Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reading Lessons...Rewarded

Almost two years ago, I started beginning reading lessons with Bo.  He had been eager to learn to read, asking every few days from the time he was about 4 and 1/2.  I held him off from reading until 5 and 1/2 by making an alphabet book and working on phonemic awareness activities with him.

We began our reading instruction in September of 2009.  It was a learning experience for me as well.  I am a former Kindergarten teacher in the public school system and I decided to teach Bo using Charlotte Mason's suggestions in Home Education rather than the way I was accustomed to teaching reading.
 Tommy is to learn to read today-
"I like little pussy,
Her coat is so warm-"
and he is to know those nine words so well that he will be able to read them wherever they may occur henceforth and forevermore.
We write in good.big print hand 'Pussy'.  Tommy watches with interest:  he knows the letters and probably says them as we write.

Interest at once;he knows the thing, pussy, and the written symbol is pleasant to his eyes because it is associated with and existing idea in his mind.
He is told to look at the word until he is sure he would know it again.
Then he makes 'pussy' again from his own loose letters.
Then the little bag containing our two bags is turned out and he finds the word...lastly,
the little sheet with the poem printed on it is shown to him and he finds 'pussy'
Coat, little, like, is, her, warm ,I, so are taught in the same way.
He knows words now, but he cannot yet read sentences.  Now for the delight of reading.
Tommy uses the loose words cards to make sentences and then the poem is revealed to him.
His next reading lesson consists of making word faimilies with the words from the poem.
-Home Education, pages 217-219

The biggest difference I noticed in the methods was the very large reading vocabulary the Charlotte Mason way provided early on.  The stories I chose to begin reading instruction with were rich and interesting, not like the decodable readers I was most familiar with.

Miss Mason sums up the difference best...

Today he is to be launched into the very middle of reading, without any 'steps' at all, because reading is neither an art or a science, and has, probably, no beginning.

We began with the Treadwell Primer from Mainlesson.  We mixed those stories up with some science readers I had on hand from my time as a teacher.  I also purchased McGuffey's First Reader for some structured practice.
He flew through McGuffey's and we moved to some more  easy readers that I had purchased at the thrift...Frog and Toad...Little Bear...etc.
 He recently finished reading Christian Liberty Nature Reader.  I tried to preview each reading and pre-teach any words I thought he would have trouble with.  I ended up reviewing any difficult words after the reading.

Our reward after almost two years of reading instruction...this common sight...


Carissa said...

I have to admit I became a little teary eyed while reading this... JUST PRECIOUS! It is always so inspiring for me to read these kind of loving, nurturing posts!!

Good job! Oh if every child could be loved this much!


Amanda said...

So heartwarming.

Those are all very great books you have chosen for him.

I have that primer on my list to add to our curriculum with Levi for this fall. How did you like it?

Holli said...

I really loved all of the books we chose. The Primer was repetitive enough to offer confidence early on. I did forget to mention in the post that we made about ten decodable stories of our own that he illustrated to offer practice at the beginning of reading instruction.