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Thread: How to teach reading

  1. #19

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    Arte, have you guys got Learning Ladder over there? They sell educational books via party plan. The (informative) responses above sound like great ideas, perhaps you could try talking to one of the teachers at your local school for book ideas etc.

    Can't wait to hear how you go with him!


  2. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmac View Post
    I have a child in my class who was taught to read before she started school- great you might think! NO!! because although she can read she cannot recognise rhyming words, she can't think for herself about what to do in any situation ie can't find the correct book box, can't find her scissor etc she hasn't even the skills to put up her hand and ask simple questions but hey she can read!

    I agree don't deny him if he asks but there is so much more about learning than just letters and numbers. Can he find his own bag at preschool? can he ask someone else to play with him? Can he express his needs to other adults other than family? Can he tell what rhymes with what?
    Barring the rhyming thing (last night I had to list words that rhyme with 'constipation') that's my DD#1. She's 9.5yo and a terrible problem solver - can never find anything, is perpetually disorganised because she doesn't develop 'habits' or routines, can't ask questions, has huge issues playing computer games with challenges in, hasn't worked out how to be nice to people, but is an obscenely good reader. Tomorrow I follow through a threat to cut her hair short because she seems incapable of brushing it OR asking for help brushing it (and she just came back from almost a week with her father and ONLY WASHED ONCE while she was there ) and her hair looks sooooo awful now, like some kind of neglected feral child's hair. But I don't think those other skills can really be taught, considering I have a 2.5yo who absolutely blows the elder one out of the water for simple skills, *and* looks like she's going to be really easy to teach to read.

    They're all different. I just happen to have an organised cooperative child who copies me - which includes reading - and an extremely disagreeable one.

  3. #21

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    Arte, there are 2 main schools of thought re teaching reading. One is the phonics system of teaching sounds each letter makes, then how to sound them out to make words. The other way is called the 'whole language' method, which is where kids learn to read by recognising whole words and other written language in their environment - which is where the labels for things around the house style methods work. Most reading systems these days teach a bit of both. There are some good books on the subject, The Reading Bug (and how to help your child to catch it) by Paul Jennings (who is big on the whole language and esp cultivating a culture of reading for boys), and Reading Magic by Mem Fox. There are also some "systems" that teach letter recognition and more concrete skills, for example Letterland and ...??? (mental blank) which is often used in Australian schools at the transition/prep/preschool level. Worth googling for more info as they have teaching aids like music and books etc that you might find helpful.

    I'm pretty familiar by now with W's thirst for knowledge and I remember being 5 years old exactly when I started school and someone showed me how to "sound out the words". I remember thinking - so THAT's how you do it - why didn't anyone tell me before now - and promptly started reading *everything*. I don't necessarily think flashcards etc are particularly helpful but in a literacy-rich environment some kids do get there earlier than others.

  4. #22

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    Kate - i was suggesting the learning ladder on another thread - and didn't want to mention again for fear people would think i work for them!!!lol. But yes Arte, their Starter Stiles would be great for W. It would be something that he could eventually do by himself as well, once he progresses.

    When my middle daugther was in Prep last year, she already knew how to read, because i had taught her. I asked the teacher if i could borrow some of the year 1 readers, as she really wanted to read books. The year 1 teachers said no - they wanted to do it their way when she got to grade 1. I ended up just going to the local library and borrowing early readers for her.

  5. #23

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    Mrsmac, DS has no troubles following instructions and he blabs on and on and on to any adult who will lend him an ear. I understand that reading isn't the be all and end all of smart, I am only asking because he is ready for it. I am not forcing him in any way. And I am only talking about 5 minutes every day or two - I am sure half an hour a week won't make him miss out on his childhood - I spend longer in a week nagging him to wash his hands after he has been to the toilet!

    I haven't heard of Learning Ladder in NZ, but I see it mentioned on BB (every time Jazah posts lmao) - I will look into it if you think it is a good system

    MD, from what the teacher told me today, they do a mix of sight and sounding at school ie start with a core group of common small sight words, then as new words come along they sound them out to learn them. I think that NZ schools have adopted the Letterland thing - my niece gave me a full rendition of all the letters the other week - the original alphabet is much faster!

    Anyways, turns out he is already starting to recognise words. Today we were playing his favourite game (wordpad on the computer and I have to call out letters for him to type) and I typed in a few words that I have shown him lately (mum, dad, cat, his name) and he knew them straight away. Perhaps I should look at one of the online tools, wordpad seems a little budget lol

  6. #24

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    When DD1 wanted to read I bought an excerise book and made this her reader. I wrote a sentence on the page and either drew a picture or stuck a picture there. Quite often she would tell me the sentence to write. At first she read these pages by memory but soon came to recognise the words so picked them out in the story books. She loved reading and was reading before she went to school.
    I did the same with DD2 and she only took to reading half way through year 2.

