If you have been reading this blog for some time, you’d know that reading is a favorite bonding activity in our family. I have been reading books to Aki since he was 2 months old. At first, he was only interested in chewing the pages but in a few months, he grew more interested in the pictures and the stories. When Aki was a baby, reading to him relaxed him and set the mood for a good night sleep. When he was a young toddler who was not talking yet unlike his peers, reading books about animals and the sounds that they make, inspired him to copy the sounds. As he grew older, reading to Aki made him more and more imaginative and creative. Now as a preschooler, Aki wants to read the books by himself.
When he started identifying the the beginning sounds and the beginning letter of words correctly (I did not teach him this by the way. Special thanks to Aki’s teachers in his toddler class),I took that as a sign that he is ready to learn to read.
I re-read my Guess Who is Talking Now book. This book suggested that we start with Dolch words. I initially wanted to teach Aki how to read syllables and later on how to string them together. However, English is much more complicated compared to Filipino. So many rules to memorize and there are so many exemptions. So, Dolch it is for us.
Here is how I teach him how to memorize the pronunciation of words
Every 2-4 days, I introduce him to 2-4 new words. I write the words in yellow stock paper. I use small caps since most of the words that he will need to read are not in capital letters. First, I read to the word. Then, I ask him to spell the words. Next, he traces the letters in the air. Sometimes, I give him some clues like “no” plus “t” is “not”. Lastly, my favorite part is asking Aki to use the new words in a sentence. See the list of his funny sentences here. To make learning fun, aside from Dolch words, Aki learns a new word of his choice. Some of the words that he chose are dragon, dinosaur, Mommy, minion and Whispering Death.
Every day, we set aside some 10 minutes to review. When we review, he reads the words on my DIY flashcards, If he reads correctly, he gets to “save” the flashcard which means I put the word back in our pouch. At the end of the review, we re-read the words that he missed to read correctly. To add a fun twist, sometimes I flash the cards upside down. This never fails to make Aki giggle. Also, instead of flashing the cards, I sometimes ask Aki to close his eyes as he picks a card. I also noticed that Aki likes to be constantly moving when he is learning. Maybe that’s why he hates writing. When we are reviewing, he is on his car, he running or he’s jumping on the sofa. It used to irritate me but I realized that is how I can keep him interested.
On weekends, I try to come up with games related to reading. I blogged about the treasure hunt, here.
Instead of just reading words, sometimes I come up with sentences that he needs to read. Once he’s read a sentence correctly, he can rearrange the words. He rearranged the last sentence into: My funny dragon is a whispering death. 😛
While seeing Aki so proud of himself as he reads, is deeply satisfying, I am not exactly looking forward to the day when he becomes a proficient reader. One of my fears is that he will love reading so much that he won’t want me to read for him anymore. That’s the story of parenthood, right? We work hard to teach them the skills that they need so that one day, they can stand on their own feet and not need us.