Well, you already know I love the number 3--especially when it comes to lists. So, it should come as no surprise that I have exactly 3 learn-to-read tricks!
Here is my disclaimer for this post: I am not a reading specialist, nor am I an educational specialist. I DO, however, know how to read, and I have helped exactly 1 child learn to read so far. If that were my only child, I'd have a 100% success rate. But, since I do still have 1 child yet to learn (she's 5), I guess that gives me a 50% rate--which actually is really stinky. So, maybe I have no credibility whatsoever in giving you reading tips... But, hopefully within a couple of months that youngest will jump the hurdle, and I can again have 100% bragging rights. Because we all know how important bragging rights are. Especially on Facebook, right?!! (Okay, you know I'm kidding, right?)
These 3 tricks are nothing magical or super secret. In fact, probably most of you already know about all 3. But, in case you don't--I'll share them with you here.
1. My NUMBER ONE Trick to help your child learn to read I totally stumbled upon. I wanted to buy my child a dvd for Christmas one year. I saw the Leap Frog Letter Factory, and thought it looked cute and educational. Little did I know then--that it would TEACH my daughter to READ. Now, no one is paying me to say this (as sad as that may be), but if you have a young child--by all means BUY THIS DVD. It is THAT GOOD!!!
Now that my younger daughter is learning to read, I see once again how this dvd teaches kids all of the letter sounds in a really fun way. I hear my younger daughter sounding out words using their technique. That's not to say that I don't help her learn her sounds. But, hands down, she is more motivated to "learn" from the dvd.
Looking on Amazon's site, I see that now they package 3 dvds together into 1 Learning DVD Set--with flashcards included. I might just have to purchase a set for myself. (Especially since Amazon is in no way reimbursing me to say any of this...doggone it). Having the flashcards that match the characters on the dvd might be a valuable memory tool. Plus, we don't have either of the other dvds--and knowing Leap Frog's reputation, I'm sure they are great.
2. Easy Reader Books - Personally, we have loved the Step Into Reading series of books...mostly because they are widely available, and inexpensive. Usually, we purchase ours at Walmart. I let our girls pick out their favorites...which, with our youngest, usually means a princess book!
For pre-readers, I would select the "Level 1" readers. For children already reading, I would select a level slightly HIGHER than they currently read. You want your child to stretch and be challenged with new words, but you do not want her to be so frustrated she stops reading the book.
I love these books because as you start out READING TOGETHER, your child will be motivated to read some of the easier words herself. The more you read the book together, the more certain words will pop out, and become familiar to her. Before you know it--she will be reading the entire book herself! And how PROUD she will be to have figured it out!!!
3. My 3rd trick is from my mom. She is a natural teacher (as well as a trained one), and has lots of tricks up her sleeves! Back when my oldest was just starting to recognize letters and their sounds, my mom told me to take note cards and label everything I could in the house. I labeled the wall, the floor, the ceiling, lights, lamps, tables...It almost got to be a game to see if I could label it! I did all of this one day while she was napping. When she woke up, she ran around the house wide-eyed and giggling. She KNEW things were labeled with their names, and she was BOUND and DETERMINED to figure every single one out!
In the beginning, I read many of the note cards as she asked. But, also I made her figure some out--using CONTEXT CLUES (a HUGE part of learning to read more difficult words.) Honestly, before I knew it, she not only knew all of the words on the cards, she recognized those words in different places. Uhm, folks, I believe that is called READING!!!
Like I said earlier in the post, none of these 3 things is magical or super secret. They are SIMPLE THINGS you can DO to help your child crack the reading code.
On top of those 3 Tricks above...here are 3 more ways to HELP MODEL GOOD READING. I think that's called a BONUS!
1. Model a love of reading--whether it's a good novel (yessss), the newspaper, a fun magazine, or even a cookbook.
2. Keep the teaching of reading FUN and LIGHT. You want your child to WANT to DO it. You are right now helping your child develop a life-long attitude about reading. Please please help it be a positive and fun attitude.
3. Treat learning to read like a treasure hunt. You'll help your child find "clues" along the way. Praise each step along the way--each sounded out letter is discovering a new clue towards learning to read! Each recognized letter on a road sign is one step closer to the treasure! Each recognized word in a familiar book is a celebration! Those first independently sounded-out words deserve a HUGE celebration--whether that be a crazy Mommy dance in the kitchen, or a trip to Sonic Happy Hour!
Okay, so I'm a little passionate about reading, huh? But, I figure--life is too short not to CELEBRATE THE MILESTONES. And for me, learning to read is the beginning of a beautiful journey like no other!!!
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