Learning to read- What was your child's comprehension when you first started? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-19-2014, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS1 is 5.5. He knows all his letter sounds and has for a while. He was getting bored with reviewing the letter sounds & wanted to start learning to read/ blending. I have Phonics Pathways & Alpha Phonics. I decided to go with Alpha Phonics based on its reviews and approach.

We did lesson 1 on Monday & 2 today. Lesson 1 starts off blending "a" with letters m, n, s, t & x to make the words am, an, as, at & ax. Today they added to the beginning of each word to make larger words, Sam, man, has, sat & tax.

I'm just not sure DS really understood it. He gets that letters= sounds which = words, but putting it into practice was a whole different ball game. He would sound out each letter, usually so slowly that there was no way he could put it together in his head, but even when the word practically rolled off his tongue, he didn't realize he was saying a word until I repeated/said it. (Though he did a tiny bit better with the harsher sounding consonants t & x.)

Is this normal? Do they essentially just say the letter sounds until one day it clicks? I wasn't expecting him to be reading the words after 1 day or anything, but I thought there'd be more comprehension in his eyes. Today there was only confusion. Basically, I'm not sure if I should keep going with this or if he's just not ready.

Thanks for you're insight!!

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Old 03-19-2014, 12:36 PM
 
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I'm going/went through the same thing with my 5 year old. When we first started having her sound out words (after she knew all of her letters and sounds) she would go so incredibly slow and couldn't actually put the two sounds together to make the word. But ever since we started she has been progressing. It just takes time. But I just wanted to tell you not to give up it just takes time and to make sure that it doesn't become frustrating for you/him. If it does, take a break smile.gif

We aren't religious about teaching our daughter, but we work with her about 2-3 times a week. I believe it's been about a month or two and she can figure out words like 'cat' and change the beginning letter and recognize the new word, ie mat, hat, bat, etc
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:31 PM
 
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I think it just takes time for kids to tie it all together. Between sounding it out, all the different sounds and (then the NEW sounds of the combinations) and then all of the words that don't sound like they are spelled anyway, it's a lot to figure out. And that is just decoding, not comprehension! However, I think one day it does just "click" and once they get it they are off (barring reading disabilities). At the beginning of this school year, DD1 wasn't reading a lot and gave up easily. But it seemed like over the winter, something just clicked  and now she is reading like crazy and figuring out new words all the time on her own. One thing that helped us was Teach your Child to REad in 100 easy lessons. It doesn't work for everybody but by Lesson 55 (thereabouts) DD was reading. But I don't think you need any special curriculum, just time.


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Old 03-19-2014, 11:27 PM
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It can take awhile.  You can help the blending skills by playing a sound game.  This can be done in the car.  Take a three sound word, like dog and say each sound separately  /d/   /o/    /g/.  Try really hard to have clear, distinct sounds.  Then, your child will try to "guess" your word.  Take turns, let him/her stretch a word and you will "guess" what it is.  When it was my turn, I would exaggerate the blending aspect.  As it gets easier, you can do four sound words, etc.  Note I say sound, not letters.  Therefore, "shy" is two sounds /sh/ and /i/.  If three sounds are too much at first, go with two sounds.  By removing the letters from the equation, you work on blending skills only.  With the letters, the child has to first remember which sound goes with each letter (or letter team) and then try to push them all together.  This little game in the car helped my kids a bunch.  They were soon able to stretch and squish words together.  It also helped later with spelling because they were so good at separating sounds within a word.  

 

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Old 03-20-2014, 08:10 AM
 
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That sounds normal, based on what I saw with my kids. They're both very bright and learned to sound out words at an early age, but even so it took them a surprisingly (to me) long time to learn to put together separate sounds and recognize the word they made.  To an adult, the concept seems so obvious that you'd think a single quick demonstration would be enough to get the idea across, but it wasn't nearly as obvious to my kids as I thought it would be. I demonstrated it for them myself first and it took multiple sessions of hearing me make three sounds, gradually making them closer and closer together, and finally blending them to make a word before they got the idea and could recognize what the word was going to be just from hearing me make the separate sounds.  If you've only had two lessons, it doesn't seem at all surprising to me that your kid isn't getting it yet.  I would just repeat those lessons, and/or play around with blending as AAK suggests, until he does get it.

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Old 03-21-2014, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I appreciate it so much. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing it too soon and that this was a normal part of the process. We'll keep going at it. :)


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Old 03-21-2014, 11:41 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I appreciate it so much. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing it too soon and that this was a normal part of the process. We'll keep going at it. :)

 

For what it's worth, I think this blending ability tends to settle in with a click at some point, and that there's little point in persisting with instruction in this skill if the click doesn't come pretty readily. Yes, it's totally normal for kids to go through a stage when they're not capable of blending sounds in their minds and getting sense out of them. The question is really whether you believe they need to be instructed to get past that stage, or whether it's a developmental thing. I'm more of the unschooling persuasion, and if my kids were unable to blend sounds it was a sign to me that any parent-guided instruction was probably best delayed until there was more neuro-developmental readiness. In my experience when the ability to blend sounds did click the acquisition of reading was thereafter speedy and efficient and proceeded almost despite me rather than because of anything I did. 

