Teaching ABC’s and Learning to Read

My daughter was a quick learner. She loved learning her letter sounds and was reading confidently by the age of 5. She knew all her letters and their sounds before we sat down to work on blending words. My son is another story. He has absolutely no interest in sitting still long enough to learn anything! The computer program that was a treat for my daughter to play, is like torture for him! He turned 5 in May and is doing Kindergarten level work. Despite the struggle, he affirms our decision to homeschool each and every day. The two of them are proof that kids develop differently and are all unique. If Taylor was in a classroom with 30 other kids his age, he very likely would be lagging behind and bringing home hours of work he did not complete while at school. Because he  is one out of a classroom of three, I have time for lots of trial and error! Here are some of the things we’ve tried.

Between book work and reading lessons, I switch things up as frequently as possible. Taylor has a short attention span, so we work on something for a while, then change the scenery. This video by Julia has come in handy. It’s an opportunity to cement a concept we have been working on in our book, and also a welcomed breather for me!

This is the same book my mom used to teach me to read, and the one I used with Natalie. Though Natalie knew all her letters before using this book, I still really like the approach when using it with Taylor. Taylor has not completely mastered the whole alphabet, but this book provides quick and rewarding results. Teaching kids to sound out words phonetically, and giving them easy words to read on their own almost immediately. Find it HERE.
Although Taylor has to be be forced to sit and use Starfall, it is still one of my favorite resources for letter sound learning. Natalie loved it and my 2 year old daughter loves it. The abc portion is free, but I highly recommend the extended membership based portion as well. Their app is great too.
We also love the Leap Frog fridge magnets. We have this one and this one.

Rewards…

Taylor is very rewards driven. We have a school store full of small and big prizes. This is the light saber he won when he was finally able to put all the letter magnets in order!
We use Handwriting without Tears – find it HERE
They also have great apps available for iPad and Android.

Games…

Another thing we know about Taylor is that he’s very competitive. Any way we can turn something into a game where he competes against someone, is more likely to hold his attention. I wish I could find the picture I took!! My husband created a large grid using sidewalk chalk on the driveway. He  mixed all the letters up, then would call out a letter and make the kids race to stand on the letter he called. Taylor actually loved this, as he loves racing and competing. He was upset when he didn’t win, but it kept his attention!
We have this puzzle by Melissa and Doug and all three kids 
have loved putting it together. Find it HERE
Hang in there! Every child is different and some are not ready to learn as early as others. If you find you are pushing too hard and they are not responding at all, maybe it’s ok to take a break and wait a little while. Don’t feel pressured! But most importantly, YOU CAN DO THIS!

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