Now that our 3rd homeschooling year has completed, the teaching continues just as well, just not for as long each day.
I was impressed by how well Leto learned how to read when he was 4. He does a great job reading some tough words at 6 without a problem (he just finished 1st grade). I try to use some of the same methods of teaching phonics that I used with Leto for my current 4 year old Micah, who is just beginning his reading journey. He is more visual than his brother, so I have to make sure I use a lot of pretty images to teach him!
In case you are trying to find ways of teaching your children how to read, I thought I’d give a few pointers or at least what has worked so far in our home. Keep in mind, every child learns in a different way, and some methods won’t work for every single child. Teaching a child to read takes a lot of time and a load of patience. I remember how annoying and tough it was to teach Leto how to read at times, but it was well worth all those long hours of work! Parenting in general is a challenge, but teaching a child to read is a challenge on top of that.
1. Letter Pronunciation: Make sure your child knows how to pronounce each letter and each different sound that the letter can make. You’ll have to teach things like how an Aa makes the long Aa sound and the short Aa sound. Something that helped both of my boys learn this more easily, was simply having them watch this and this DVD at least 3 times a week. I then go over the letters with them to make sure they know the sounds each makes. Once they understand what sounds letters make, it will be so much easier for them to learn how to read!
2. Putting Sounds Together: I am currently working on this with Micah, and I remember it took a few weeks for Leto to adjust to. I simply write down various letters and go over their sounds with my child. As an example I’ll write down: a, ab, ad, am, an, and the list continues with Aa. I will do this for 3 letters at a time, so A-C are first. ex: b, ba, be, bo, bi, bu, c, ca, ce, co, etc. You’ll have to go over this same list for the same letters within the same week, possibly adding more letters as you go, and deducting letters they have a good understanding of. This really will take the longest amount of time. You’ll have to make sure they sound out each letter slowly and then try to speed it up. What can you use to help this out? Starfall was the most fun for Leto, and has various games you can play. I’d spend 15-30 minutes a day on that site with him. Also apps that Micah likes to play on the tablet are Kids Learn to Read (pictured below) and ABC Phonics Game. Also we just started to play Boggle Jr. (pictured above) which can teach them how to recognize words, sound the letters out and blend them, and eventually memorize words enough to spell them without the word showing. I’m also going to use Kumon this summer to help Micah out.
3. Reading Words & Sentences: A lot of people recommend Bob books, which are a good help. Alpha Omega Horizons helped Leto learn how to read and spell so well at age 4 & 5, and I am hoping it will do the same for Micah. It has worksheets, gives you ways to help teach your child to read, and has books for them to read to you. This took a lot of time since Leto was a slow reader when he started out, but he improved so greatly after a few months! It is pricey, but I had purchased it at a discount and I get to use it twice (I printed the worksheets out so I could use them again for Micah). I have seen great results from using this curriculum in homeschooling. I only recommend this for if you are an actual homeschooling parent. Use the Bob books if you want to help your child learn while they are learning in school on top of that. After this step, you’ll see your child probably picking up books to read on their own regularly. It is really wonderful to see.