Teaching My Baby To Read

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Your most important teaching tool is YOU!

For younger kids.

A daily Morning Message is really powerful.

Sometimes I feel like I need to spend money so that my kids can have educational materials that will give them a heads-up in life. But that really isn’t true.

Many of the most meaningful learning opportunities are completely free. Take Morning Messages for example. (More info here.)  Writing a daily Morning Message with your children is one of the easiest ways to teach them to read.

For younger kids.

For younger kids.

In this first example you can see my four-year-old is working on: phonics (dentist, it, fun), sight words (are, is, be, to), and the sentence pattern “We are going.” That’s  a whole lot of learning in five minutes of mommy and me time!

For older kids.

For older kids.

My eight year old son is already a competent reader, so he doesn’t need a Morning Message to reinforce phonics. A little help with other friendly reminders can’t hurt though.  😉

Sometimes Teaching My Baby to Read reviews rebooks or materials that cost money, but I hope that readers understand how committed I am to my mission of helping families from every social and economic background give their children educational advantages.

You, paper and a pencil can take your kids far!

Try to ignore this while eating breakfast. I dare you!

You can learn vocabulary while eating breakfast.

You can solve math problems in creative ways.

You can solve math problems in creative ways.

You can make your own personal dictionary.

You can make your own personal dictionary.

Truly, the most important learning tool you can give your children is YOU!

Bob Books Alternative

We’ve really been having fun with dot-stampers!

Here is yet another thing you can do with them: make homemade phonics books.

Jenna is 3.5 years old now, and can sound this book out if she’s feeling cooperative.  But no matter how she’s feeling, she likes to criticize how Spot the Dog turned out.  (He does look a bit like an elephant.)

We also have a set of Bob Books Jenna is working through.  But Jenna seems to do be more inspired by books in color.  So I really need to get the dot stampers out again, and make another book.

(For more on the how and why of homemade books for children, please click here.)

Teach a Three Year Old to Read

My daughter Jenna is almost three and a half.  I’ve been teaching her about letters and sounds since she was about 18 months old.

(Full explanation here.)

I used the same methods with her older brother, and by the time he was three he was reading Bob Books.  But every kid is different, and that’s okay.

Jenna knows all of her letters and sounds, and can sound out several words on her own.  More importantly, Jenna is super excited to “do reading”.  She’s pulling out materials, and asking to practice on a regular basis.

Game on!

Here are some of the things we have been doing:

Modified Ziggy games

I’ve previously mentioned how I bought the Ziggy game book from All About Reading, even though we aren’t actually using AAR.  At this point, the learning goals of the games are way too easy for her, but Jenna still really loves Ziggy.  So I’m bringing out the file folders and also pulling out some word cards.

The  way we play the game is that I hide the game pieces under high-frequency words that can be sounded out.  “Ziggy” asks Jenna to hand him the word that says _____.  Underneath the word is a game piece.  Jenna picks up the appropriate word, gives the card to me, and gives the game piece to Ziggy.  Simple?  Yes!  But for some reason Jenna loves this.

I have been pulling cards from this deck of words I already own.  It says “sight words”, but we have only been using the words that are decodable, like: but, and, cut, man etc. Then I realized that I could be making my own flashcards from the AAR activity book I purchased a while back.

Blast Off to Reading book

I purchased the AAR level 1 activity book because I was curious.  I’m a former Kindergarten teacher and I don’t believe that you need to buy a special program to teach kids to read.  That’s the whole purpose of my blog!  But I love All About Spelling, and so I really wanted to see a little bit of what All About Reading was like.  Plus (full disclaimer) I’m an AAL affiliate.

Anyhow, yada, yada, yada, AAR appears to be just as good as AAS.  If you really want a program to hold your hand through the whole teaching process, then AAR would be a really good choice.  I’m not personally going to use the full AAR program, but the activity book dovetails into what I’m already doing.

Leap Frog Easy Reader Phonics Kit

We have a really old Leap Pad kit that I had purchased for Jenna’s brother a long time ago for $30 at Fred Meyer.  Jenna’s the perfect level for it now, and thankfully it still works!  It uses the same characters as the Leap Frog Talking Words Factory videos, which is cool.

Please note, I’m including the links to Amazon for this kit at the bottom of the post, but that’s just so you can see what they look like.  I bought all three kits for $30!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that deal on Amazon.  I bet there are people selling these on Ebay though.  Once again, they are called “Leap Frog Easy Reader Phonics Kits”.

Talking Word Factory Videos

These are the two videos that I really credit teaching my son Bruce how to read.  Unfortunately, they weren’t a magic wand for Jenna.  But she still does ask to watch them every once in a while.  You can probably find these videos for free at your local library.


Starfall Learn to Read

Starfall

What really seems to work for Jenna (but what her older brother Bruce was totally uninterested in), is Starfall.com.  That’s been a really big help, and we’ve uprgraded to the $35/per year premium level.

Homemade Books

Custom books tailor-made for my child?  Did I mention they are free?  All I have to do is make them myself.  Jenna now has over thirty books that tell the story of her life.  How awesome is that?

That’s my update for now.  Hopefully we will be ready for Bob Books soon!