Learning to Read

We’ve been working on learning to read with T1 and it’s been a long journey to say the least.  I hope our story can be helpful to you as you embark on your reading adventure too!

T1 learned most of his letters and letter sounds from watching Super Why. With that under the belt, we wondered what’s next? Reading? T1 enjoys a good story and will sit patiently, listening to as many books as you are willing to read. Plus, we read to him daily and point out the words as we read. We thought he would only be too excited to learn how to read. This would be a cinch…..WRONG!

We started with trying to teach him simple CVC words, like cat, bat and hat with flash cards. He ended up guessing most of the words from the pictures on the card without actually reading the words at all. I’ve read that using picture clues to guess what the word is a part of the learning process but we really wanted him to sound out the word. So we ditched the cards.

Next, we tried simple books like What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig by Emma Virjan. I thought that he could get lots of practice reading the same words over and over and gain some familiarity with sight words. T1 has a really good memory. He memorized the book. Once again, not attempting to sound out the words…so we ditched the books.

I decided to get rid of all illustrations. No more clues. I asked others what they did and I received comments like ” She learned at school” or ” He learned on his own” or “I don’t know…we just read to him all the time” which were not comforting and most definitely not helpful. So I went on Pinterest to look for ideas and decided to try this one from kidsactivitiesblog.com.

It’s cheap, simple to make and really forces him to try to sound out the words. This worked well for us. We will flip to “bat” and just flip the first letter through the whole alphabet and make him read them all…cat, dat, fat, gat…real and fictitious words to get him used to sounding all the words out.

Then I created my own simple worksheet of 2 letter sounds (sorry it looks so ragged) or simple CVC words and we will do word bingo with it. Sometimes I get him to put circles or squares around the words and count them up at the end, incorporating some fine motor control practice and counting into the mix. I also like the free phonics worksheets from K5learning.com. You can print 75 pages for free per week at King county libraries.

Now that he is finally attempting to pronounce the words, we have moved back to the books. I quite like the We Both Read series by Treasure Bay Books (https://treasurebaybooks.com/free-samples/). Thanks Ashley for the recommendation! There are even free samples on their webpage or the books can be found in the King County library system. Parents read one page and the kids read the next so it makes it a little less daunting at the start. The K level introductory books are great way to start and we have now progressed to Level 1 (finally…)

At times, it really felt like an uphill climb and when T1 found ways to circumvent my attempts to teach him to read, it was really frustrating. I felt like Mr. Pocket in Great Expectations who raises himself out of the chair by his hair. But as Dory says, ” Just keep swimming” and we kept at it, finding different ways to work with him…and now, T1 can read simple books. Woooo! Now…on to T2 and T3. I sure hope this gets easier with experience.

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