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Teaching your kids to read is a huge milestone in homeschooling. Not only is it a wonderful accomplishment for your child, but it also means you no longer have to read EVERY little thing aloud to them. They can do more independent work because (once they get the hang of it) they will be able to read the directions silently.
It’s pretty awesome.
However, the road to this can be long…and exhausting. There were days when I wanted to
scream into my pillow excuse myself politely after listening to the children read at the speed of snail. It took them a long time to master their reading skills, and here’s why…
You see, all those “helpful” and “educational” television programs and books that I had been reading to my kids to get them excited about reading- well, they actually prolonged their progress and made it more difficult to learn.
These programs are making it harder for your child to grasp the SOUNDS of the letters, and it’s holding them back!
By the time I started helping my kids learn to read, they had already been programmed to know all the ABC’s via Nick Junior. This seems like a good thing, until you consider that the bulk of our reading lessons consisted of UNDOING all of what they learned.
I mean, what good is knowing the names of letters and the order if you don’t truly understand what they sound like? My kids couldn’t grasp connecting sounds, because all they knew was that certain words started with a letter. The sound of the letter by itself was lost in the word. For example, take A is for APPLE: logically we say it out loud and have “ah-p-el.” But if your kid doesn’t know that A makes an “AH” sound, and P makes a “PU” sound, what use is this??? Also, what’s up with the double P’s??? We had to spend hours and hours going BACK and learning each sound before we could move on.
Related: Raising Independent Learners.
Help Your Child Learn to Read Faster With This One Simple Trick:
What children REALLY need to know from the beginning is the SOUNDS of the letters!!!
Teaching them from the get-go, from a phonics perspective, will help them be able to read *most* words without getting too tripped up. Of course, the english language is crazy weird, so there will always be something they need to memorize…but that comes later.
For now, if you have a little ones and you want to make your homeschooling/reading journey easier, and FASTER, get into the habit of saying the SOUNDS, not the letter names in your day-to-day activities. I have consistently practiced this with my son since birth- when we read a book together about ABC’s, I state the sound as we go along (no need to state sound and name; that can be an overload for your child!).
Instead of A,B,C, it’s now:
“Ah, Bu, Ck!”
We also trace the shape with our fingers.
If you look at this from a child’s perspective, these aren’t “letters”. They are shapes that make sounds. As they get older, the children learn that these shapes and sounds come together to form words. TRUST ME, you will be shaving off valuable time that you could use doing something else, if you have the sounds already mastered. Focus on pronouncing the sound and how your mouth looks when you say that sound.
And remember, the goal should not be to memorize which order the letters go in- that can come later. The goal should be helping your child understand the sounds and the shapes.
Practice that, and you will be on a quicker road to reading!
P.S. I HIGHLY recommend the classic “Hooked on Phonics” set to help your child start their reading journey. I used both of these to help get us back on track and will be using them again for my third child.