 

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Old 03-21-2014, 02:35 PM
 
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For what it's worth, I think this blending ability tends to settle in with a click at some point, and that there's little point in persisting with instruction in this skill if the click doesn't come pretty readily. Yes, it's totally normal for kids to go through a stage when they're not capable of blending sounds in their minds and getting sense out of them. The question is really whether you believe they need to be instructed to get past that stage, or whether it's a developmental thing. I'm more of the unschooling persuasion, and if my kids were unable to blend sounds it was a sign to me that any parent-guided instruction was probably best delayed until there was more neuro-developmental readiness. In my experience when the ability to blend sounds did click the acquisition of reading was thereafter speedy and efficient and proceeded almost despite me rather than because of anything I did. 

Miranda
I'm a new homeschoolers, but I taught first grade and have a charter-schooled first grader. I strongly agree with Miranda.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:22 PM
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For what it's worth, I think this blending ability tends to settle in with a click at some point, and that there's little point in persisting with instruction in this skill if the click doesn't come pretty readily. Yes, it's totally normal for kids to go through a stage when they're not capable of blending sounds in their minds and getting sense out of them. The question is really whether you believe they need to be instructed to get past that stage, or whether it's a developmental thing. I'm more of the unschooling persuasion, and if my kids were unable to blend sounds it was a sign to me that any parent-guided instruction was probably best delayed until there was more neuro-developmental readiness. In my experience when the ability to blend sounds did click the acquisition of reading was thereafter speedy and efficient and proceeded almost despite me rather than because of anything I did. 

 

Miranda

Quite possibly this is true for most kids.  My second is dyslexic, and she did need extra help.  The little car game that I mentioned helped her a bunch, and it felt like a game to her.  Then, my youngest started asking for the game so it persisted for a while.  I imagine that most kids wouldn't "need" more instruction, but learning things through games if often fun regardless. 

 

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Old 03-21-2014, 05:26 PM
 
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I guess nearly every skill can be learned more quickly as kids get older.  Tying shoes, for instance.  If you waited to teach a kid how to tie shoes until he was 10, I bet it would take a lot less instruction than it usually does for a 6 year old.  But that doesn't mean 6 is too young to learn.  A two year old, though, probably isn't going to be able to learn no matter how much instruction you give him.  It's easy to say the 2 year old isn't developmentally ready, but how do you decide when a kid has reached developmental readiness?  Is it at the age where almost no instruction is necessary?  The age where instruction first has some reasonable chance of sinking in?  Or some point in between?  And how much does it matter whether or not the kid starts learning right at the optimal age?  I don't know the answers to those questions.

 

If your kid doesn't grasp blending right away it could because you're trying to do the equivalent of teaching shoe tying to a 2 year old, in which case you should stop and wait until the kid is older.  Or it could be because you're trying to do the equivalent of teaching shoe tying to a 6 year old, in which case it's going to take a little time and instruction but you might as well keep going with it as long as you and your kid aren't getting too frustrated.  I don't think you necessarily need to wait until your kid grasps it so easily that it's like teaching shoe tying to a 10 year old.  (I don't know how long you need to keep at it before deciding your kid isn't ready to get it, but I think it's too early to decide that now.)

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Old 03-21-2014, 05:38 PM
 
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  (I don't know how long you need to keep at it before deciding your kid isn't ready to get it, but I think it's too early to decide that now.)

It's hard to know because kids are so different.  For some of our kids, the feedback is almost immediate and the length of time wondering which end we are working at is infinitesimal.  

 

I also think that, unlike shoetying, there are *so* many different approaches to learning to read, that if I personally encountered complete confusion more than once or twice, I'd likely change my approach for a while instead of persisting.  For example, some kids, like my oldest, build their reading skill "downwards"--reading by sight then slowly building up familiarity with things like blends.  Building "upwards" can seem confusing and, secondly, doesn't "get on" with reading!  Kids like my daughter are first using the broadest "brush strokes", then filling in the details later once they get the big picture.


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Old 03-21-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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I guess nearly every skill can be learned more quickly as kids get older.  Tying shoes, for instance.  If you waited to teach a kid how to tie shoes until he was 10, I bet it would take a lot less instruction than it usually does for a 6 year old.  But that doesn't mean 6 is too young to learn.  

 

Point taken. However I have noticed that in the absence of learning disabilities the point at which enjoyable reading fluency is attained doesn't seem to be hastened when kids are consistently instructed during their early literacy learning stages. The "average" unschooled kid I see seems to become a fluent reader who enjoys reading for pleasure around age 8-9. The "average" school child who gets ongoing literacy instruction from KG or even Pre-K seems to become a fluent reader who enjoys reading for pleasure around age 8-9. What is different in the latter case is that the child has spent three or four years doing a lot of work in that difficult stage of not-quite-reading.

