We taught our children to read–most of them–before they started kindergarten. (Some of them didn’t want to learn how to read before kindergarten, so I just worked with them at their own pace. They all caught up to each other after a while.)
How did we do that?
First, I read to them from the time they were in my arms, board books. Lane and I took turns reading to them at night. I am still reading to my children, and hope to for all of our lives. It is one of my great happinesses in life. (To see books I recommend, go to my Home Library page.)
Second, I taught them the names of the letters of the alphabet, and then what sounds each of those letters make.
Third, I taught them to combine those sounds through blending. We read little phonics readers.
Fourth, I helped them memorize little words through the little books we read over and over.
During each of these steps, we had family scripture study. And we prayed. We always pray over everything! We read the scripture “readers” aloud and, when the child was ready, had each child repeat words back after us, parroting what we read. This was how we did both the “readers” and the real scriptures. We did this both as a family and individually. As the child’s decoding abilities increased, we had them sound out and read the little words they recognized or wanted to try. We kept inviting them to try words, and little by little, day by day by week by month by year they learned how.
They are each wonderful readers.
It’s not because Lane or I are geniuses. And it’s not rocket science. It simply takes a lot of patience and a lot of love and a lot of time and access to great books! I laugh when I think of all the times I almost fell asleep reading aloud to a child after lunch or before naps because I was so tired! (Case in point: the photo above!)
Reading together creates wonderful bonds. I think we must have been read to in heaven before we came to earth! I feel blessed that my mother and father–but particularly my mother–read to me. The last paragraph in poem “The Reading Mother” captures my feelings about how reading has blessed my life.
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a Mother who read to me.
Here are posts I have written about learning to read or reading together:
“Literature is my Utopia” (Helen Keller, building a digital library, great deals on Kindle books)
Before I started this blog, I kept a couple of blogs, including one that was solely book recommendations: rac-books.blogspot.com. I don’t keep that blog anymore, but I also haven’t transferred all of the reviews over here.