    Keep reading to them as reading as it is enjoyable to both children & adults.

  7. #25

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    We read a lot to DD and I know preschool does a lot more with letters and stuff. DD just occupies herself writing letters and words over and over at home, there's no real need for me to 'teach' her. I've started doing a short workbook on letters (Wow! I can read - I got it from preschool) and the like since she loves writing so much, but it's a page at a time and it sits there to get used about once a month when we're stuck inside and DD is antsy before dinner.

    I only started on a couple of small things after one day last year when we drove into the shopping centre and DD (aged 3) piped up from the back seat, "Look Mum, that sign says c-o-l-e-s". For her, it's just something she likes doing and I'm following her lead. Same as she knows how to spell and write the names of most of her friends and gives me things with other words I completely don't expect and have certainly never taught (love, for one). She asks me to tell her the letter for words she doesn't know and I answer, but no more than that.

    I think pencil grip is a developmental thing. DD had a tri-grip before she was two, but she was highly unusual. I've noticed in DD's preschool class that most of the girls have it perfectly but some of the boys not so much. DD just loves to write and draw, always has. And believe me, it has nothing to do with intelligence - one little boy can count well into the 100s and can barely write his name. It just isn't his 'thing'. It's a fine motor skill. I think you're better off encouraging his fine motor abilities with things like playdough and it will come to him.

    I personally don't remember learning to read and I'm fairly sure I could read either before or pretty much as soon as I was at school. My Mum always took us to the library so I doubt I ever had an issue with not getting readers that I liked, I picked what I wanted. I do this for DD too. She can pick out whatever books she likes there.

  8. #26

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    My DD is 4 and obsessed with words- she loves to sound out every single word she can, that is just her a natural progression for her learning. For me I am not moving her too quickly into formal reading, but we do lots and lots of focus on making sounds and finding sounds etc.
    I guess I am lucky because I get to look at the situation from 2 perspectives, as I am a teacher too. I run to both schools of thought, both whole language and phonics based- I think over the years we have really lost the art of teaching phonics, hence all the talk about lowering levels of spelling etc. So my advice would be to just do general stuff with him, rather than moving him too quickly into reading books- some thigns we do at home is when we are playing blocks I will say a work and DD will use the letter blocks to make that word, you could use playdough or pipecleaners for turning into letters to make the words, use old magazines to find and cut out certain words ie all words starting with b etc. For now I would keep it simple and keep to CVC (constanant vowel constant) mum, dad, dog, cat, mat etc I it is also very important like Mrs Mac said to look at things like rhyme, letter patterns etc, because kids need to develop tools to help them read and write, so being able to hear a rhyme in a word, bat, cat, mat etc means they dont have to work as hard to read and write, because they know at makes the 'at' sound. This is why I personally like a phonics based approach rather than the flash card system where children learn words by rote, if they learn how to read and how to spell, they are developing a tool box, where as if they learn each word as a whole then they have to work much harder, because they are remembering words only by sight, and do not have the skills to decode that word when it is used in a context- ie in a book.

    I have to say that I also hear where mrsmac is coming from, because it is really hard for a child in the class that is far beyond all their classmates, they bored and frustrated because they want to join in with their peers, but they find the work far to easy- it is for this reason I haven't moved DD into reading books etc yet, I have just 'extended her sideways' as I like to call it- taken her skills and given her lots of opportunities to to use them in fun ways so that she is still able to learn alongside her peers- as she gets older she will progress at her own rate, but for now I am happy to let her enjoy her skills in lots of play based ways.

  9. #27

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    If it were me, I wouldn't be trying to teach him how to read. Instead I would be making letters and words fun by playing games with him. We have the junior scrabble game and it's not so much about reading, but just putting the letters where they are meant to go and there are loads of other ways you can do things like this to encourage him with letters and satisfy the thirst he has for it, but it's not actually teaching him to read specifically. I love the idea of 'sideways learning' because afterall, he isn't even 3 yet and I think that yeah it might be great to teach him to read, but at what cost? It's great if he can pick up reading incidentally, but once he's at school he may be so far ahead of his peers that it makes it very hard to teach him, especially if his gift is only for reading/writing/words - which could happen because children can be gifted in one area and not others. Our kids have well over 2 years before they are at school and if they were closer to it, then I'd be all for it but because there is so long before they start it wont really help him in the long run ITMS. So for the time being it would be best to just make it fun kwim?

