Last week was a special day in our home. Amazon delivered our second set of BoB Books: Advancing Readers, and Explode the Code: Book 2. That means we had successfully gone through the first set of 12 Bob books, and the first Explode the Code workbook--something I was not anticipating to do so quickly.
He did it. We have a new reader in the house! How absolutely exciting!!! We thought he could do it, so we tried, and it worked. That simple. Four years of lap reading, nursery rhymes, and song singing is all it took.
I've shared this before, but I am a very "Pro-Phonics" person, and almost every resource below is phonics based. Being that it's so cold out, regardless of your educational decision, every parent (mother) out there might be interested in some busy work that just might unlock the door to reading. In our home, when it's -30 below outside, I'm lost without these "school" workbooks.
~Leap Frog Letter Factory. This video teaches each letter and each sound the letter makes. This is IMPORTANT. Distinguishing the difference between the "i" sound (like itchy) and the "e" sound (like egg) is very difficult for preschoolers to do. This is a great way to learn the sounds that make up words.
Start time: Luke got this video at age 2. He was uninterested at first, and then by three he knew all the letters and letter sounds.
~Phonics Pathways. Once letters and sounds are mastered, putting them together is the next part. This part is HARD for children, and much of it is developmental. "Blending," as it is called, is taking two sounds and putting them together to make another sound. Phonics Pathways is a dry book, and one that I used in conjunction with marker boards, chalk boards, crayons and paper, etc. Once Luke was able to take the "m" sound and add (blend) the "a" sound to make "ma," (as well as every single other combination of letters and vowels), we moved on.
Start time: Age 3, or after letter sounds are mastered.
~Comprehensive Curriculum. These books are just fun, especially to fight winter boredom. Kids love them. They teach (quickly and NOT in depth) simple concepts for children. They are an introduction only! Colors, shapes, patterns, letters, numbers, are all covered. Concepts like right to left, top to bottom, above and below, ordinal numbers and sequencing are also introduced. They are consumable books, meaning one per child (not reusable). We have gone through the preschool book and are halfway through the kindergarten book.
Start time: In my opinion, these books are not entirely on grade level, and age 3 would probably be fine for most children to start the preschool book.
~Explode the Code. Workbooks in black and white. These are tricky for a new blender, because they are actual three letter words and phrases. Once a child gets the hang of them, they go pretty quickly. Another consumable book, which in this case is great for mom and dad to put gold stars on worksheets well done :-)
Start time: Variable. Children need to be able to hold a pencil and write letters. Alternatively, if a child is able to blend three letter words (c-a-t), a parent could could write while the child dictates.
~Bob Books. Short, small books that early readers can read and master. WONDERFUL! Kids find the stories funny and entertaining.
Start time: Once three letter words are able to be blended. I bought Bob books prematurely, and we tried over and over again to read the first one. Luke couldn't do it even though he could blend single words. I put them away and just tried again about once a month until they clicked. Once he got the first book, within a month or two he had mastered all 12 Bob books, which increase in difficulty. We are now zooming through the second set.
This is where we're at right now, and I'm excited to start the process over again in the next few months with our little guy. Teaching children is a very rewarding experience for both parent and child, regardless of the ultimate choice of how they end up educated. I will stress that I am a "no pressure" parent when it comes to the early years, and after hearing much advice to that extent, I am convinced that development is variable and each child will take a different lead. My role to play is to follow that lead. For example, while Luke knew every dinosaur in the book (he would tell people about "nocturnal herbivores with frills on their vertebrae") but he couldn't identify ANY numbers with the exception of his age. Sure enough, this fall his attention shifted naturally to numbers, and I've happily complied :-) .
An exhaustive post, but one I've wanted to share once I knew what resources worked for us. Most of my readers have little ones at home and and many are stuck inside with the weather. I hope that I've been an encouragement on how capable parents are to teach and prepare their child for their educational paths ahead.
*Edit* I switched the link on the Comprehensive Curriculum book to the Amazon store that sells it with free shipping. Enjoy!