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Thread: Learning to read

  1. #1

    Question Learning to read

    I am wondering if anyone has experienced or has any recommendations for resources for teaching phonics.



    My 2 1/2 yo is very interested in learning to read and I'm also doing a course in Learning to Read and Spell Through Phonics to be a Tutor- but it is very dry and more apporopriate for older kids and adults. I would like something aimed at preschoolers.

    I have looked breifly at Jolly phonics and Letterland, but without being able to actually look at the books it is hard to tell what they are like and they are also quite expensive. Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks

  2. #2

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    I highly recommend the Mem Fox 'Reading Magic' book too - a great guideline for encouraging our kids to love reading.

    Alot of schools are moving away from phonics and are heading towards THRASS.

    if you would like to start with the phonics though, try to hunt down the Ladybird Sounds and Pictures pre-readers. They are just perfect for the age group you are looking at. The ladybird sets are also graduated so that they can continue with them as they get more advanced. If you can't find them in a book store, let me know and I will tell you where I can get them from.
    Last edited by Trillian; October 26th, 2006 at 07:48 PM.

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    I was a fluent reader before going to school, and it was only from mum reading to me.. and maybe learning letters and stuff from sesame street. LOL. I asked mum, and she said she never actively taught me to read, just read to me lots, and I started to learn!

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    IMO my job as a mum is to teach my kids to love books. Teaching them to read is thier school's job. I'm sure that other people feel differantly but I just thought that I'd put it out there.

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    I'm a student teacher and did my rounds in a prep grade last year where they used Letterland. I'm sure there is more to it than what I saw - the songs, activity sheets, I think there was a story for each letter. And they only did one letter a week, which I thought was a bit slow. In a one-on-one situation at home, I don't think you need that sort of equipment, it's nothing you can't make up yourself.

    My Cait is almost five and has just started reading. I haven't done the literacy subjects yet at Uni, but we started a scrap book with a letter to each page and stuck in pictures and now she writes words on the pages for each letter. From my one child experience, she learnt what letters looked like first, starting with her name, and then what sounds they made. Just every day talking and going out and looking at signs and the junk mail ... and anything.

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    One of the best ways to encourage reading and phonics development is lots and lots and lots of rhyming...

    Rhyming is an early phonological awareness skill which is something you can introduce at a younger age...because it's fun and a bit silly!!!

    Dr Suess books are great for this...

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    Hello, the preschool years are when kids learn to enjoy a culture of reading and enjoying books and the treasures they hold. Mem Fox really sums it up in her book. There's plenty of time for phonics once they get to school. My DD (8) is now reading at the top of her class and it's purely because she's motivated to do so and spends time enjoying it! Have said that, at the first school they did Letterland which teaches writing as well as reading (but is a fairly expensive system) but in our second school they did Jollyphonics. Both were equally good but worked best in the classroom context where whole language was also used.
    :-)

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    I'd say that reading to your kids and teaching them to love books is the best start. You don't necessarily have to use a particular "system" if they are interested in learning more. My DD (3 yrs old) recognizes her own name, mama, papa, oma, opa, etc., just from wanting me to write them for her on her pictures. She also knows all the alphabet from practicing "typing" on the computer. (she LOVES that!) She is learning the sounds that the letters make too, because I ask her sometimes when she is playing on the computer.
    Some kids have a fascination with words and letters, and others don't. Don't push if it your child isn't interested, but if they are, try to find a way to make it a game. Rhyming and reading poetry are also great ways to encourage literacy in your child.
    By the way, do you have the Leap Frog stuff for kids over there? That is supposed to be a great system for introducing kids to reading, in a fun way. I haven't tried it myself, but it seems to be receive great reviews all over.
    You might be able to come up with some fun reading/letter games if you visit a teaching supply store otherwise.

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    There was a system at the baby expo that has been on TV (Sunrise) showing how your baby can read.
    I was very interested when I saw the sign, and went straight over to the stand only to find out it was flashcards and DVD based learning.
    I dont want that for my child..... Sorry, but I was an early reader (all my family loves reading) and I'm sure its purely from being around books all our lives. I would much rather read books to jenna and have her memorise the story, then start to realise that there are letters on the page that mean something. Why would I want Jenna sitting in front of TV watching a picture then a word come up, when I could be reading her a book and talking about whats going on at the same time.... plus getting lovely snuggles at the same time .

