You can too
This has been one of the most terrifying parts of homeschooling my daughter. She’s only 4, but has been showing a lot of readiness signs for reading. We’ve taken it slow, with little expectation. But I’ve struggled with the fear of whether or not I would be able to teach her one of the most important learning milestones of her entire life.
I had never taught someone to read before. I have read countless books to my kids. I have taught and reinforced letters to my oldest son (who was in a charter school for Kindergarten and First Grade). But his teacher was phenomenal and did the bulk of the work to teach him to read.
Today was the day though. My girl has been practicing. She “reads” to herself, and so we sat down to read a book today, and she sounded out almost every word on her own. She read. I am so proud of her.
To be honest, she’s a great example of the unschool method because I really let her lead the learning. I’ve been introducing things at her pace, with a goal to instill a love of reading and a love of learning.
We did pick up the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” but truth be told, she hated it. And after the first four lessons it was evident that it wasn’t the right tool for her.
So what did I do?
- I taught her to recognize upper and lowercase letters.
- I taught her the sound each letter makes. A “B” doesn’t sound like “Buh”. I’ll put together a video about the letter sounds in the near future, but for now, just know that “B” does not say “Buh” if you want to teach your kids to sound out words more fluently.
- I taught her how to put the sounds together slowly then more quickly.
- I read to her. A lot. We read daily. At least a couple of times during the day and at bedtime.
- She had some exposure to ABC Mouse activities, but not a ton.
That’s about it. I noticed she wanted to start “writing words”. She would put a bunch of letters that made no sense together and then sound out the gibberish.
If I’ve learned anything as a homeschooling parent it’s that kids are sponges and learn even if we aren’t actively “teaching” them.
I’ve learned that kids learn at their own pace. My oldest was halfway through the first grade before he started reading independently.
I’ve learned that older kids can practice reading out loud by reading to their younger siblings. It creates an awesome bond and helps develop them both as readers.
While my kids don’t have any learning disabilities, my oldest does have sensory and focus challenges that we work around to ensure he’s learning at a good pace. I understand that for parents of kids with disabilities, the process of teaching a child to read will be much different, and I’d love to hear from you.
What kinds of resources would help you teach your child to read?