I’ve had several people ask me how Ethan learned to read so well at such a young age. I’ve already shared a few things that we have done, but thought I’d share some more details for those who are interested…
First of all, reading is very important to me and my husband so we read to Ethan from the time he was an infant. I would read to him at least three times a day, usually once in the morning, after lunch and before bedtime. Second, I had the expectation of early reading because I started reading at age three and knew it was possible.
When he was about two he was obsessed with the computer and I started letting him sit on my lap and play on starfall.com, one of THE best reading tools available, and it’s completely FREE. Now you can get it for around $3 on your iphone, which is easier for young kids who can’t work the mouse- Joshua loves playing on it. So starfall helped teach Ethan the letters of the alphabet and he would start to recognize them in the books we read (for smaller kids Fisher Price has an Alphabet Zoo site that is kind of fun too). I also have a printable abc book on my homeschooling link.
Once I realized that he was recognizing these letters in the book, I started pointing to each word as we read. I also started to help him learn to sound out small words like pig, dog, cat, etc. and read the starfall books online that sound out letters. Pointing to the words as you read will also help them to recognize sight words like the, and, an, etc.
I also got fridge phonics for him to play with and help reinforce the letter sounds. As he began to sound out words I printed off the starfall books and had him go through them until he was able to read them by himself. Then I bought early reader books like the Biscuit books, Thomas the Train, and other books that were easy to read. I even bought “Your baby can read” DVD’s, but by this point he was already reading. I think multiple reinforcement is the key. Exposing them through books, movies and even occasionally cartoons like SuperWHY and WordWorld can help them to connect the dots between letter sound and forming words.
At times it seemed like he was not making progress but even if they are running around the room they are still listening and will eventually absorb what you are saying. And yes it gets a bit annoying to read the same book 10 times in a day but that repetition is what helps them learn. The more times they are exposed to books the faster they will learn to read. The beginning stages reading is memorizing words, but as you sound out the words to them they will learn to do the same and sounding out words enables them to read on a much higher level.
As they learn to read small words, start exposing them to sight words. You can find a list of sight words and even print flashcards at http://www.msrossbec.com/sightwords.shtml. It’s not about drilling words into them, it’s about exposing them to the words and reviewing ever so often.
Also, reading the scriptures with them helps their vocabulary increase a hundred fold. Start by having them simply repeat each word after you. Then as they get older point to each word and have them repeat it. Eventually they will be able to read words that many eight year olds can’t even read. It also prepares them to understand classical literature when they are exposed to that type of language at an early age.
So there you have it. Persistence is the key…I will share some of our favorite books tomorrow…
Now…if you’re feeling hungry, check out these yummy chocolate chip cookies!