Teaching My Baby To Read

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The Psychology of Bob Books

Keeping track of Bob Book progress

Keeping track of Bob Book progress

I have no research or data to back this theory up, but I think that 17 is the magic number for Bob Books.

The 17th book was when it all started coming together for my four-year-old daughter Jenna.  Before that, she needed a lot of scaffolding.

The first set of Book Books was the hardest. Then she started set 2 and stalled right around “Up Pup”.  At that point we purchased the Bob Books Sight Words set from Costco, along with a Princess Book for motivation.

Bribery works!

Bribery works!

Each Bob Book “unlocked” a Princess story. Jenna was incredibly determined to make this happens. She white-knuckled it through the first 5 books of the new set.

Then something magic happened.

After reading her 17th Bob Book, three times each, it became easier for her. Independent reading became enjoyable. Most importantly, Jenna started seeing herself as a reader. She started pointing out words everywhere and sounding them out.

Does this mean she’s polishing off the rest of the Bob Books yet? No, not at the moment. But Jenna’s reading the books she’s already mastered over and over and over again.

We have Bob Books floating around all over the house. It’s actually getting kind of annoying.

Two sizes of Bob Books

Two sizes of Bob Books

A funny thing is that Jenna is convinced that the bigger Bob Books are easier than the smaller ones, which isn’t necessarily true. The Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten set is on par with Bob Books Set 2-Advancing Beginners. The larger format is from Costco, the smaller format is from Amazon.

But since things started “clicking” for Jenna with the bigger, Sight Words set, she thinks the larger format is easier. I bet if I went back to Costco and bought the larger version of Set 2, Jenna would think they were super easy too!

The take-home message here, is that if you’ve been using Bob Books at home, be patient, be creative, and be persistent.

Hold on until the 17th book! Then drop me a line and share your story. Was #17 magic for your child too?

What’s in the pumpkin?

What's in the pumpkin? Read to find out!

What’s in the pumpkin? Read to find out!

Reading requires stamina. I get reminded of that over and over again every time my daughter Jenna(4) reads a  Bob Book.

Jenna knows her letters, she knows her sounds, and she can sound out words. But her first time reading any new Bob Book is extremely laborious. Pages 1-2 are great. Then by page 5 she’s rolling around on the couch.

Some teachers would take the “Hold off! She’s not developmentally ready!” approach. My opinion is that 5-10 minutes a day of phonics isn’t going to hurt a four-year-old.

I also know that the second and third time Jenna reads a Bob Book (the next day, and the day after that), she breezes through it.  So I don’t think this is about developmental readiness as much as about developing stamina.

Day one of introducing a new book, I’ve got to bring my A-game.

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Building words is a good start.

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Incentives can work too.

What your seeing up above is what’s in the pumpkin! I went to Target and bought ten items from the dollar spot.

What's in the pumpkin? Read to find out!

Now, every time Jenna finishes a new book from Bob Books Set 2-Advancing Beginners, she gets to pick a new pumpkin surprise.

Amazingly, her reading stamina has improved over night. 😉

Yes, it’s important to use positive reinforcements with caution. Eventually I want Jenna to read because she loves reading, not because she wants a junky prize from China!

But right now, I want to her practice, practice, practice. I know from experience that by the time Jenna can get through Bob Books Set 3- Word Families, she’ll think reading is a lot of fun.


Bob Books and Fingernail Polish

A special treat...and a captive audience!

A special treat…and a captive audience!

My four-year-old daughter Jenna is on the very last book in Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers.

She had been cranking away at Bob Books, and filling up her chart, but then she decided to take a break, and I honored that.

But today we cut a deal.  She’d work on the last Bob Book if I brought out the nail polish.

Jenna loves having her fingernails painted, but I’m not a fan, even though we have the supposedly eco-friendly polish.  Sitting around and waiting for fingernail polish to dry is the worst…but it also presents a very captive audience!

Next time I think I might have her Kindle charged, for a special showing of Meet the Phonics – Blends.

Keeping Track of Bob Books

A quick little note means so much.

A quick little note means so much.

I know you aren’t supposed to compare children. I know, I know, I know!

But I’m so glad that four years ago, I had the foresight to jot down a few notes on the back of the envelopes I made to store each homemade Bob Book game.  Most importantly, I wrote down the date when my son Bruce finished reading each book.

Now, four years later, I have a rough idea about what track my daughter Jenna is on.  They both finished the same Bob Book at approximately exactly the same age.

Will she be reading Magic Tree House Books in Kindergarten like her brother Bruce?  Will she be cranking through Harry Potter at age six?  Who knows.  What I do know, is that at the moment, Jenna’s reading development is almost identical to her brother’s progress.

Is this related to my teaching strategies?  Again, I have no idea.  I wish I could tell you.