Saturday, September 3, 2011
As I mentioned in the last post, children are ready to read at different ages and trying to teach them too early does more harm than good. But here's a method I used that allowed many young children to start reading while not pressuring the others.
Each day when the preschoolers I taught lay down for naps I'd play a story tape followed by a phonics record that repeated the letter sounds. (Since I used tapes and records you can tell that was long ago.) Then I'd play quiet music as they drifted off to sleep.
Every morning at Circle Time I'd spend a few minutes showing them the letter of the day and telling them the the short vowel or hard consonant sound it made. Then I'd tell each child how their name would be pronounced if it started with that letter or had it in the first syllable. For example, if the letter of the day was F I might tell a kid named Dan, "If your name started with F it would be Fan." If the letter of the day was E I'd tell that child his name would be "Den."
I'd congratulate those who did have names starting with the letter of the day. That's all the actual reading instruction I'd give.
And, of course, I read to the kids a lot, sometimes using big books and tracing my finger beneath the words as I read. I'd also let the children choose books they wanted me to read to them.
Quite a few of my students started reading spontaneously when they were about four years old and a few did so earlier. I hope the method also helped the ones who weren't yet ready to learn reading in Preschool to do it when they got to 'big kid school.'