About two months ago I started teaching Rylan to read. I hadn’t planned to start so early, but Rylan was showing a real interest in wanting to learn. My sister had just given me a hand-me-down “Hooked on Phonics” kindergarten level set, so I decided, why not give it a try, if he is keen we will continue, if not we can try again later.
Well, he loved it! First lesson (about 10 minutes long) and he was reading words ALL BY HIMSELF! I was amazed! By the end of two days he read the first book in the Hooked on Phonics series. But by the end of the week both he and I were weary of the Hooked on Phonics programme, we gave up on the CD after two lessons, and cut way back on the use of the yellow book. The process definitely works, but it is boring and a little tedious…so even though we still use the materials a little, we are kind of working through it in our own way.
I have used a little Montessori, especially the moveable alphabet for spelling words. Phonics from other sources, including workbooks (I will talk about workbooks in another post), and lots of games. Learning should be fun, and in that vein I created a bunch of word cards (this was a first set, but we have added many more as Rylan’s reading ability has expanded). Some of the games we have played with these cards include charades, storytelling (picking several cards out of a bag and then telling a story with them), and find it in the house (read the card, and find the object in the house to “label” it). The point of all the games is that Rylan has to read a card in order to take his turn, so he is doing reading practice while having fun.
And fun it has been…Rylan is reading basic readers now, like “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss, sometimes takes over from me when I am reading board books to Damian, and surprises me every day by reading a word I had no idea he could read – today it was “respect”. Of course, all of this learning is based on a solid foundation and reinforced by daily reading with Mom and Dad. Rylan has always loved books and reading. When he was younger we would spend almost half our day curled up, reading picture and board books. Life no longer allows that much reading time, but we still manage to read for at least 45 minutes every morning and Dad reads bed time stories at night. I think this time has been the greatest contribution in his process of learning to read.