Sunday, August 9, 2009


The answer to this question is really very simple. I teach her to read, because I think she can, and she is eager to learn. I was an early reader myself. According to a family lore, I was reading reasonably well at 3. And, no, I wasn’t bored when I came to “real” school. I was just enjoying the fact that most of the subjects were easy for me and always read ahead. I didn’t skip years, but was a straight “A” student all years in a very competitive school. I do believe that learning to read early opened me to a world of literature and a world of knowledge earlier. I believe that it also helped me to master a foreign language (English) relatively easy. And I want to give this gift of early reading to Anna as well. Interestingly this blog started as my reaction to the book that I read in February. It was called Straight Talk About Reading. I wanted to share about what I learned, so I started writing this blog. Essentially, the book talked about the steps needed to acquire literacy, and what can be done on each step to promote reading. It’s amazing for me to see how Anna zoomed through a lot of those steps in 6 short months. In February she knew her alphabet pretty well, but she was still very much confused about sounds vs. letters. Now she can rhyme, she knows the beginning sounds of words, she can point the words on the page based on their beginning sounds, and she can read simple words. More and more often she asks me to read a particular word to her, and I catch her trying to sound the words out. She slowly learns more difficult rules – for example, that t and h together make th sound. We try to do some sort of phonic activity every day – Progressive Phonics was an invaluable resource, but we also read phonics books, rhyme together, hunt for words around us that begin with a particular sound, etc. We didn’t progress to sight words yet, but she picks up short sight words herself. The challenge that I see is not what to do, but how to keep her enthusiasm without making learning to read an unpleasant chore. That’s why I always try to get her to initiate phonics activity and stop before she wants to stop. If she doesn’t want to read on a particular day, I don’t push her. I don’t want any power struggle associated with learning, and especially with learning to read. Occasionally we have “fights” with her wanting to have more “reading games” and me trying to keep her from going to saturation point. It’s really an exciting journey for me, and I hope to keep it the same for her. Will we go to fluency in this year (meaning, she will read simple books by herself when she is 4?). I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think that if her desire to read keeps up, we will have a new generation of early readers in our family :)


Susana said...

This is a great post and I'm glad you shared her progress--what you are/have done to teach her. I really enjoy reading about this each week.

I think you are doing a super job and she is enjoying it and eager!!

johanna said...

inspiring! have ordered the book to have a read!

Ticia said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I now have a new blog to find about reading. I've always been amazed at how well your little girl reads.

Er-u-di-tion said...

A great activity to expose children to sight words is playing a board game called, Er-u-di-tion.

This award winning game incorporates over 300 sight words and the letters of the alphabet and their basic phonic sounds in an enjoyable, engaging activity, providing both teachers and parents with a useful tool.

Cards are categorized so children of all reading levels can play together!

Jackie H. said...

Thanks so much for leaving a link to all of these great posts. It's so interesting to follow the path of another reader. I've been amazed at how just reading to my son has affected him. I taught struggling readers before I became a stay at home mom and it breaks my heart to think, if only someone had read to them...I haven't explicitly taught him anything in reading. We have played some games with letters and sounds but he's already just picked up letter ID and beginning sounds. It's crazy powerful reading with your child is. I'm really enjoying your blog! And wow! Fourth grade reading level. I bet you guys are devouring some really great books right now!!!