Friday, February 3, 2012

~On Teaching Reading~

     As you may know, I am a home school mom to three children, and have taught them to read for what seems like... forever???
 My children have not been easy to teach~ but, I have finally found what works!  Straight forward, simple, and to the point. :)
          A couple of months ago, I struggled with frustration over my oldest continuing to dislike reading (he's in 6th grade), my middle child having trouble "seeing" certain words, and my youngest constantly confusing several letters. A visit to the eye doctor proved there were problems with my readers' eyes.  My oldest needed to begin eye exercises to increase his "tracking" skills (otherwise, readers grow weary too soon); my younger two children had an Astigmatism in both eyes.  Knowing this information at least helped calm  mommy fears that I was doing something "wrong". I should have taken them to the eye doctor sooner!  
No glasses yet for my two youngest, but if they were in a regular classroom, they would for sure wear glasses and be near the front of the classroom (not a "bad" thing, of course).
She'd rather be singing in the rain ...   :)  :)
     At times I'm tempted to worry about my 1st grader confusing letters, then remember where we started and how far she's come. Knowing that her astigmatism sometimes causes phonics confusion, I force myself to slow down and practice more patience (Ack, I don't like that word, do you? I am lacking!!!).  :)
     How easy to complain to myself that I've never had an easy reader (how silly of me), instead of being thankful for what I've found works for us.
     Every child and parent has different learning styles, and I hope the following list is helpful to you, too:

     The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading  may seem to move slowly at first, but I have loved using this book with my kids- all the way through the 3rd/4th grade reading level. I strongly recommend purchasing the supplemental magnet board, magnet letter tiles, and flashcards. Using the book without the supplements will seem dry, and a bit boring. Children look forward to playing with magnet letters after their lessons, and will make concrete connections with what was learned in the book. Also, mom can have flashcards ready & handy, instead of rushing to create some at the last minute. Sometimes, saving time is well worth the money spent. Check Amazon out for deals!!   :)

    Explode The Code workbooks are simply wonderful!!!  I love using them in addition to the above resource, and the children absolutely look forward to their phonics work/practice.  I've alternated days between The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and the Explode the Code workbooks. Using both in one day for an early reader would overwhelm the child, unless you have an advanced student. Older grades (like 3rd), may be fine using both in one day (don't bother purchasing the Teacher's guides, unless it's important to you that your child completes all the post-test's at the back of each workbook). I usually purchase the workbooks from a Mardel store or online.

     I've loved starting my readers out with Bob Books! I've been able to check-out all the book sets through our Public Library, but have often thought that I should have purchased them when my oldest was learning how to read. We would have put them to good use over and over again.  :)
      I also love Abeka's Basic Phonics Set and their First Grade Readers. As a former Abeka user, I can tell you that I'll always love their readers!!!!    :)   :)
        FYI, Peace Hill Press recommends this list of Beginning Readers. Most of these books can be found through the Public Library.
     Now to figure out math programs .... lol!! I'll tackle this more difficult subject next time (hopefully). I'm not promising I'll have it all figured out, I'll simply share a few discoveries.

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