I just started to teach my four-year-old daughter to read. I wasn’t planning on starting now (actually, I wasn’t even planning on teaching her to read; I just expected her to learn when she started going to kindergarten), but she’s in love with books and is a voracious learner and has taught herself to write letters by spending lots of time practicing tracing the alphabet (thanks to a neat gift my parents just got her for her birthday). For the last few years, we’ve practiced singing the alphabet and then in the last few months we’ve talked about letter sounds (“b” makes the sound “buh” in b, b, bat) and lately we’ve been checking out books on CD so she can “read” by herself. I thought she might be ready to read, so I decided that we’d try but I wouldn’t push her; I would just see how it worked and if she seemed to be learning and it didn’t cause unnecessary stress, we’d continue learning to read.
It’s been three weeks and has been pretty painless for both of us. I’m already noticing that she’s learning a bit (like she’s remembering the short-vowel sound of “a” and uses it to sound out some words). She’s not reading, of course, and won’t be able to read for another year, but we’ve started the process and she seems to be absorbing it.
So here’s how I’m doing it:
- Buy The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise for $20ish (or get an awesome older brother like mine who will buy it as a gift for you and your daughter…Thanks, Uncle T!) and buy additional supplies: index card and a pen.
- Each day, go through one lesson (about 10 pretty painless minutes).
- Review the lesson a few times throughout the day (consists of singing a short rhyme or poem…like two minutes…super easy and short and it’s fun).
That’s it! There’s no prep work. It took me ten minutes of reading the lessons and practicing by myself to get the hang of how it works. And it’s basic and straight-forward and cheap. I was a teacher for ten years before taking a break to be at home with my girls, and this is a great choice for teaching reading.
Anyone else have suggestions or ideas for encouraging a love for reading? I’d love to hear them!