Monday, June 10, 2013

Early Reading at home

I have an almost 4 year old who is starting to get interested in reading. She says she wants to learn how to read so I have been working with her a little bit to get her ready to really learn to read. I am a big believer in going at a child's pace and not pushing them. Learning at this age should be enjoyable and fun, not forced at all. One thing I have started doing with her is reading a story I know has a lot of a certain letter. Today we read a bird book. So I gave her a block with the letter B on it.She traced the B with her hands, lower and upper case. We made B sounds and I told her to listen for the letter b. When the letter was prominent like in bluebird I pointed it out to her. We also love the Curious George Learns the Alphabet Book. It is so wonderfully illustrated and she has for a while learned to associate letters with certain words and sounds, like S-snail or T-tomahawk We are going slow, working on a letter every few days. This gives it time to sink in and helps so it doesn't feel so school like. I want my children to crave learning, love it and really want to learn. Not think of learning as some passive experience where they are drilled with flash cards and words. While this might help an older child learn, a child who is not even 4, yes it can be taught to them, but at what consequence? And are they truly learning it or just repeating blindly like a parrot? If she is reading at 4 she will be a young reader, but I have seen it pushed on kids even younger. But do children really younger than 4 understand phonemes and language rules? This is even hard for a 4 year old to grasp which is why I am going slow with her and teaching phonics. She already has picked up some sight words but over and over again I read how the combination of whole reading and phonics the best way for a child to become a great reader. Maybe tomorrow we will read the Cat in the Hat and work on C, or maybe if the rain clears we will spend the day in the sun, digging in the dirt and listening to the cicadas. That is the wonderful thing about this age and learning at home, no pressure, just love and enjoyment.

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