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If you are new around here, you may not know that we are a homeschooling family. We made the decision to home school when Addie was very small. I had already begun teaching her the alphabet and the accompanying letter sounds, so I started to have the conversation with Jake that I was serious.
I didn’t decide this overnight, I had been raised around homeschooling. My stepmom home schooled my siblings, so I was exposed to this concept at an early age. The one thing that I was terrified of was teaching reading. I wasn’t confident in this area. Thankfully, I had a wealth of information in the form of my stepmom and after some research of my own, I found this to be a common worry among beginners. I thought, maybe a few of you are curious about how to teach your child to read. Whether it is as part of your homeschooling plan or to get them ready for kindergarten, this post will show you how I went about it all! Addie is now a great reader and we are about to begin teaching Piper.
First things first when teaching anything, figure out how your child learns. Addie is very creative and likes to use her hands, so I knew I needed to incorporate some artistic expression into her learning. We used paints, crayons and even shaving cream to help drive home letters and the sounds they make. This is the first thing you are going to focus on teaching.
Once you’ve figured out a way to engage your child, begin teaching the letters of the alphabet. Show your child the big A and little a. Tell them, “This is the letter A.” Let them know the sound that A makes. (Focus on the short sounds, A says ah, as in apple) In the book The Well Trained Mind, I learned that if a child can tell you the sound an animal makes, they can learn the sounds of the letters in the alphabet. It’s true, with repetition, they will be able to tell you what each letter says, and that is the groundwork for learning how to read.
As a helpful tool, I grabbed these flashcards. You can make your own as well, I just loved that they had an example of something that starts with the sound of the letter you are working on. We did different games with these to help Addie master the letters.
Once you are confident your child can recognize each letter and the sound it makes, you can start going through Phonics Pathways. The book begins with the vowels. It reviews the sounds of Aa, Ee, Ii, Oo and Uu. Depending on your child, you can move through this section as slowly or quickly as possible, but it is important that they know the sounds that each letter in the alphabet makes to move forward.
Phonics Pathways then starts teaching children two letter blends, and so on. I love this book because as a parent who has never schooled anyone in the past and is just getting her feet wet, it walked me through it all. We focused on a page a day for a while.
Along with this book, I bought magnetic letters and backed the lessons with practice. We used them to get a good grasp of each letter, capital and lowercase. We practiced blends with them and generally used them to reinforce what Phonics Pathways was teaching us.
You don’t need a lot for teaching reading. You simply need 15-30 minutes a day, a desire to teach your child and a couple tools. It’s scary to undertake but it is 100% doable and worth it. For me, it gave me the confidence I needed to dive into the rest of homeschooling without fear. Knowing I could teach my child to read was all I needed to give this my all. I hope this post helps you if you are a parent in the same boat.
Tell me below, do you home school? Do you want to but are nervous? Leave questions below of other things you’d like to see here and I will do my best to give you the tips and tricks I have learned!