Guide to Teaching your Preschooler to Read
Guide to Teaching you Preschooler to Read
I know the heading may sound crazy, but my youngest is 4 years old and has been very interested in learning how to spell things so I thought I would start to teach him to read. He is very familiar with his letters and letter sounds since we did all of my ABC activities together.
About Children Learning Reading
I was searching the internet to see what the best first steps would be to teach a preschooler to read. I stumbled across this program called Children Learning Reading. The creator of the program has taught all four of his children to read before age 3 using the program. He has also taught many other students ages 3-8 years old or struggling readers in 12 weeks.
This program is very similar to my color and ABC activities. Each lesson is only 5-7 minutes. And there is no pressure on the child to do the lesson. Repetition is also a big part in learning how to read. Jim emphasizes all of these things in his books.
I was very skeptical of this program at first. But I have to say, we are on Lesson 9 of 28 (about 3 weeks into the program) from the first book and I have already noticed a big difference in my son's "reading" ability. Before the program, he could tell you the sound of the first letter of most words, but since we have started he has become very interested in trying to sound out words himself. We were even writing special Valentine's the other day, I had to run get his sister up from a nap and when I came down he had sounded out the word love all by himself. He did spell it "LF," but I was super impressed that he attempted to sound it out and spell it by himself. Normally he would have waited for me to come back down and tell him each letter.
We are at the early stages of our reading journey. I'll provide an update when we complete the program! I just wanted to share the information in case any other parents were interested in teaching their preschooler how to read.
Update - End of Stage 1
My 4 year old and I just finished the Stage One lessons and are starting the Stage Two lessons. The Stage One lessons can definitely be completed in 12 weeks; however, I was finishing writing my book so I took my time teaching my son to read. We ended up completing the lessons in about 14 weeks. And he truly is a reader now!
He can read words, sentences, and short stories. When we go to the library I help my son pick out leveled reading books that he is able to read himself. He currently reads level one and some level two books. He likes to read over my shoulder as I work sometimes, and it shocks me when he is able to read the things I am typing. My husband and I will sometimes spell out words that we don't want the kids to hear, and he picks up on what we are spelling--I guess we will have to come up with a secret language now to communicate without the kids catching on haha!
Jim likes to emphasize doing each lesson a couple times a day for 2-3 days until your child really learns the new sound from the lesson, which is a great idea if your child has never been introduced to the letter or letter sound. However, my son had previously learned all of his letters and letter sounds during our time studying the ABC’s, so we usually only did each lesson once a day for 2-3 days. He really enjoyed when I would make up extremely silly sentences from the new words he was learning to read for him to practice his reading skills!
In Stage One he learned the basic phonic sounds of 22 letters of the alphabet. Now in Stage Two he is learning the tricky sounds, called digraphs. For example, he has learned the “ar,” “ea”, and “y” sound so far in Stage Two of the Children Learning Reading program. Since he learned all of the phonic sounds in Stage One I do not have to spend a lot of time teaching him the new digraph sounds. He picks up on them fairly easily. So, just like in Stage One, I only do each lesson once a day for two days, and then we move on to the next lesson. There are a lot more short stories in Stage Two of the program, which my son really enjoys. He likes to read the stories to his brother!
Something that surprised me during this time of teaching my 4 year old is that my 2 year old picked up on a lot of the phonics sounds from the reading lessons as well. He can now identify all of his letters and a little over half of the letter sounds. So that was a fun treat to see him grow during these reading lessons! I might start the reading lessons with him before he is 4 years old since he showed so much interest in learning the sounds while I was teaching his brother.
Click here to check out Children Learning Reading Program.