonics. I can read quite nicely without ever using phonics. Seriously, as adults, do you still sound out words? I am also a speed reader, so I learned to take in groups of words at once. Personally, phonics is nice but in my opinion, unnecessary.
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#14 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 06:24 AM
 
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I've read some research that estimates about 40% (of the school population) learns to read on their own, 50% benefits from explicit instruction and about 10% needs really intensive instruction.

 

I've seen several variations of this statistic over the years, but never an attribution.  I suspect it's not from an actual study since the number who supposedly benefit from "explicit instruction" is different every time I see the stat. Sometimes it's 40%, sometimes 20%, etc. 

 

While it's nice to see someone with school credentials who has a positive view of allowing children to read in their own time, I don't like the idea of parents starting to worry the day a child hits a certain age (even 8 or 9) and is not reading independently.  Again, see the Peter Gray article.  And this:  http://sandradodd.com/r/threereaders . There are additional links at the bottom for other reading stories.

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#15 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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 Seriously, as adults, do you still sound out words? 

Actually, yes.  I can think of any number of examples: dinosaur books, Greek myths, rock and plant guide books, some cities when playing TakeOff, even some names from Harry Potter catch me up and I have to go back and sound out the name.  It's not quite the same as when you are first starting out-- sort of like math, some things are just so embedded and second nature you don't need to think too hard-- but I do have to go slowly, pay attention, and in some cases still hope that I am right.


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#16 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 08:49 AM
 
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Seriously, as adults, do you still sound out words?

 

Adding a couple of more situations to SweetSilver's list:

 

Dialect (where an accent is written out phonetically) and long transliterated foreign names, eg. Japanese, Russian.

 

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#17 of 32 Old 07-06-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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Quote:
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Seriously, as adults, do you still sound out words?

 

Adding a couple of more situations to SweetSilver's list:

 

Dialect (where an accent is written out phonetically) and long transliterated foreign names, eg. Japanese, Russian.

 

Miranda

 

Also Dr. Seuss books (or any other book with made-up words) and people's last names or usernames.  I think everyone uses phonics when they read, whether they're conscious of it or not.  Using phonics doesn't have to mean slowly sounding words out letter by letter like a kindergartener.  As an adult you can probably apply phonics rules to many unfamiliar words as quickly as you can read familiar words, so quickly you aren't conscious of sounding anything out.  If you can easily read nonsense words like "fark" or "doover" or usernames like "Mittsy" or "moominmamma" (out loud, with correct pronunciation) then you're using phonics. 

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#18 of 32 Old 07-07-2012, 01:06 AM
 
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I don't bother to figure out a pronunciation unless it has to be said out loud. I
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#19 of 32 Old 07-07-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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I don't bother to figure out a pronunciation unless it has to be said out loud. I

My reading and writing style is funny-- I hear the words in my head as if someone is reading to me.  When I read books I also have a movie running along in my head.  I am a slow reader, but stories are incredibly rich.

 

So, the point, I need to know how to pronounce it, even if I am reading silently.  


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#20 of 32 Old 07-07-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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I read aloud a lot (my kids are 9-15, and were early readers, but I still read aloud to them plenty), so I need to be able to pronounce things. When I'm reading non-fiction, I sometimes do what pek64 does and "read" without actually turning unfamiliar words into mental sounds. But even though I'm a very fast reader, if I'm reading fiction other than trashy stuff I much prefer to "hear" the sounds of the words in my head. I pay attention not just to the meaning of the words but to their rhythm, timbre, phrasing and other poetic elements. I'm after the aesthetic of the language, not just its meaning.

 

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#21 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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Some kids will figure out reading with little instruction.  Some (I am guessing most) will not.    You should start the ball rolling either way.   Offer as much help as the child needs to continue making progress.  It's that simple.   Do not fall into the trap of an idea that there is anything wrong with providing a child with assistance and instruction in learning to read. 


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#22 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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I've read some research that estimates about 40% (of the school population) learns to read on their own, 50% benefits from explicit instruction and about 10% needs really intensive instruction.

 

I've seen several variations of this statistic over the years, but never an attribution.  I suspect it's not from an actual study since the number who supposedly benefit from "explicit instruction" is different every time I see the stat. Sometimes it's 40%, sometimes 20%, etc. 

