This post is two fold.
The 1st is a plug for this great reading program , ‘Teach your child to read in a 100 easy lessons.’
I started going through this book with Halle when she turned 4 and was I ever amazed that she breezed right through it in about 3 months (she would actually read ahead & cover future lessons on her own!) Know that Halle’s propensity for reading was her main advantage here (and it was not something Rob and I did to equip her with), it was just something innate within her. And although I don’t think this book can afford all children turning 4 the ability to read, I do believe it offers very effective tools and methods to teach reading. So that when kids are ready, parents can work with them in a program that turns them into beginning readers. I just often wonder how early in life was Halle ready? Could I have started sooner???
Children reading at three would be amazing, but that is something I was certain wasn’t in the mental capacity for Dee and Gracie : ) They are so different from Halle (and from each other) and I didn’t think they were ready to start even when they turned 4, back in July. It wasn’t until this December that I pulled the book out for them, to get a feel for their readiness and desire. And because they both seemed intrigued, I decided to begin. With some areas of education, I think the girls can learn in a group setting. But with reading, I really see the effectiveness of working individually with them. So (like I did with Halle) I have been going through the lessons one on one with each of them before their nap time. And I let them set the pace; if it is ever not fun, we put the book aside and just read stories together. It is a very different experience with each one of them, and I am aware that Dee and Gracie (and Halle) have very different learning styles, but I love that I get to share this with them! That same feeling of elation I felt when I saw my children roll over for the first time or take their first steps is what I also get to experience when the girls are learning new sounds and then words! There is much delight to see their faces light up when they get it!!!
With Dee and Gracie, I know I need to supplement a bit more activities with these lessons to help them truly understand the sounds we are learning and then how they are grouped together for words. It challenges me to make these lessons fun and engaging for the girls (in ways I did not need to do for Halle) so that they are excited about learning. With Halle, a daily 10 minute lesson was all she needed; and what she learned one day remained in her understanding permanently. But with Dee and Gracie, we take longer to go through the lessons and they don’t always remember the sounds we have gone over in previous lessons. Since math flash cards are an effective way Halle and I go over addition and subtraction concepts, I thought it might be fun to have some sound flashcards for Dee and Gracie to help with their reading.
Yesterday at the table, I started writing the sounds we have covered on individual index cards (the book follows the Distar program for reading where the focus is much on the concept of sounds -not on letters). We then talked about also adding a picture of something that starts with that same sound onto the cards, to help them visually. I loved that they all wanted to help draw pictures on the cards – they were being very creative with the images they came up with.
But my biggest joy (and the main reason for this post) came when Halle told me she had a surprise for me and the ‘mmm’ sound.
This was her card
I love it! And it was particularly special to me because this Sunday, Rob and I are celebrating our 12 year wedding anniversary. Halle showed me such honor by choosing to draw Rob and me getting married for our little ‘mmm’ flash card – truly wonderful!