    Do you remember what I have said about L at school? He and 3 others are being accelerated for reading, writing and spelling and they use year 7 texts for this (they are in year 4) but this term instead of extending them further by increasing their reading level and spelling ability etc, they are concentrating on teaching them how to USE language - to understand the meaning of what they are reading, writing and spelling and understanding context and syntax etc otherwise being able to read, write and spell extraordinarily well is completely pointless. And when they are ready to move on, they will start extending them again. There was one other child in their group but he has been taken out of the group and put back in the lower group because they realised that he had absolutely zero understanding of what he was doing and was unable to grasp language concepts so wasn't ready to be at that level of learning yet. So what I am trying to say is, that you may well decide to teach him to read, but because of his age he will be unable to understand what he is reading or understand meanings simply because he still has the brain of a nearly 3yo and the hardwiring hasn't been laid down yet to allow him to understand it. Also this runs the risk of him learning to read by rote/memorisation and not really reading at all and that will present it's own set of problems once he reaches school.

    Mrs Mac does have a point when she says leave it for school for all this. They way I see it, home is for fun and school is for learning. I was like you when L was that age - brought book after book after book for him to work on at home and though I wasn't pushing him, in hindsight I wish I didn't do it. I didn't do it at all with the girls and they are both equally as gifted as L in that department so there really was no need to do that with L, because he was going to pick it up quickly anyway and I could have spent the time at home with him doing fun things instead.

    ETA - I found this in one of my textbooks that sums up what I'm trying to say

    Children must actively organize their knowledge, apply it to new events, and relate ideas about time, space, number, and persons. Accelerating young children forces them to rely on lower-level cognitive processes, for example, memorization and visual recognition of letters and numbers. This may stultify learning and damage children's self-esteem and confidence (Elkind, l986; Sigel, 1987). Children must have time and suitable social and educational experiences to develop normally. It is short-sighted to trade human complexity and creativity for accelerated academic learning in early childhood (Minuchin, l987). To do so is counterproductive for long-range educational goals.
    But at the end of the day, you will do what you want to do
    Last edited by Trillian; July 21st, 2010 at 01:20 PM.

  10. #28

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    Being able to follow instructions is not the same as being able to problem solve for yourself though, can he figure things out and deal with changes ? Does he play well with other children and interact with them positively ? Is he comfortable asking to play with children he doesn't know ?
    Being a teacher I am much more concerned about social skills than reading ability at the start of kindergarten. Your son is 2 I really would be doing some of the other play based activities other people have suggested before I taught him to read.

  11. #29

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    I believe in whole language method of reading. You don't 'teach' a child to read but rather answer questions if they want and just enjoy the experience of reading together and if they learn to read young then so be it.

    I was an early reader and I think my son will be too as he repeats books and is obsessed is 'reading'. TBH I'm more concerned with his preference for rote learning and his lack of interest in creative play.

  12. #30

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    Trill, lol that quote is used on the hothousing website. You raise some interesting points. Do you think that L has been disadvantaged because he was reading before school and is beyond his age level? Sounds like his teacher is catering to his needs quite well.
    So what I am trying to say is, that you may well decide to teach him to read, but because of his age he will be unable to understand what he is reading or understand meanings simply because he still has the brain of a nearly 3yo and the hardwiring hasn't been laid down yet to allow him to understand it. Also this runs the risk of him learning to read by rote/memorisation and not really reading at all and that will present it's own set of problems once he reaches school.
    This in entirely the opposite of what happened in my family - I was a 3 year old reader and was always years ahead with reading and comprehension, while my brother was left to learn at school and no one noticed that he was just repeating books by rote and couldn't actually read anything until he was about 8. My brother is the one sided gifted person - for logic based things I have never met anyone with his ability, but overall he was a poor student.

    Mrsmac, actually DS is a complete dud when it comes to interaction with other kids. He just doesn't do it. I have no idea how to help that? Any suggestions? He starts kindy when he turns 3 in a couple of months and I am hoping he will start to communicate with his peers then? He is good at problem solving and very adaptive when things change and latches on to any adult attention, just nothing to do with children.

    I think perhaps I overstated my intentions. By teaching him to read I meant didn't necessarily mean jumping straight into words - we are happy to do the fun activities and move along as he is ready. That is why I asked, I wasn't sure how to go about it. We had a look at the Reading Eggs website and he really enjoyed it - it was just about letters and phonics mostly. It is something that we can do one-on-one when DD is asleep and it is something that he really enjoys (ie tantrum when it is time to stop!)

    Thanks for all the replies.

  13. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artechim View Post
    Mrsmac, actually DS is a complete dud when it comes to interaction with other kids. He just doesn't do it. I have no idea how to help that? Any suggestions? He starts kindy when he turns 3 in a couple of months and I am hoping he will start to communicate with his peers then? He is good at problem solving and very adaptive when things change and latches on to any adult attention, just nothing to do with children.
    My son is not very social either. Perhaps we both have the nerdy little bookworms I think my son is an introvert so I don't expect he'll ever be the centre of attention and I accept that his personality is what it is. That said, we go to playgroup and I role model play with other children for him. ie. demonstrating invitations to play and offering toys, thanking for help etc. Beyond that I'm sure he'll get the hang of it. I'm just conscious of him being in supportive environments where I know his personality can be catered for and respected. It seems a lot of adults like to push all children towards being extroverts but not everyone is, or needs to be. My son also goes to family day care at the moment and I've talked to his carer about helping him to be more assertive (not letting everyone just push him out of the way and take his toys- which they do and he lets them) and she understands him so I think this helps him work with other people outside of his family too.