    Anyway - just my opinion of what suits us - we have flashcards, but they are animals and we pretty mcuh ignore the words and just concentrate on what noises animals make

  10. #10

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    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

    We do read - LOTS. Elle is now at the stage where she gets frustrated because she wants to know what the words are saying. It's not that I'm pushing her into it - she's asking. Sometimes she is content to have me read to her and talk about the pictures, sometimes she just makes up a story from memory of me having read it and/or the pictures. I am just interested in what might be out there.

    I'm a teacher and I know that most teachers do a great job - but I disagree with leaving it to school's to do the job. I absolutely agree that it shouldn't be fromal learning as such - more fun and games with the info incidental. If you have an interested child, then why wait? School's have a difficult time catering to all abilities. It's politically correct to say that they do and they do try - but in reality - it just doesn't happen all that well in a lot of places.

    We do rhyming games, play eye spy, read, sing, make body shapes. I guess I'm just looking for some more ideas, so thanks for your input and any more would be greatly appreciated.

  11. #11

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    Fi, I'm the same as you - I could read before school but only from being around books and having lots read to me. I can't remeber ever seeing a flash card or reciting the alphabet and so on.
    I just remembered we haven't played with Yasin's flashcards for ages. I might get them out and make a mess with them lol.

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    Sim - I agree with you on it not being the school's responsiblity entirely. Yes there is a big part of it on them, but as a parent we all have a responsibility to follow up on what they are learning and consolidate it at home.
    I dont know what else to suggest with regards to a curious 2.5yo. Its a tough one.

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    I just remembered, I bought a letterland jigsaw in in an op shop a while back for $1 !

    I'm not big on flashcards, but they have their place - an activity with a a quick reward type aspect to it. And you can make them. I'm big on making stuff, which means that learning things at home can be fun.

    I do as much as I can and as much as Cait wants when it comes to the alphabet and reading and numbers. You can turn it into a game or playtime, and they don't know or care. And I like the parallel with us, she's going to school and I'm going to Uni and I love the idea that I'm a good role model for her.

    They have to cover so much at school, from my experience, preps are lucky to have a literacy and numeracy session each day.

  14. #14

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    I think you are doing a great job and your children are going to benefit from your dedication and input. I'm a primary school teacher and studied early childhood and definately believe that reading begins in the home. I also spent time teaching students with learning difficulties, particularly in reading/writing and found that keeping it simple and relevant to them was what worked. A positive role model, making it a part of everyday living and fun, and praise for their interest and achievements/efforts all adds to their learning.

    I've been reading to Ella since birth and she will definately choose books over any toy which is an absolute thrill for me to watch! She just loves them both independantly and as a shared activity with DH or I. I've also been using the Baby Einstein Flash cards with sight words and bright pictures since about 6 months.

    I think that choosing books with:
    ~ large, clear font
    ~ which use age-appropriate language
    ~ with accompanying bright illustrations that reinforce the text
    ~ based on your child's individual interests
    will also be invaluable.
    Pointing out and repeating the main sight words - and showing her the picture or something in her environment that matches the word will also help. You can also make your own flash cards with the main sight words you feel she's interested in for her to play with. Playing games and singing songs as you are already doing is fantastic! I used to also play a little sound game using flash cards and counters. I'd place a counter over each letter in the word and as i said it, drawing the sound out a bit, eg cccc - aaaa - tttt, i'd push the counter down revealing the letter. I'd repeat the action several times, getting faster each time so that eventually the sounds blend together as we'd normally say it, eg cat. Not sure if that makes any sense - but this was something i used with infant chn so may be a bit old for your dd right now. The counters just made it a bit more of a game rather than just pointing to letters. Also 'Ants in the Apples' phonics programs are great! They involve singing a song "Ants in the apples -aaa (x3) - that's the sound that A makes! Each letter in the alphabet is sounded out in a fun phrase. There are lots of programs from more basic to more advanced in this series.

    There are stacks of strategies you can use to aid the learning of reading/writing but i think that if you keep making whatever you choose to do a fun part of her life she will excel, and more importantly just have a love of language!

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