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Today’s post is about Teaching Your Child to Read. Azure (currently five and 8 months) is working daily to get lots of reading practice in and I thought I’d share some of the materials we are using and how/when we practice.
A Little Background History:
Azure’s schooling started a bit late by our typical mode of operating. When he was three I was still homeschooling the older guys, we made a major move across the globe, new brother arrived, etc. Lots going on. All that to say our ‘schooling’ was very scattered and hit or miss, very miss actually.
When he turned four I began to gather my wits and began schooling a tiny bit. A little pre-writing, pre- math and reading. Since I already had the teacher’s curriculum and readers for the Abeka reading program, that is what I started with. I knew I wasn’t going to follow every lesson as per the teaching manual. Though it is excellent and very thorough! It will tell you exactly what to do and even what to say! Perfect for newbie home school moms. (see the Abeka website for more information on this program and then hit up amazon, alibris, paperbackswap, etc. for second hand items)
By the time year four rolls around baby brother is now a toddling disaster and needing a lot of attention. Azure has mastered his alphabet and sounds, can sound out blends and single vowel words. He is still having to put a ton of effort in to sounding everything out.
Alright, the new year is here and I am committed to getting this guy reading and writing by the time kindergarten starts! So now is when we really buckle down and get our game in gear. Pretty much every weekday we are practicing reading from age, almost five.
We started with these material at age four and five:
 Large alphabet flashcards/or small (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=167169) For learning basic names and sounds
 My Blend and Word Book (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/abekaonline/bookdescription.aspx?sbn=40495) For practicing blends (consonant and vowels together) and words in a thin booklet
 Animal Friends Books. Formerly called Little Owl Books. (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=138428) Practicing reading words and simple stories with these little booklets
 Little Books. I have the older version of these booklets, also by the same name. (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=138401) Practicing letter sounds, blends, words and simple sentences
 BOB Books Set 1: Beginning Readers. I was given a couple of these cute little reading booklets and brought the first set at Costco for about $10 (BOB books http://bobbooks.com/) Short vowel words with cute illustrations. My son loved these books, cause all of a sudden he could ‘read a book on his own’. He was thrilled, I was thrilled. It was a great inspiration booster. When I came across an older, but complete set of Set 2: Advancing Beginners at a thrift store for $2, I snapped them up.
 Hooked on Phonics. I found an older but complete set of five levels of the Hooked on Phonics boxes at a thrift store for $25. While I wasn’t planning on following the program, I got them for the reading practice. (Hooked on Phonics https://www.hookedonphonics.com/) I like to mix up the readers, so no one gets bored.
 Basic Phonics Readers (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=53686) These reader booklets reinforce the lessons in the curriculum, beginning with simple short vowel words, progressing to long vowel words and special sounds
 A Handbook for Reading (Abeka http://www.abeka.com/abekaonline/bookdescription.aspx?sbn=94927) This book reinforces the lessons in the curriculum, much like the Basic Phonics Readers, but for an older child that can read more words on a page. With my five year old I stick to one page in this book, as just reading a bunch of practice words are not as interesting as reading a short 1 page story.
Tips & Suggestions:
Take advantage of what you already own. I started with Abeka items because I already owned them from using them with my older children. You can certainly use another program, borrow books from the library or even make your own. I like that I already had these in one place, simply working from one booklet to the next was easy for me to keep track of. What I will say is that I did not follow as much of the curriculum as I would have liked and you could totally just work through the reading booklets on their own, just make sure you teach your child the sounds of the letters first and then its really just about keep up the practicing.
Don’t progress to the next reader too soon, as you will just frustrate yourself and your child. I also like to mix things up with different readers and books. It makes it more interesting for the child and parent 🙂 For instance I didn’t just work through all the Abeka readers from one to the next to the next. I had Azure read one booklet and then read from a different reader (the BOB or Hooked on Phonics) another day, and we’d re read these books over and over until he was quite confidently reading or quoting them. I usually let him read an easy booklet and then have him read one page in a more challenging book (The Handbook for Reading or the Basic Phonics Readers) As he got older we would increase to a couple easy reading booklets and one or more pages of more challenging reading.
Know when to take a break or call it a day. If a reading session gets frustrating for someone or the child is tired, hungry or baby interrupts, come back to it again later in the day. No problem, just keep at it. Even if its a few sentences at a time, every bit of practice counts towards helping your new little learner along the way.
Read to your child. Its a no brainer, but worth mentioning. Azure likes me reading him something part way through his reading practice or he’ll ask me to re read what he just finished reading. This is a great way to keep the kiddo interested and challenged with more difficult subjects and stories. For example Azure can only read simple stories on his own, but he can listen to and understand much more complex ones that I read him. Keeping them inspired gives them a goal of one day being able to read those wonderful stories on their own.
Benefits of having a close in age sibling when teaching reading. My baby (now age two and 6 months) can recognize and name the entire alphabet in everyday situations, a letter on a building or in any book. He tries to sit and join in the school work big brother does and is very interested in being a part of it. Today he was crawling into my lap to hear brother practice reading and brought a book to me to point out and tell me the letters on the page. This little guy is good to begin reading now.
Teaching Reading Part 2 coming soon