 

While it's nice to see someone with school credentials who has a positive view of allowing children to read in their own time, I don't like the idea of parents starting to worry the day a child hits a certain age (even 8 or 9) and is not reading independently.  Again, see the Peter Gray article.  And this:  http://sandradodd.com/r/threereaders . There are additional links at the bottom for other reading stories.

 

 

The Peter Gray article cites very anecdotal research, as does the Sandra Dodd page. However, I can say that I worked as a research assistant at a major university for several years, and most reading research is flawed anyway. It's way too hard to isolate all the factors that go into each child's literacy experience in the world. 

 

In any case, I wanted to clarify that I really don't think it's necessary to do much of anything "instructional" before 8 or 9. Just read and write in your daily life and provide opportunities for your kids to engage in that to the degree that they want to. However, as someone who has worked almost exclusively with the kids who don't, and probably won't ever learn to read on their own, because of a neurologically-based reading disability, I can say that if you have a feeling there is something wrong with the way your child is processing text or language, it would be good to start to investigate it at around 8 or 9 and maybe get some help. 

 

Also, English is a phonetic language (as quirky as some of our spelling conventions are). Languages such as Chinese are not phonetic (to read, at least). So, everybody who is reading English is using phonics, whether it's such an automatic process in your head that you aren't aware of it, or you slowly sound out words. 

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#23 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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The Peter Gray article cites very anecdotal research, as does the Sandra Dodd page. However, I can say that I worked as a research assistant at a major university for several years, and most reading research is flawed anyway. It's way too hard to isolate all the factors that go into each child's literacy experience in the world. 

 

 

We're in complete agreement here.  I specifically said that the Gray article and Dodd page cite anecdotal evidence. But frankly, this anecdotal evidence--because it doesn't make any sweeping claims--may be the best evidence we have of how people can learn to read outside of schools.  And the flawed reading research churned out by universities-- because it is considered better than anecdotal evidence and because the colleges of education must know more than everyone else--is used to justify all kinds of programs and interventions that may not be necessary, and may even be harmful.  Frank Smith, author of Reading Without Nonsense (published by Columbia Teachers College Press, incidentally) and Peter Gray are two academics who have challenged the schools of education and their skewed emphasis on isolated phonics work.

 

While I think it's great to hear someone with reading specialist credentials endorse a relaxed approach to early reading, I do think that neurologically-based reading disorders are hugely overdiagnosed.  I'm not going to write a dissertation about that here, nor challenge any parent's experience about what his or her own child needs.  At the same time, we simply can't say that children who can't read by eight or nine (or whatever magic age) will likely never learn to read on their own, because we don't know how these children would have developed had they not been in school.  Might "early intervention" actually interfere with a person's ability to learn to read?  I think it's quite possible, and that we shouldn't assume that early intervention can't hurt.  Why are we unwilling to acknowledge that intervention might cause harm, at least in some cases? Frank Smith and John Holt acknowledged this possibility.  If Sandra Dodd's daughter, who became a fluent reader at age eleven, had been the recipient of an "intervention" at age eight or nine, would she be a great reader today?  We can't say. 

 

My experience is that my child who is learning to read "later" is wired very, very differently from her older brother. If she were in school, she would certainly be subjected to an intensive phonics-based approach that I'm convinced would be the total opposite of what she needs.   

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#24 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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 Do not fall into the trap of an idea that there is anything wrong with providing a child with assistance and instruction in learning to read. 

 

I would argue that "assistance" and "instruction" are often two very different things. 

 

PGTlatte, I recall from your previous posts that you're pretty adamantly anti-unschooling. I think it's important to note that OP specifically indicated an interest in how children might learn to read on their own. 

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#25 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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This may seem weird, but my oldest was taught to read in school. Now we are going to homeschool and I have a kindy kid. I keep reading to let him learn to read on his own.  How does that happen? I mean I know reading TO him helps a TON...but do you do sight words and phonics and such too? Or do kids just 'get it' somehow? I remember being frustrated a lot while my oldest learned. 

