Greyson could not have been even one yet when the desire to teach him to read hit me. Somehow, the idea was romanticized in my mind. Like if I could teach him to read, surely this homeschool think was a realistic possibility, right?! When we first started this program, I thought that I. was. dead. wrong. The first 10 lessons were downright painful. My sweet, mild tempered little boy did not want to settle down and learn, even though it was evident that he craved/needed this type of structured learning environment to flourish.
I, myself, honestly don’t remember learning to read. I just remember being able to read those beginning readers at a very young age. My poor mama is likely shaking her head (or rolling her eyes, ha!) thinking of the many hours she spent reading with me. I guess there is hope that Greyson won’t remember our battle of wills at the beginning of these lessons! I was at a loss as to how I would teach him until I discovered this book.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is absolutely brilliant in my opinion! As I read the introduction, (which you can also read the majority of on Amazon by clicking here) their approach to teaching kids to read just made sense to me. I love that the sounds are introduced slowly and built upon. I also love the emphasis on sounding out words, rather than memorizing that “cat” starts with “c”, for example, and therefore guessing that every word that starts with “c” is “cat”. I really believe that this program has targeted the intellectual capabilities/motivations for this 3-5 age range, because there have been times that I thought to skip a task because it seemed to be over Greyson’s head, but he will pick it up by just the second or third time! Each lesson either introduces a new sound or reiterates sounds already learned. They have approx 11-12 tasks per lesson that include repeating sounds they have learned, rhyming words, reading words made up of the sounds they have learned up to that point, and handwriting practice. Handwriting is introduced at an extremely slow pace, however this seems to work well for Greyson and I have noticed a huge improvement since we started! In lesson 13, your child will read their first three-word sentence that is paired with a simple black and white illustration. From there on both a sentence (or short paragraph) and accompanying picture appear in every lesson. Greyson loves these! It is so fun to see him not only reading the sentences, but comprehending them! How do I know he comprehends what he is reading, you ask? I know when he giggles about “the little fish sat on the fat fish.” It’s pretty clear he’s got it and something like that would be funny to a 3 year old boy! ha! We just finished lesson 39 and Greyson breezed through the four sentence paragraph that totaled 29 words! I’m not a proud mama or anything! Ha!
Currently the lessons are only taking us around 15 minutes per day, but I would alot for more time in the beginning (or after a break from lessons for 3 days or more.) Also, the introduction recommends practicing a few lessons, however, I only practiced the first lesson. The lessons following are similar and I find it easy to be up to speed on each task as I relay it to him. Do take the time to read the introduction though. There is much useful information, and it gave me motivation to persevere in the program. A teacher friend also introduced me to BOB books, which complement the program perfectly. Greyson knows enough sounds to read a few of these small books all on his own, which gives him such a sense of accomplishment!
Greyson is also spotting sounds that he knows all over. I often hear “There’s an ‘mmm’ Mommy!” while we are driving down the road. He is even putting it together that certain spoken words start with sounds that he knows. For example, today when he heard me say “God” he said “‘g’, ‘g’, ‘g’, Greyson. Mommy, ‘God’ and ‘Greyson’ start with ‘g’.” (Not sure about the punctuation there? That was rough! Ha!) It’s pretty fun to witness his wheels turning.
In our homeschool, we are mainly focused on reading currently. At the rate we are going, we will be done with this reading program in March, so we will shift our focus to numbers/math at that point in time. Otherwise we are doing crafts, playing some of our favorite preschool games (which I plan to share soon), learning a little theology with this book and the North Star catechism, lots of imaginative play, and watching Octonauts which has provided more education on sea life than I could ever hope to know. The boy schools me in that realm on the daily. Ha! Don’t worry, he also has lots of social interaction with his brother and friends from church!
How have your kids learned to read? Was it a struggle or a joy? (Or a combination of the two like it has been for us?) Let me know in the comments!