Joseph learned his ABC's in the typical fashion: singing, alphabet puzzles, dvd's, ABC poster (not the exact one we have)
Joseph learned the letter sounds primarily from Leap Frog: Letter Factory. I reinforced by using the All About Reading - Pre-Reading Level. Once that was complete it was time to take the leap to blending sounds and reading words. And that's where we are now.
I've found the best way to entice new readers is to teach them to read their name. Name crafts and games are fun. One thing I've done with Joe is write each letter of his first name on a milk jug cap. Then trace the caps on a piece of paper. Write each letter of his name in a traced cap. Then let him match the milk jug caps to the paper. This reinforces letter placement and helps them read their name from left to right. We also make name signs for his bedroom door. Whenever we go into his room together I point, slide my finger under the letters and say his name. If I see his name in print somewhere else I point it out. Maybe it's the author of a book we're reading, or the cashiers name at the store, I point it out to him. Since we just put up our Christmas tree yesterday, I think this tree name craft will be fun for Joseph (and Peter and Maria, too).
Once they can identify their name consistently, it's time to start putting CVC words together and attempt reading.
Again, Joseph is so visual that DVD's really help. Another Leap Frog dvd we like is Leap Frog: Talking Words Factory. I'm also following the All About Reading - Level 1 program.
A series of pictures during one of our reading lessons will show best what exactly we do. The Level 1 reading lessons are too long to complete in one sitting with Joseph. I also like to review the material heavily before moving on. Initially, I planned on two short reading sessions a day, but for reasons I can't account for (yeah right) we can only get in one session a day. At our current rate we'll finish up Level 1 around Joe's 11th birthday (at present he's 7). I think we better pick up the pace a bit. I'll narrate the following pictures to give you an idea of how a reading sessions goes.
Amber begins taking pictures as we start on a Fluency Practice sheet. These are all short (a) words. We only read one line a day, about 7 words. At the time of these pictures, one line took about 25 minutes to read. Notice my proximity to Joe as the lesson progresses.
As you can see, he's a bit distracted by my arm. I decide to clear away the counter clutter, hoping his focus will improve.
He pointed, but also got distracted by the camera.
Lost it again. Completely into the camera. I'm getting somewhat annoyed at this point.
He's sliding his finger, he's sounding out the word, we're on a roll.
I can actually see his mouth making the (a) sound. I'm pleased again.
Oh no! He's looking away again. I'm getting a little closer to him. My voice is bit stronger, too.
I can't take it. I had to intervene and grab his finger to help him with the pointing. We're still reading the first word.
Now I get out the word viewer. It's a little laminated card with an open rectangle in the middle. It isolates the word or phrase they are reading. Again, we're trying to eliminate any possible distractions. Is it working?
That camera young lady must be quite entertaining.
Yes! He just read tap. I like to relate each word to something tangible if possible. In this case he's tapping the counter with his pointer finger. While he taps, I say "tap, tap". Then I point to the word again and say tap.
Moving on to the next word. I'm moving even closer to him because, you know, the closer you are to a new reader, the better they read.
He just read dad, which happens to be his favorite person in the world.
If we know the sign, we sign it for reinforcement. He's signing dad.
Moving in even closer. He was signing all done and trying to get down. We still have more words to read.
He read tag so I'm letting him look at the tag in my shirt. Again, for reinforcement. With Joe it's not just reading the words, but making sure he understands that these words have meaning.
It's official. He's done! See his slumped shoulders and hands down low. That's his signal that no way, no how is going to read another word. So we wrap up the reading session and take it up the next day. I always let him put a sticker at the end of the row he just read.
This is just one portion of the All About Reading Level 1 program. It also includes practicing phonograms, rhyming words, identifying consonants and vowels, word families, and more we haven't even gotten to yet. I love this program. It's laid out in an easy step-by-step fashion allowing a busy mom like me to grab the bag and get to work. There are many other great reading programs on the market; I've even used some of them. However, the All About Reading programs have worked well for me now that I'm homeschooling kids in so many grades because the teacher prep is so minimal. And it works, too.
For those of you that stuck with me to the end....WOW! that was a long post.
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