 

This is what she asked - the part I bolded.  She has seen suggestions to let him learn on his own.    I stand by what I said -  it is not a good thing to fall into the idea that it is in any way harmful to explicitly teach reading.   If someone chooses to unschool - fine, whatever, your kid.  BUT I have seen mothers literally beside themselves over their kid not picking up on reading on their own, by age ten or so, with their hands mentally tied behind their backs, because they had thoroughly bought into the idea that it would be harmful to help their kid with explicit reading instruction. 

 

If someone wants to unschool, fine, research it, and do it.  BUT as a new homeschooler,  do not fall into thinking that it is the de facto way homeschoolers address reading with their kids.   Many of us explicitly teach reading.


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#26 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 03:57 PM
 
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This may seem weird, but my oldest was taught to read in school. Now we are going to homeschool and I have a kindy kid. I keep reading to let him learn to read on his own.  How does that happen? I mean I know reading TO him helps a TON...but do you do sight words and phonics and such too? Or do kids just 'get it' somehow? I remember being frustrated a lot while my oldest learned. 

The original post.  She wanted to know how reading to them leads to reading on his own, whether or not others might help with "phonics" and word recognition, or whether they can learn to read without "sight words and phonics".  

 

Apparently she has had a frustrating experience with "explicit reading instruction" with her oldest and seems to want to try something a bit different, and bit less "schoolish" and academic possibly, and she wants to know how this approach looks in other HOMESCHOOLING families.  Doesn't sound like she is locked into an "unschooling" approach at all.  Doesn't sound like she is afraid of a more explicit approach, just that she wants to try something different.

 

OP, please clarify if I am right?

 

So, let's move past the issues of not reading at 10 or 11 or whatever.  This issue might be a relevant tangent, but it is clearly NOT the main issue here.

 

I'm really not fond of acting based on fear of what happens if I don't.  There are no red flags here, nothing to suggest that fear might have some basis in truth for her child.  Differing opinions and experiences, yes.  Very helpful.


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#27 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 05:12 PM
 
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I apologize for helping to derail the conversation.  I'm working on not getting so fired up every time someone mentions the magic age at which parents should worry their kid can't read.  This is not the place for that debate, and I hope OP gets some of her questions answered.

 

I hope it is appropriate to say, to the question of, "Or do kids just 'get it' somehow?" that in my experience, yes, kids do just get it, but not always in the manner, or time frame, that one would expect of a child in school.

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In regard to the OP:

 

My child is a very private sort of person so literally one day she woke up and wanted to read something to me--and she did!  I was surprised.  I really didn't know how far along she was at that point.  For her, reading followed writing (which is actually the way Waldorf does it anyway, so it fit very well for us).  She loves to write notes and would ask how to spell words and such.  I also have been reading aloud to her since she was a small infant, and she has a natural love of reading and books.  She also has a great memory, so she easily remembers how to spell and recognize words and patterns.  One thing I want to do this year in grade 1 is to focus on spelling as a way to improve her sight-word vocabulary and to further help her with phonics (because some words CAN be very tricky to figure out, and a systematic spelling program will be helpful, I think).  I wouldn't worry about reading until age 8, personally.  For some children, it may not click until later.  Our daughter started recognizing and reading some words before age 2 and then progressed very slowly for a while before she really had a "drive" and the mental infrastructure to want to read more on her own.  Our experience was much like Miranda's in her first post--dd asked questions, and we answered them.


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#29 of 32 Old 07-08-2012, 08:04 PM
 
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I apologize for helping to derail the conversation.  I'm working on not getting so fired up every time someone mentions the magic age at which parents should worry their kid can't read.  This is not the place for that debate, and I hope OP gets some of her questions answered.

 

I hope it is appropriate to say, to the question of, "Or do kids just 'get it' somehow?" that in my experience, yes, kids do just get it, but not always in the manner, or time frame, that one would expect of a child in school.

I apologize too. :)  The process of learning to read is fascinating and the OP's kindergarten age child is probably exhibiting lots of signs, if you know what to look for. I was a linguist before I was a teacher, and I think part of the problem in schools is that a lot of teachers don't understand language.

