Archive for January 15th, 2009

Teaching Reading – Part 2

Learning sounds

We use baby sign with our children to enable them to communicate before they can talk, so it was a very natural step to learn letters and their sounds using gesture or sign.  We adopt the gestures from Jolly Phonics for the single letters of the alphabet (a,b,c,d…) and then I teach digraphs (two letters that make one sound eg. ee)  informally and then through their spelling program.  I have worked with children who need more steps to be able to read (eg.  learning digraphs individually as they would letter sounds), but I have found that my kids learn them very naturally after they get the reading explosion happening.

Early Readers

We use the Fitzroy readers as the first set of readers. I love these readers as they are phonologically easy to decode and provide a real sense of achievement as the child reads them.  They are colourfully illustrated and progress quite slowly so that slower readers can still find success.  they also have workbooks which I use for ‘penmanship’.  that is, we do the worksheets for handwriting practice more so than the spelling practice that comes from it (though, that’s a bonus!)

Sight words

I try not to use flash cards or to teach sight words out of context.  I think it is quite difficult to memorise what ‘the’ looks like if their are no other words aorund it.  If I were to put ‘the’ on a flash card, it would be with a noun eg. ‘the cat’.  Fitzroy readers introduce sight words gradually throguh their readers and so I just follow their sequence.  If one of my kids comes accross a sight word elsewhere that they haven’t learned, I explain that “it’s a word that they can’t sound out, they just have to know it”

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