My eldest is not a reader. He’s more of a numbers kind of guy. We tried a bunch of traditional methods for learning to read and it just wasn’t working for him. Part of this might be on me, for trying too early. Part of it was just the style of teaching clashing with his learning style. Learning to read was too much work. It was dry and difficult and boring. Eventually, he started to hate reading..and he wasn’t even really reading yet!
This is a large part of what made me go online, research other “teach to read” methods, and stumble upon the Charlotte Mason teaching methods. I finally invested in the Simply Charlotte Mason Delightful Reading kit and it’s been exactly what my son needed.
You don’t NEED to buy this kit; I did largely in part because of the convenience, and the step-by-step guide for the parent. All you really need are a notebook and pencil, some letter tiles (old scrabble tiles, junior scrabble tiles, or letter magnets work well) and some familiar, simple poems or rhymes. We’re using Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses right now.
I let my son pick the poem he wanted to work through, and I read it with him. At this point, he was able to read several words on his own. We picked one of the words he had trouble with to work on. Proud.
First, I had him find the word on the page again, and then find letters to spell it out with. He said the word again, then was able to write it in his word book.
Next, I asked him if he could think of any other words that rhymed with proud or had the “ou” sound in it. He came up with several on his own, and he built them with the letter tiles, one at a time, read them again, then wrote them in his book.
Our goal was to come up with at least 5 words, and he came up with even more! Super proud boy. He came up with loud, bound, mound, round, sound, and pound. I’m not picky about his handwriting for this; he works on that with his copywork. I don’t want to discourage his reading by nit-picking on his letters.
All of this happened in less than 10 minutes. Keep lessons short! One of my goals is to teach my children the habit of paying attention; long lessons will set them up for failure in this. But if they are engaged and interested, it is no trouble at all to pay attention for 5 or 10 minutes. And then I can praise them, “You did well! You learned several new words and you paid close attention the whole time!” If we’re doing a lesson and I find that the child I’m working with is becoming bored or distracted over and over, it’s time to stop and move on to something new. Gradually, they learn to keep attention on what they’re doing.