 

The sounds in English as we hear them are sort of blended together....like if you look at an sound wave of someone talking, you won't see "spaces" in between words. However, when we write and read English, we use specific symbols (letters) to represent sounds. Basically, our written language places somewhat artificial boundaries on the sounds. (we would sound like choppy robots if we talked the way we write). Kids learn language by listening and speaking first, so the first step into literacy is when they begin to be able to distinguish or break apart sounds out of a whole spoken word. They do this when rhyming or playing substitution games like that banana-fanna-fo-fanna song....reading nursery rhymes and singing songs is good practice too. This is one of those things you don't really "teach", it just kind of happens. This is called phonemic awareness.

 

Another step is when kids start realizing that print represents specific words, or print awareness. This happens when they see certain words over and over gain (Stop, exit, their names, etc.), and also when you read the same books over and over again. Again, things that just happen as a course of daily life. That's sometimes called sight words and kids in school are given lists to memorize (bad idea).

 

The phonics part comes in when they see that not only can a set of symbols represent a spoken word they know, but also that patterns exist. STOP starts with the same symbols as START and START looks almost exactly like STAR. Kids are surrounded by print, especially today with texting, email and the internet being communication tool, so often they just start to observe these patterns on their own, but don't really do anything with them. Books with silly rhymes (Dr. Seuss), and alphabet books (I just read a beautiful one called Alison's Zinnia by Anita Lobel - but there are millions of these) provide a lot of practice with this.

 

Then when a child is sufficiently motivated - they want to know "how" to read a book or a magazine or a blog or whatever, and they want to do it independently, they will either just put together all those patterns, or it's a prime time to teach them the "code". Here's a link to the basic sounds (so many vowels! Eek!).http://www.antimoon.com/resources/phonchart2008.pdf  The kid doesn't have to memorize the IPA transcription, this is more for a parent/teacher reference when you are explaining it. I think this is the part where people get bad flashbacks of chanting a apple ah. I don't think there's any magic program or method to teaching this...if a kid wants or needs some explicit instruction, I would just make a flashcard with each English letter or letter combination (for example s would go on a card and sh would go on another card, ai would go on a card and ay would go on another card) and then play around with building words. I also think some kids just sort of bounce through this step and the "code" clicks all at once for them....sounds like there were some responders to this thread who had that experience themselves or with their own kids. 

 

Next comes fluency, where kids get excited that they know what the words mean and they read more and more and their reading gets better and better. If you want to provide instruction at this point, choose short passages and have them practice reading them over and over again. Bible verses could work well for this, if you are so inclined, or poetry, song lyrics, passages from favorite books, speeches, famous quotes. 

 

That's really just the tip of the iceberg with reading. You aren't really reading unless you comprehend what you read and all of us know that comprehension is a variable factor...I comprehend astrophysics textbooks in a much different way than professional journals in my field or literature that I enjoy. So, it's not like you reach this "peak" of comprehension at some point and then you are a master reader. It's something that ebbs and flows throughout your entire life and depends on your motivation to get through material or your prior exposure to the topic. I think it's helpful to young readers to know this about adults...that we don't always exactly comprehend what we read, have to read it over again, or just put down that book because we didn't enjoy the style.

 

In my opinion, the place where schools have really gone downhill over the past ten years is the lack of rich content in what they are reading and in the experiences that a lot of kids come to school with. Kids have a far easier time "learning to read" when they know things about the world, when they have listened to stories, observed different kinds of tree leaves in the woods, have become knowledgeable about a hobby, or do real world things like purchase items in stores or farm or volunteer at an animal shelter. We don't have "time" for all that nonsense in school, but homeschoolers sure do! 

 

So, lady1297, keep doing what you're doing, and don't worry about getting to formal with the other parts. I hope your experience with this child will be much less frustrating than with your first.

 

Hope my explanation was somewhat helpful and not too wordy. 

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#30 of 32 Old 07-09-2012, 04:26 AM
 
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Reading to your child and discussing the story helps comprehension.

I disagree that I use phonetics. A group of letters is a symbol, just different than what most may think.

I think the important points are -- reading to/with your child is beneficial (even after reading is learned), and a gentle 'teaching' approach may help. Just be aware of signs that you are making reading a chore and back off for a while if you see them. We played a homemade "Wheel of Fortune" game when my son had some reading ability, and he enjoyed it. Did it help teach reading? I don't know, but it kept language and letters in front of him in a fun way.
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