Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Reading and Writing

One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling for me is trying not to push too hard.  I am a natural teacher and would love to just sit down and instruct my kids on how to do this or that, but I realize that is not the best way to teach…especially not when you are trying to teach your own because inevitably some head-butting and resistence will come up.  I know kids can learn to read as young as 3 with rote practice and memorization, but for me I want so much more than for my kids to know HOW to read.  I want them to LOVE to read.  I know my kids will learn to read eventually and I have a great respect for the hardcore unschooler who can just let go and wait for their child to unlock the mystery of reading on their own.  I have decided that we will have reading instruction, but when the kids ask for it or express an interest.  The good news is I don’t think I will be waiting much longer!

Last week I took the kids to the library and H had an immediate interest in books with a certain urgency he has not expressed before.  I am not exactly sure how to describe it, but basically he was interested in a specific book that he heard about on some TV show and had absolutely no interest in working on the computers (which is usually what both children rush to).  It had been at least a month since we had been to the library.  He wanted picture books, comic books, and readers; he was all over the kids section just exploring and looking more intently than before.  We picked out several books and came home.  We read quite a bit of one of the comic books he chose and then I asked him if he wanted to read a BOB book.  He agreed and he did it!  He read the first book through twice and then wanted to read the second book.  Then he was so excited to share his new accomplishment with Dad and Grandma.  I was so proud of him and hope we can continue on this reading road and not have this just be a peek into the world of reading. 

Reading and writing go hand in hand and a few days after our reading excitement H made a big writing jump too!  Grandma was reading the newspaper and the boys took an interest in the toy ads.  So she took the teachable moment to have them write a wish list and encouraged H to write his own.  I heard what was going on and unable to resist the opportunity to ‘teach,’ I came in to assist him in making his list.  It has been over a year since H has taken ANY interest in writing, refusing to even write more than the first letter of his name.  But on Sunday he sat down and wrote a list of about 6 things he wanted.  I helped him sound out and spell the words and pointed out the letters on a chart for reference.  I also helped him with the letter S because I know that making the curvy shape takes some muscle memory and practice (that he hasn’t had). 

I’m so happy and proud, though since he just turned 5 I find myself having those ‘he’s growing up so fast’ moments way too often now.  

A little info on our reading background:
We have practiced Zoophonics off and on for about 2 years, so he has a good basis of letter sounds and he knows the names of all of the letters.  The BOB books are set up so that only a handful of letter sounds are used in the entire book and the text is heavily based on the simple pictures, so they can use the visual clues to decipher the words.  I created a fishing game to practice the words in the book and words in the same ‘word family;’ in this case –AT words. 

The fishing game is: fish shaped index cards with the words on one side and a face on the other and uses paperclips on the cards to attach to a magnet on the pole.     

(Ignore the mess in the background)
Also came across this great link for some BOB printables on Pinterest today: http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/2012/11/free-bob-books-printables-for-beginning-readers-Mat-Sam.html