Reading is something that is vey important to me so naturally, teaching my children to read is high on my agenda. Elsa was an amazing little book worm when she was little, super smart and excited to start the next story. Sadly, reading is definitely not something she loves any more. She loves sport, she loves music, she loves maths and creating graphics on the computer. She loves dorky stuff like music theory and anything sciencey. She does not love English or anything relating to words. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong…I’m a writer for god sake, how can my child hate reading?!
Jude loves stories. I feel bad because we made great headway with his reading but life took over and I wasn’t able to make books as often as I’d have liked.
I say “make” books because he didn’t learn to read through the standard way you’d expect. When he was about 6, we learnt about sight reading and it really suited Jude. I’d print off single words in a dominant colour (normally red), horizontally across a full A4 page and show Jude a series of words every day. Flash card stylee. I’d made a stack of related word pages and bind them into books. So for example, I’d make a title page of “Transport” and then the following pages would read “car” “tractor” “bicycle”, etc. with the corresponding image printed on the opposite side.
I’m not explaining this well. Basically you’d open the book and on the right it would say “car” and on the left there would be an image of a car. It meant he could read books and look at pictures independently and that’s what he did. He loved it.
The idea is that you progress on from one word to two. So “car” becomes “blue car” “green tractor”, etc. And build up from there.
I really want to make Jude some new books so have promised myself I will make a folder on my laptop of word pages to print off next time I’m near a printer.
Jude didn’t know letters or phonic sounds back then which is why we focused on sight reading. He’s really good with letters and sounds now – partly thanks to his obsession with the game “I spy” which his fantastic school have completely taken advantage off. But do you know how to progress from learning your initial phonic sounds?
Jude’s target this year is to learn the end sounds of words. So for example “I spy with my little eye, something ending with t” and really emphasise the t sound. We don’t call it “tee” because then he isn’t hearing the sound.
Jude has to work out what word is – so it could be cat. Or bat. Or hat. Something with a t ending. It gets him hearing the separate parts of the word and only once he hears the parts can we start teaching him to put the word sounds together.
It’s so clever and something I really want to encourage. Reading would be amazing for Jude and I know he’d love it. He has so many favourite books and still requests you make up a story when he goes to bed. “Once upon a time, there was a boy called Jude…”
He can’t read words anymore but moving forward, that’s my aim for this year. I want to get to a point where he can read a good chunk of words so we can eventually move onto early stage books. How wonderful would that be? I’m actually excited at the prospect of him being able to tell himself stories or even him reading me a story.
Is reading something you do a lot as a family?