Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Teaching Your Child To Read" Guest Post Series - Inger

I am so excited to have you back today, joining once again on our Teaching Your Child To Read Series. If you missed Lilac from last week you can check it out here.  
   Today's guest post comes from Inger.  After Inger had already agreed to doing this guest post,  I discovered that she lives about 2 hours away from where we once lived in Montana. Now for some of you that may seem far, far away, but out in Montana, that pretty much makes you neighbors! So fun, to find someone from there.  So I am so excited to see what she has to share with us today. So I will let Inger take it away:


The B Says Guh Like Apple By: Inger Koppenhaver

 Our first year of Kindergarten, seven years ago, was tough. To be honest, I struggled with helping to teach my twin five year old girls to read. We used the Leap Frog Learning videos about letter sounds and the books I have listed at the end. Each time I would quiz them on their letter names and sounds… they would ace the quiz! Then, I would try to have one of my girls sound out a simple word like: C A T out of her workbook. She could sound out each individual letter yet could not hear the sounds together. Her twin sister was able to pick up on it quickly and asked me why her sister could not see and hear what was so easy for her.

 It was a difficult year. I did a lot of research, went to an educational class and talked with reading specialists. After taking the dyslexia educational class, a light bulb went off for me. I spoke with the teacher afterwards and she offered up a few ideas with a website suggestion, as well.

 Her main idea was to go back a step in reading instruction. My daughter knew the letters, knew the sounds for the letters, but I needed to go through the room with her and have her hear the sounds in a concrete manner. T-t-t-table, s-s-s-sock, was the sounds you would have heard in my living room that next day. Then, I purchased some cards from the website she had given me (this was seven years ago and I am not sure the company is in business) and began to sound out words without them being able to see the picture in a flashcard type of manner.

 All of a sudden daughter #2 perked up! She “heard” the word just fine. In fact, as we went through the flashcards, she answered all but two of them before her sister did! Her sister, who was used to answering first, was dumbfounded. And, in the end, it was just patience and stick-to-it-iveness that helped her get over her learning bump.

 But, that was not the end of our reading struggles. Now, that my oldest two girls COULD read… how do you get them TO read? I know this next idea may sound like I went out and broke the bank to get my girls to enjoy reading but I will lay it down on the line for you. My one big trick up my sleeve was… BUY THEM BOOKS.

 Find something they love or desire to read and buy it for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you can find used books everywhere from garage sales to second hand stores. And yes, I used (and still use) books as a reward. As a reward on our smiley face incentive chart, they can receive a new book when they have reached the end of the chart. For them, it works. And I now have one almost 9 year old and two 12 year old children who really enjoy reading.

 Both my girls LOVE to read and it makes my heart swell knowing the struggles we went through the first couple of years with reading. My almost 9 year old boy enjoys reading too. He started to read at age 3! What a big difference his earlier years were in comparison to my girls! Now, my youngest is almost four and is just starting to be interested in learning his letter sounds. This was a recent comment he made to me, “the b says guh like apple.” We still have a lot of work to do…

 So, in retrospect, I was almost at the point of giving up or believing that I needed someone else to tutor or teach my children how to read. But, I found, with perseverance and a lot of research, I was able to conquer my daughter’s issue with her and in turn discovered that she was more of an auditory learner rather than a visual learner like daughter #1. This would be an important discovery as we headed into the next seven years of schooling

. Here are the books which worked for our kids:
-- 100 Lessons to Teach your Child to Read ~ Yes, there were tears with this one at first. But, the method is good. Just don’t take it all “soooo” seriously!

--  Hooked on Phonics ~ It really did “work for me”!! My three older children loved the boxed packs with the little books, workbook and CDrom for the first set. It was fun and I can’t wait to start it again with my three year old.

-- Buying them a Book of their Own ~ Here are some of our favorites:
 Early Readers: Usborne Beginners Level 1 and 2 Non-Fiction These are BEAUTIFUL books and full of great information. I ended up buying one at a time for each girl brand new and still have them in my library for the littlest one to grow into soon.

 Middle: My boy enjoys “How to” kinds of books now. He has a book from the library about how to make paper airplanes. He slept with it in his bed the first night he brought it home.

  Now: Chronicles of Narnia (BIG FAVORITE) Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

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  Inger grew up in a city by the beach in California, but loves living in her small Norman Rockwell kind of town on the prairie in Montana. She is a published author, a homeschool mom of four adorable children who just happens to own a 50′s style cafĂ© with her mother-in-law. Inger currently writes Ditch the Desk, a hands-on monthly themed curriculum for K-5th grade, at She also writes consistently for Molly Green Magazine which can be found at and on her personal blog at You can find her cafe at

1 comment:

  1. To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

    These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

    These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

    Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

    Best rgs