 

Learning to tie laces is a relatively simple task that might take three weeks for a 6-year-old and 10 minutes for a 10-year-old. The point of mastery will be reached years earlier by the kid who was instructed at 6 and I do see that as strong point in favour of early instruction: the independence it affords, and the sense of accomplishment can really buoy up a 6-year-old. I don't see the same pattern in learning to read, since the attainment of mastery of literacy can be such a lengthy and complex process for many kids when instruction continues despite them not readily grasping what they're being taught.

 

Obviously there's a lot of variation in individual kids as well as parental educational philosophies. And I don't think one or two days of failure at blending sounds is enough to throw in the towel especially if the child is still keen and interested. By all means, try breaking things down, try a game or two, mix things up, give it a few more tries over the next little while. I just think that if the skill doesn't come fairly readily, I wouldn't persist with that particular approach at this particular time. 

 

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Old 03-21-2014, 08:10 PM
 
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I agree with the unschoolers. I've goofed around with my kids, showing them.things here and there, giving them things to ponder, but not taught them to read. One day, it does just click.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:22 PM
 
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My kindergartner isn't getting the whole blending thing either. We are using oak meadow though which dosent even have that in the curriculum yet. This is from trying to do some easy readers with her. She gets the letter sounds but dosent put them together yet though she has memorized some words. At this point I'm not concerned about it.
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:04 AM
 
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Dd2 is desperate to read, and just turned 5. She's been bugging.me for well over a year to teach her, so every now and then, I show her a little, but she's just not ready. Well, last night, we were talking about how to sound out a word. She makes the sounds separately, and then has a hard time blending them into one word. So, I told her to sing it. She understood that, and was suddenly sounding out words just fine. I thought I would sharen the hopes it would help someone else.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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I remember "reading lessons".  DD1 would want a reading lesson, so we just sat down and read like usual.  I might sound out a word, or have her try to read a word, but it was basically just a story.  But for her, it was a "reading lesson".  She was an extremely hard-headed learner, so I had to offer very small bites to chew on.  But I wasn't teaching her the concept, she understood the concept already but lacked the patience and wouldn't allow herself to make mistakes.  The sorry excuse for "rules" in English confounded her as well, and we made some excellent progress when we read some Spanish books together.  Now *those* are rules!!  Reading those sentences aloud gave her great confidence, and I could hear her relief and joy as she sounded words out.

 

But all-in-all, these were little 5 minute snippets of assistance.  Her best motivation came from reading comics collections and graphic novels (she can have a mature taste in stories).  Garfield was the best:  "AAIIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!"  "GLORP!"  "HUZZAH!"  Silly non-words in silly scenarios.  DD2 used to like to arrange the letters of her wooden alphabet puzzle out on the floor ("polkijhguytrfedwsqazxcmnbv") and have me attempt to sound it out ("pole-keej(h)guy-terfed-wuskaz-eks-(k)-mun-buv").  So, so silly.

 

We made it fun, for the most part.  We marveled over the craziness of English pronunciation vs. spelling, they giggled when I'd mispronounce something (like the nursery rhyming of "good" and "food", which did rhyme once upon a time but now makes for some silliness at storytime.)  They'd get positive feedback if they came up pronouncing a word by the wrong rules.  What started out as little snippets of 5 minutes in a week grew until I was listening to them read books to *me*.  Confidence took quite a while to kick start, but once it took hold, it grew quickly.  


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Old 03-25-2014, 06:45 PM
 
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Figuring out how to blend sounds doesn't necessarily mean they're ready, either.  I have a 5 year-old who's been able to blend sounds to sound out short phonetic words for literally two YEARS. And hasn't got any farther than that. He won't try to read more than 2 words together, and gets tripped up by anything that doesn't follow the simple phonetics perfectly.  Which is fine, of course. I haven't pushed him at all, or tried to teach him anything beyond just answering questions as they come up.

 

I think probably whether your kid is still interested in the lessons is your best guide.  Does he sees it as an interesting challenge, or just frustrating and confusing? Does he really want to learn to read, or is he just bored reviewing letter sounds?

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:39 PM
 
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It can take a while for it to click....my son only started reading very well maybe first semester of 2nd grade...last winter.  I used several programs...Reading Lesson being the one we settled on.  The Reading Eggs program really helped him as well, although it can be price.  Keep working with him as much as you can...daily if possible...15 mins or so.  If he isn't really interested...just back off for a while and keep reading to him.  Pick it up down the road


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Old 03-27-2014, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. I haven't been on since my reply and have so many more responses and they are all great thoughts. So much to think about.

Update for us: we've done a few more lessons & he already seems to be getting it more, so we will keep at it for now.

I will definitely watch though to make sure that we continue only if his interest level is there and he still seems ready and wanting. I will also try to make it more fun, versus just following the book.

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