Learning to Read!
Hi! I’m Misty and I blog about our homeschooling journey at Mimi’s House. I was excited about the opportunity to do this guest post for Tiffany!
Learning to read is a huge deal in our home! It was actually one of the stipulations in my husband allowing me to homeschool our kids. I taught my oldest child to read at 5 years old. She was in preschool at the time and I was teaching her each morning for a few minutes before she went to school. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and we ended up pulling her out of school over Christmas break. I had done what my husband deemed impossible! My middle child began reading at 4 and by her Kindergarten year she was reading chapter books.
When I made the decision to teach my oldest to read I knew right away what program I would use, Hooked on Phonics! I had been a fan of the program since Junior High School. It was what the reading lab at our school used to teach the struggling readers. I worked in the lab during study hall each week and was amazed at how easy it was to use.
Hooked on Phonics uses the phonics approach to learning to read, for example lesson 1 is –at words. So, the child will learn to read the words cat, hat, sat, mat. Every few lessons the child is also introduced to sight words.
It is a simple program, and each week has a story to for the child to read. After a few lessons the child receives a book! This was a huge hit in our home because they could take the book and show their friends, their dad, or their grandparents that they could read a “real” book! We have used the Kindergarten and 1st grade sets.
While I do love Hooked on Phonics for teaching reading, I also believe there are many other things to do to encourage your children to read! Here are a few that we have done in our home:
- We take our kids to the library on a regular basis! Our kids know getting a library card is a big deal and they get one as soon as they start Hooked on Phonics. We also take them to Tail Wagging Tutors for extra reading practice and rewards. This is a therapy dog program that encourages kids to read. They give certificates, pencils, stickers, and other rewards when a child reads a book to the therapy dog.
- We use book adventure for rewards and to gauge reading comprehension. This is a program similar to accelerated reader in public schools. We make our own rewards and the girls really like being able to redeem their points.
- Book it! This is a great program that Pizza Hut offers. After a child reads 10 books in a month they get a free pizza. We don’t do this anymore due to my daughter’s food allergy, but it is a great program!
- Certificates and days without chores are incentives the girls got when they finished a level of Hooked on Phonics. Each grade has 2 levels, so they got this 4 times while they were learning to read. They thought it was awesome to get a whole day without chores!These are just a few ideas to keep in mind when you begin teaching your child to read. The best piece of advice I have to moms just starting out is to relax! Make learning to read a fun thing!There was a few times with my oldest that we would have to slow down and review a lesson or two. I would get so frustrated which just discouraged her. I realized though that once I relaxed and didn’t push her, it came SO much easier. She is now an avid reader and has always read way beyond her grade level.Another piece of advice is to not discourage your child when they show an interest in learning. When my youngest daughter wanted to start learning to read at 4 I discouraged her by telling her she wasn’t ready. After arguing with her for a few months I let her start. She picked it up like it was the easiest thing in the world! She had finished level K by the end of preschool, and level 1 a month after starting her K year.Moms never let anyone tell you that you cannot teach your child to read, believe in yourself, and in your child! Teaching my children to read is one of the best experiences I have ever had. There is something magical about seeing their eyes light up when they realize they CAN read! It is priceless, and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!