Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My baby can read

What follows will be considered a boring, TMI/homeschool mom post. If that's not your bag of beans, please feel welcome to simply click away now.

As a teacher, there is probably no greater joy than to see a student finally grab hold of the material being taught, and understand it. That's the goal, after all - to teach in a way that effectively passes on what you know, to them.

When my 9 and 10 year old started homeschooling, I had never before taught anyone to read, so that process was brand new (and quite frightening, I might add) to me. While my 9 year old picked it up right away, it was much more difficult to teach my 10 year old. She has the type of personality that simply blocks out anything difficult to grasp, so it was a major adventure in finding a method to teach her that would actually work. We finally did find something that helped more than anything else, and that was this book.

Noah The Noah Webster's Reading Handbook teaches children to read from a foundational level of phonics. Short vowel, one syllable words to begin with, and short lessons to go over each day. I'm a firm believer in mastering a skill before advancing to the next level, and this book reinforces that method.

We used it with Jordan, (Rachel liked it but she was already beyond the beginner level by the time we got it), then when it was time for Samuel to learn to read, he devoured it. Now, we're using it with Ruth and she's powering through it as well. I've created flash cards to compliment the lessons, so after she does the daily lesson she does the flashcards as well, and she's just impressing me to no end, how well she's doing. I really wanted to focus on her reading skills before she "officially" starts the fuller, kindergarten curriculum so this has been a real blessing. She'll turn five in July and by the fall, she'll be ready to really take on the full lessons.

Kindergarten Phonics ReadersAlong with the reading handbook and flashcards, is this great little series of books. The Kindergarten Phonics Readers are a perfect compliment to the reading handbook, because they introduce the same simple, short vowel words in conjunction with the reader. At the beginning of each story there is a list of words to focus on, and we go over the word list first (sounding them out if we have trouble). I cannot tell you how much my kids have loved these little readers. They're bright and colorful, the illustrations by the incredibly talented *Vic Lockman are very cute (you'll instantly recognize his work, even if it's been years since you've enjoyed comics!), and the stories are God glorifying! Imagine that, you get visually appealing books, they help your kids learn to read, the kids LOVE them, and they give God the glory. You're not going to get that in a public school system, I guarantee it.

So, my baby is learning to read. She takes these books to the couch with her after formal lessons are over with, and she tries to read them by herself. She loves the characters, loves it when she gets all the words correct, and puts the books back in HER desk when she's done with them (as opposed to putting them on the bookshelf where they've been sitting, just waiting for her to be ready for them). Yes, I am one happy homeschooling teacher-mom. My baby can read!

*Be sure to check out some of the great Christian titles on the Vic Lockman Bookshelf!