I’m not one of those moms that is focused on my kids being smarter than other kids or knowing as much as a third grader before they even get to kindergarten. I do like them to have a basic understanding of how to read when they get to kindergarten so they can build upon that instead of struggling to keep up. In an ideal world, we would spend time each day learning those basic skills, but I’m not that good. Instead, I settle for trying to work on these things on a pretty regular basis. Some of our favorite learning to read resources are:
1. Foam letters or magnet letters
My oldest learned his alphabet with foam bath letters. They were with his toys and he was obsessed with them even before he was 2 years old. He would bring me a letter and I would tell him what it was over and over and over again. Those bit the dust long ago with teeth marks all over them. Now, with the twins, we have the cheap little magnet letters that they use with a cookie sheet and they love them. I hand them a letter and tell them the name of it and with spending time on that every day or two, that repetition is how they learn their letters. After they learn the letter names, we’ll do the same thing to teach them the letter sounds.
2. Homemade Letter Sound Notebook
This is a fun activity for a preschooler. Take a notebook and fill it with 13 pages of hole punched cardstock. Write a letter on the top of each page (front and back). Cut out lots of pictures from magazines. Help the child learn letter sounds by saying the name of what is in the picture and figuring out which letter page it goes on, then they can use a glue stick to add it to that page.
3. Hooked on Phonics
This is an awesome program! Our oldest learned how to read by using the hooked on phonics DVDs. Life got busy and our second is now learning to read with the Hooked on Phonics app which is easier for me because I can just hand her my iPad instead of setting up the DVD for her, plus I like the interactive activities. They aren’t cheap but they are both quality products that will be able to be used with all the kids. My oldest two both had that light click on where they figure out how to blend letters to sound out a word while using this program.
4. Easy reader books
Finding books they can read when they are first sounding out words has been a real challenge for me. Most of the early readers that I’ve found include so many words that a brand new reader just can’t sound out yet. Other than the books that come with the Hooked on Phonics Program, there are 2 book series that I really like for this stage: We Both Read and Flip a Word. We get them from the library.
5. BONUS FOR LDS FAMILIES: Scripture sight word cards
Once my kids know how to sound out words to start reading, I like to start them learning sight words, too. I think they need both phonics and sight words to be successful at reading. One of my friends developed these sight word flash cards for learning to read (by learning sight words) from the Book of Mormon. A few minutes of practice each day and your kids can start reading some of the words in the scriptures while you study as a family – that is a huge confidence boost for them!
There you go. Those are my favorite learn to read recommendations. What other rescources and ideas would you add to the list?