Welcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage. This week we’re talking about teaching reading.
Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read what they have to say about this topic:
Apart from pointing your children toward a relationship with God, teaching your kids to read can arguably be the most important task of any parent. Reading makes the Word of God accessible and opens up the world of human knowledge.
Learning to read begins before you sit down and start teaching your child the sounds of letters and diphthongs. Here are some things that we do before officially teaching our children to read that may help prepare them for success.
- We read to our little ones, a lot.
- Our little ones sit through worship services and family worship from the time they are born.
- Our little ones hear me read to the big kids several hours each day.
- Our little ones do not watch any TV, rarely watch DVDs and do not spend time on the computer.
- Our little ones listen to a lot of audio books.
- We have books available in every room of our home, occasionally even in the bathroom.
- Books are a favorite plaything and we teach our children early on, how to look at books carefully, so books are not off limits to our babies.
- We set an example of loving to read.
- We do not teach letter names, we teach letter sounds.
We begin teaching reading when we see that our children have a desire to read on their own and we believe that they are ready. If we start and our child isn’t making regular, fairly easy progress, we stop until they are a little older.
Most of our children have started learning to read around age 3 or4 and become proficient readers (reading “Little House” books independently) by age 4 or 5. A couple of our children weren’t ready until much later, not being proficient readers until 8 or 9.
Once we believe that our child is ready to learn to read, I spend a few minutes each day working with them. So far we’ve successfully used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with all of our children. Some have required additional help and review but most of them have gone through the first 50-75 lessons (we’ve never finished the book) directly to easy readers.
As soon as our children move into easy readers we begin having them spend the first 2-5 minutes of their reading time, reading from the Bible. We introduce new sounds and combinations as we come across them and give them lots of help with long and/or unfamiliar words.
As their reading improves we increase the amount of time that they read from the Bible, working up to the point that they are comfortably reading a chapter at a time. At which point they begin to read the Bible independently in the mornings with the rest of the family.
Reading and beyond
Our children continue to have time each day to read aloud (in addition to reading to themselves) for a long time. Each morning at the beginning of our school day I sit down and listen to, teach or read to the youngest 5 or 6 children individually. With the beginning readers we continue to work on expression, talk about punctuation and diction. It’s a nice way to spend some one-on-one time with each of the younger children. Even when they graduate from reading aloud to me each day, there are still many opportunities for the children to read aloud, whether to their younger siblings or to the whole group.
Each afternoon we have an hour of time for free reading while the younger ones nap. I try to have a list of books that are appropriate for the reading level of some of the younger readers, but they are welcome to read other books if they prefer.
What tips do you have for teaching your children to read?
- Teaching Bible
- Soups and other wintry lunch recipes
- Favorite books for preschoolers
- Q & A: Sonlight Books we don’t read
- Kids in the kitchen
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.