Thursday, May 12, 2011

Starting Down the Reading Road

M has been asking to learn to read.  Oh my.  I’m not sure how I feel about this. 

I know I can teach him, and I know he can learn… but I’m in no hurry to have him reading on his own.  There is so much out there that he is just not ready to comprehend in a healthy way.  I honestly don’t believe that reading at such an early age gives a child any sort of a real advantage in the big scheme of things. 

But, but, but I also want to encourage his love of learning and since this is what he’s interested in right now, we are slowly, slooooowly starting down that road. 

He already knows a handful of words and can pick them out when he sees them – dog, cat, Mommy, Daddy, on, off, of, no, go, pizza (haha). 

One thing we’ve been doing, and it’s a lot of fun, is carefully listening to the separate sounds in words.  For example, I’ll tell M to r—u—n to the w—i—n—d—ow (speaking very, very slowly, and clearly making each distinct sound), and he has to put the sounds all together and do what I say.  He loves this; at first it was a challenge, but he’s enjoyed it so much as he’s gotten better at it!  It’s a game to him, and something we can do just about anywhere, anytime… t—ou—ch  your n—o—se, and that sort of thing.

We did the same thing with the group of objects below:phonics #3Find the b—oy, s—u—n, t—ur—t—le, etc.  When he’s done a few of these then it’s his turn to sound something out for me and see if I can pick the right thing.  This is harder than it sounds – he has a, let’s say, interesting way of sounding some things out, haha.  But it’s a great way to get him thinking about how individual sounds make up words!  He already knows which letters make many of the sounds.

I also picked up the first set of Bob Books at our library.  I think M will really like these.  I like how simple they are, and while I have heard that the line drawings don’t appeal to some children, I think they will to M.

There are a couple of online programs that I looked into… 

Progressive phonics is a free program, and gets a lot of good reviews, but I was irritated that in the earliest books the names are not capitalized.  This is probably a minor pet peeve, but M already knows that beginnings of sentences and names use “mama” letters.  I don’t understand the idea of not using proper grammar right from the start.  I also didn’t like the idea of having to print out all the books. 

Reading lessons is another free program, created by the same person who created the Kididdles website, which we love.  However, as the program progress, it uses printable books from the Reading A to Z website, which requires a paid membership.  It does offer options to this, but nothing that I found very realistic for us.

And, like I said, I’m in no hurry to have M fluently reading everything he sees!  So for now this is enough for us.

If you know of something we might enjoy down the road, I’d love to hear about it in the comments – thank you!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. I thought K would like Bob Books but hated them. Same with Progressive Phonics! I just read a lot of books to her and she learned to read. She liked Mo Willems books, Dr. Seuss, princess fairy books, and Magic Treehouse series. Because she loves to read, she's now even reading Little House in the Big Woods by herself. Be careful, once the reading clicks, it really takes off!

  2. Ha - I love that he knows pizza! You might like Ruth Beechick's The 3 R's. Very common sense, low pressure, "natural" style. I've also heard good things about Reading Made Easy and Explode the Code. But I have no personal experience teaching reading so take all suggestions with a grain of salt!

  3. I just started Teach Me To Read Thursdays on my blog and would love for you to link up!

  4. How exciting. As you know, we used Progressive Phonics quite successfully. I do believe that early reading (if it's self-initiated) is very useful - it's not accidental that reading is called "watering the mind". And it gives us nice rest break in the middle of the day on weekends when Anna reads and we take a nap :)

  5. I use Brillkids Little Reader for my youngest daughter. She loves it. Its not free but if you can't afford it they do have a foundation program where they will offer Little Reader for free or at lost cost. If you go to their website just click on foundation and you'll see it on the right hand side under Let Us Help.
    It truely is a fun program to use , but warning: Kids do learn to read from it. LOL.

    You could also look into Headsprout too. I used this with my 3rd daughter and its really fun.

  6. Good luck!! We definitely have problems occasionally, now that Sam can read so early. But would it be better for him to be reading bathroom walls at 6 instead of 4? It's always going to be appalling! :) The process is so exciting though. I have loved watching each new stage of Crumpet's on the reading journey - you will love it!

  7. What great games! I love the saying the word really slowly and having them find it and then its their turn!

  8. I tried to reply to this the other day but then Blogger was having 'issues'. Anyway, Zoe over at Playing By The Book has just done a great post about learning to read and it includes a post of mine that I wrote last week about our reading journey so far, hope they are of help


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