  14. #32

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    LOL Arte, is it? I didn't realise - we're studying different types of intelligences this semester so there is a lot about early childhood development and intelligence etc. L's biggest problem is that because he is so far advanced he has very little tolerance for those that aren't and struggles to contain it when in a mixed ability class. Now that could be a personality thing but it has presented a behaviourally as you know and he's not a bad kid that does play up or be naughty at all - he's my 'good kid' kwim? So I guess I have experienced what it can be like from a parenting POV when they get older and what the outcomes of that can be. I'm just lucky that he's at a school that is happy to advance him even though it has presented a problem for the teachers in knowing what the best way to approach it was. And I wouldn't even call him gifted - he is just very bright and this area of learning comes easily to him and if W is indeed gifted and not just bright, then he's going to be that much harder to deal with again, especially if he is the only one at school like that kwim?

    If what you have been doing has been working for him, then keep doing it and probably find a few new games/programs to use on rotation so he doesn't get bored with it.

  15. #33

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    Just on the social side of things... my DS was a complete dud too... but when he turned 3 it was like a switch was flicked. Not that he's a social butterfly now.. but he at least isn't terrified of other children being on play equipment or anything! LOL. I do think it could be a developmental thing, and I have read that it's around the age of 3 that they actually start to play with other kids, whereas before that it's more parallel play.

    I've found the replies in this thread interesting. We are doing the Reading Eggs program as I said, and it does follow what others are saying about rhyming words etc. DS is learning the 'at' family, the 'ug' family etc. So it's not just sounding out individual letters, they are recognising sounds. I must admit I haven't been watching his lessons on there of late, and I watched him today just to make sure he's not guessing his way through.. but he is actually reading the sentences they present so he can choose the picture that goes with it. I must say I was pretty impressed! LOL.

  16. #34

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    I have to say I completely agree with the teachers who have replied in this thread as I know they are the ones that see first hand just what happens when children start school and the parents think they are going to do so well because they can 'read'.

    There is a very big difference between being able to 'read' words and to read a book.

    Data collected from schools is showing more and more that children that have great decoding skills (being able to read texts) end up having a reading level way beyond their years but they have no idea how to use these skills and therefore the skills are wasted.

    I think both of your time would be better spent by exploring books, predicting text, talking about the characters, settings, getting him to retell the story in his own words. Stoping after each page and getting him to recall information read rather than reading it himself. Asking what might happen next if the story kept going? These are the things that will help him enjoy reading for pleasure in later years and will help develop his imagination. This to me is far more important than a 2 or 3 year old being able to read a book.

    I honestly have to say that as a teacher, I wish parents would teach their children to tie their shoe laces, road safety skills and other things like that.

    He sounds like he loves learning in general so why not use this to yours and his advantage by asking him if he would like to learn how to dress himself or tie laces or cooking things, playing, playing, playing, etc.

  17. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBambina View Post
    There is a very big difference between being able to 'read' words and to read a book.

    Data collected from schools is showing more and more that children that have great decoding skills (being able to read texts) end up having a reading level way beyond their years but they have no idea how to use these skills and therefore the skills are wasted.
    Oh yes, DD#1 is an excellent reader but can't comprehend half of what she reads (although she thinks she does) and it doesn't help her dad keeps buying her books more suited for a 20yo. And being able to read big words doesn't mean you can PRONOUNCE them.

    And I feel vindicated - one of her teachers actually didn't write a neutral comment in her report card I got this morning. He actually said she doesnt follow instructions or listen to the rules and she needs to stop talking so much. 'Her full attention will ensure a better outcome'. And she got a lower grade for this subject. OMG! There's at least ONE subject at school where she behaves exactly like she does at home! (or the teacher is just willing to admit it instead of spouting neutral fluff in the report)

  18. #36

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    arte - W is a very inquisitive child - and has a desire to learn. I know that you haven't just plucked the idea of teaching him to read out of the clouds. I think with the stage that he's at, teaching him to read is a natural progression - for him.

    When he can read - he'll take getting himself dressed to a new level - he'll be able to tell you what his clothes are made of and how to wash them lol

    Forgot to say - with the pencil grip issue - perhaps do some other fine motor activites - like threading straws onto string - or in your neck of the woods - maybe making daisy chains.

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