Monday, November 7, 2011

Lesson #1, only 99 to go...only 20 minutes a day

Lesson #1 today. I'm following the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It's intended for preschool children. "Bright three-and-a-half-year-olds, average four and five year-olds", who haven't learned how to read and write yet. What I love most about Siegfried Engelmann's book is that the lessons require the simplest of materials: "this book and some paper (or a chalkboard) - no flash cards, lesson plans, special books, or machines." With the "love, care, and joy only a parent and child can share!"

Here's what I wrote on the chalkboard, as we practiced making the sounds of the letters: (But she mastered this months ago, for just about all the letters in the alphabet.)

I wrote the letters on paper, she practiced tracing over them a few times and then she wrote the letters herself: (I do need to research methods to teach proper pencil grip).

I do things in a methodical manner and this book suits me well. It follows the DISTAR program. I believe in teaching phonics, not memorization of words, so that when a child encounters a word she has never seen before...she can crack the code. I like that this book not only teaches phonics, but that it also teaches the skills necessary to blend sounds together...building on previously learned concepts. I believe in doing that for math, as a child learns self-contained modules and can put them together like building blocks to master more difficult concepts.

I've tried to put this off for as long as I could...but LC has been attempting to read, write, tell time and do math for many months. Might as well teach her in a more structured manner, right? there aren't gaps in the knowledge.

There's so much pressure for kids to focus on academics too early in life (and then constantly be tested)...without being allowed to play and use their imagination...I believe that "play is the work of kids." Her pediatrician agreed with me...and suggested I wait until she turns 4 years old. I have been following her interests and guiding her creatively, with hands-on experiences...answering her questions, but never initiating lessons. By 2 1/2, she mastered what most kids master by 4. She is now 3 1/2 years old.

I finally gave up and we started lesson #1 today....why?

Well...the daily conversations last week went like this:

"Lemon starts with the letter L, mommy?"
"I figure it out! Haaa....Baby start with the letter B?"
"Gate start with the letter G?"
"Why cat and kite sound same beginning, but different letter starts it?"
"I don't know."
"Flower starts with letter F?"
"Books start letter B?"
"Yes, very good."
"And Bug starts letter B, too?"
"And Bee say buh-buh-buh! A lot of things start letter B!"
"Puzzle start with letter B, too?"
"No...puzzle is pet and Petek, so that is...what letter, LC?"
"Puzzle start letter P!"
"Fire start with letter, F, too..."
"Yes. Are you ready to learn how to read, LC?"
"Uh-huh!!!! Ball start letter B, mommy?"
"Giraffe start letter G?"
"Yes...I really have to finish reading this list, so I can send it for work, OK? I will read to you soon and it's time to get ready for bed. We need to wake up early tomorrow."
She runs back into the room...
"Tomato start letter T, mommy?"
"Yes, good job figuring that out."
Starts dancing the happy dance.
She comes back into the room.
"Hand has letter A in it? AND starts A?"
"Yes, LC."
She looks thrilled, like she just broke the Da Vinci code.