Here’s an example of how we play with words to help our kids learn to read.
This is a game Alex and I played yesterday. I’ve done something similar with all of the kids and it always works well and is fun.
I wrote and illustrated 15 sets of words (drawings on blue, words on yellow) and then I just spread them all out and have him look for pairs.
Our words (short and easy to draw) were hand, sun, moon, egg, ball, flag, fish, owl, boot, door, cup, car, leaf, bug, hat and tree.
Owl ended up being a fail. My owl looked like a buddha. 😉
Later on, the game can be played concentration style (flipped over, try to remember where matches are) but when kids are newly learning to read, just spread them out facing up.
Have the child look for matches. Try not to help much, other than when asked for help remembering how to sound out letters.
Alex (5) was able to figure them all out with occasional reminders about letter sounds.
He can read MUCH easier in this sort of way than just sitting and sounding words out. As a matter of fact, when I just flipped through the cards afterwards, he got very frustrated trying to read the same words he had just matched up.
The pictures give just the right amount of help to let kids see themselves as successful readers.
He really enjoyed it and was very proud of his stack of accomplished words.
When our kids learned to read:
Victoria sounded her first word out (boo) at three and was reading fluently at four.
Anna was nearly six when it really clicked.
Jack was five.
Alex is five now and I think he will be six before it really clicks.
We did not use a phonics curriculum, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Bob books or any of that.
We read to our kids a lot, we played phonics games, we talked about letter sounds and we let it happen naturally. (See the articles below for more examples.)
It’s important to note that all of our older kids are voracious readers now (at 9, 13 and 14).
Remember that when a child learns to read has no bearing on how well the child will eventually read. Children walk, talk, read and learn to use the potty at their own paces.
If you do “walking lessons” with a baby who is not ready to walk, I sure hope you make it fun. It will not help the baby walk much sooner and is completely unnecessary.
Reading lessons are the same. If you’re going to use phonics curricula and reading lessons with a young child, do be sure to make it fantastically fun. 🙂