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Monday, October 13, 2008

Teach Your Child to Read!

Did you know the English language is the largest language on earth? I have friends from other countries who had to learn English. All of them have told me that English was the most difficult language for them to learn (and some of them speak several languages). That is because our language has so many rules-- rules which break themselves far too often, plus words that sound alike but don't look alike along with words that look alike, but sound different.

Your children are probably already halfway there if they have a great vocabulary. It may take a while for them to read, but pressuring them doesn't help. The best thing we can do for our children is read to them often, DAILY, and hold meaningful conversations with them throughout the day to build their vocabularies and their love of reading.

One way to help your child get into reading is to give them small successes that spur them on to learn more. By teaching them six letters (over 3-6 weeks), they can get a taste for reading without knowing the whole alphabet! The best way to do this is to teach them a different letter each week. Instead of teaching them the name of the letter, teach the sound of the letter (phonics).

Try these six letters: B,C, H, S, T, and A. Instead of teaching them all the sounds of these letters, just teach the main, most common sound. (Remember, C sometimes sounds like an S, and A has quite a few sounds. There is no need to teach your child this yet.) The sound you will use for A is the same sound as in apple and cat.

Here's what one week might look like:
- Point out the letter B. Make the sound for letter B, not the name of it.
- Look through a book or magazine, or go on a walk and point out things that start with the B sound. You can even walk through your house pointing out these things. Call it a treasure hunt for the B sound!
- Have your child trace the letter B (written as large as a single piece of paper) with his or her finger.
- Write the letter B on a piece of paper (with or without lines) and have your child trace it with a pencil, then try to draw it himself. Don't worry about the size of his letter, just make sure he draws the letter in the right direction (most letters start at the top and go down) and is writing left to right. Do this daily.
- Keep talking about the sound it makes, and what words start with that sound or have that sound in it.

Each week, use a different letter, until you get to the letter A. With the letter A, you will talk about words like bat, cat, hat, mat, at, etc that have the letter A in it.

Now your child might be ready to read. Test the waters by writing out a short story like this. (Feel free to use this one):


You might even want to draw (or cut out) some pictures of a cat with a baseball bat to make it more stimulating for your child. The stories do not need to be long (or even make a lot of sense). The point is your child can easily read these stories and will feel SO excited she can! This is a big accomplishment in her eyes and will have her eager to learn more.

If you don't already have a few Dr. Suess books, you may want to purchase or borrow a few. They're great starter books for new readers.

1 comment:

Lance said...

Good tips. It is just great to watch kids progress through the process of becoming literate. And then to see the beam in their eyes once the "light goes on" their heads when they can start to read on their own is just awesome.

Thanks for the blog link, btw. God bless,