Teaching My Baby To Read

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Put a window on it

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Get out your scissors, moms and dads. Here’s a trick straight from the classroom that will make it easier for you to teach your child to read. Give your young reader a special bookmark called a word window.

My daughter Jenna has just turned five-years old and is chugging along at a first grade reading level. She can read between 75 and 100 words but still get easily frustrated. Too many words on a page overwhelms her.

An easy solution for this is using a word window. A word window is a bookmark with a hole cut out in the middle. In the past I’ve made fancy ones out of construction paper and clear tape.  But simple word windows made out of plain white paper work well too.

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Eventually my daughter will outgrow word windows, but right now they are extremely helpful.

P.S. Got an older kid with reading issues? Word windows work for third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders too, especially if they have ADHD.

Letter and Number Reversals

Letter and number reversals, what is normal?  That’s a common question teachers hear from parents.  Here’s  a picture of Bruce’s math from yesterday morning.  As you can see, he’s not quite finished with it.  I’ll go back and make him fix the last problem, which should be 130 instead of 103, but the other number reversals don’t really bother me. 

My experience has been that letter and number reversals are developmentally normal until the end of second grade.  Entering third graders might even have some reversals the first few months of school, and come out of a third/fourth grade classroom two years later just fine.

But if it’s January of your child’s third grade year (age wise, not ability level) and they are still reversing, that could potentially be a red-flag for a learning disability.  That’s when to start worrying and get your child assessed as soon as possible. 

(As a side note for those of you interested in math, Bruce solved these problems on a white board with them rewritten horizontally.  His current strategy involves “busting open the hundred” to take away tens, his terminology for “ungrouping”.)