Pip has known all of the letters of the alphabet and what sounds they make for quite some time now. But if I’m really honest, I had no idea of how to progress further, aside from reading lots of books to her and vaguely hoping that she’d just pick it up as if by magic.
Then during reading some of the other parenting blogs around, I noticed the phrase ‘CVC words’. I had no idea what it meant but it was something to do with learning to read. A search on Google told me that CVC stood for Consonant Vowel Consonant. Basically, CVC words are simple three letter words with a vowel in the middle. As I thought about it, I realised that really it should have been obvious that these would be the easiest words to learn. And so, I came up with a plan for teaching Pip to begin reading.
We used the whiteboard again, starting with ‘at’ then adding a letter to the beginning to make a new CVC word. For example, we had ‘hat’, ‘cat’, ‘sat’ etc. It took a little while but after seeing a few examples, she began to be able to work out new words I wrote. Once she seemed confident with that, I cleared the board and handed her the pen. I asked to write the word ‘cat’. She did it with barely a thought. She then suggested other words: ‘mat’, ‘bat’ etc. Soon she had filled the board with her own words.
I am really pleased with how well she’s picked this up. It didn’t happen instantly and she’s still got a long way to go before she’ll be reading her books to me but it’s still such good progress. I’ll stick with the -at words for a while to make sure she’s understood it, then I think we’ll try the same idea with words ending in ‘am’ and ‘it’, since those are other endings that are already words themselves.
Teaching a child of four takes a lot of patience, I’ve discovered. She’s very easily distracted, she gets very frustrated when she doesn’t immediately know something or a skill is taking a bit more practice than she’d like and as soon as that happens, she’ll want to give up and try something else. A lot of praise helps – she needs that reassurance that she’s not incapable of something, it just takes time and practice. I really think if we keep this up, she’ll be able to do some simple reading by the time she starts school, which I think would give her a really good start.
What methods have you used in teaching your children to read? How do you make it fun and encourage enthusiasm? I love trying out different ideas so please share!