One of my favorite things in grammar school was getting my scholastic mini paper book catalog. Each time I got it, I was so excited. Reading has always been important to me and it has been something that I have loved since childhood. As my oldest son approached Kindergarten age, my Mom mentioned something about reading before Kindergarten. I had never thought of this and left it to “won’t they learn it in school?” As I thought about it more, I thought of the advantages William might have should he know how to read before entering Kindergarten. One of the main thoughts that came to my mind is that when he entered Kindergarten, education would be familiar to him. This motivated me to find something that would help me teach William to read.
William my firstborn, had energy seeping out of every pore of his body. He had a hard time sitting and concentrating, so finding a program to help him learn to read, seemed a task that would be challenging. I remember searching through programs, looking at all the materials and supplements, most with a hefty price. I knew I needed something simple for myself and William. I had never taught reading before. What I didn’t know is that the program that I was about to find was going to enhance my love of reading.
I searched Amazon.com; it is my favorite place to find books. Sifting and sifting, I came across a book titled, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lesson. I thought, simple enough! I could do 100 Lessons and I could do Easy! The book arrived in the mail, I read the instructions. William I got started. We got to lesson 10 or so and William lost interest. And, for me, it wasn’t so easy. We took a little break, I brainstormed and when we returned, we used balloons I made out of construction paper to focus his attention. As time progressed, I used cardstock and dry erase paper, so that we could reuse our balloons. We posted them around our apartment and he enjoyed moving from topic area to topic area, learning to read. We called it Balloon Reading. We took a couple more breaks here and there. We finished 100 lessons by early Kindergarten.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons was a great book to establish the basics with William. I am currently using it with my daughter. She will enter Kindergarten next school year. Some days are hard for her. I think it is the concentrating part that is the hardest. Trying not to have too many other distracting events going on at the same time. That can be challenging. I have a little boy that is 22 months. That can get distracting.
After teaching William to read, my interest sparked in teaching children to read. I found many books on the topic and continued learning. Establishing a strong reading base for any child before entering school has many benefits, I have been able to see them first hand. I enjoy knowing that William is able to read instructions and is also able to take a lot of the responsibility of his homework on himself. Working one on one or in a small group gives children time to process what they are learning without feeling pressured or falling behind. Establishing a strong reading base is the first ingredient of a prosperous education. Please know that I am not saying that reading is not learned at school. My personal belief that learning how to read one on one or in small groups gives an added bonus.
With all of the initiatives to improve education, it’s hard to argue that any are more important than making sure kids can read. Doing so is, of course, more than a matter of selecting an effective reading program; it involves early literacy at home, the availability of reading material, summer reading, and more. (When Should kids be able to read? By Valerie Strauss (The Washington Post http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/reading/when-should-kids-be-able-to-re.html)
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