My philosophy on teaching reading is far different from many homeschoolers I’ve met. I believe that children can learn to read at a very young age. Children younger than 3 are introduced to letter names and sounds though aren’t expected to retain the information.
Once children are 3 years old they have the ability to learn letter sounds and how to use them at the same time. We focus on one letter per week. We do not learn the letters in alphabetical order. We learn them in an order that presents the highest number of CVC words for them to sound out. As we focus on a new letter each week we add it to the letters we've already learned to successfully read decodable texts.
When you give young children this power to successfully read they are so proud of themselves. They look forward to utilizing their new found skills in increasingly difficult books.
We can encourage a love of reading by providing children the opportunity to be successful readers. Giving them the opportunity to be surrounded by books encourages them to pick up a book, even if it just means looking at the pictures.
We also encourage a love of reading by demonstrating a love of reading. We can take the opportunity to read for ourselves as well as read to our children.
I love using a child’s interests to encourage them to read more. My oldest (a kinder) has a set of picture encyclopedias. His reading lessons go as follows:
· *He gets to browse through all the encyclopedias any time he is interested.
· *If he’s interested in something specifically we read the encyclopedia page about the topic. He reads the words he can read and I read the rest.
· *If that satisfies his thirst for knowledge on the topic we move on and browse again.
· *If he’s still interested in a topic after we read the encyclopedia we find other sources of information. Sometimes this means visiting the library, finding books around our home, or utilizing an online leveled book library. We find a text on his reading level about the topic of interest. We also find a text that is much harder that we can read together. He takes both books and highlights the words he can read (either with a highlighter or highlighter tape). This empowers him by giving him the responsibility to discover what he can do.
· *Lastly, we read the books together, over and over.
As we read together children are improving their reading skills and learning about ideas or reading stories on a topic of interest.
We read things according to our interest in the topic. We love reading because it satisfies something within us. The stories captivate us. The non-fiction texts empower us with knowledge. It’s crucial to give children the same satisfaction with appropriately leveled texts and support for their current skills.