Sunday, 28 April 2013

learning to read

I still really don't know what approach I want to take as for Butterfly and learning how to read. On one hand I do love the idea of letting her teach herself at her own pace, when and how it fits her. On the other hand, all those posts I read (mainly for the art stuff for kids they have) where they show these wonderful things they do with young toddlers to teach them letters! (plus I do fear, people [especially my mother] will see that Butterfly is 'not advancing in her reading' and will push teaching on to her [they already think that homeschooling is wrong..).

Anyway, while I continue to ponder on the issue, I would like to tell you about our little advancements in the literacy world. It started some time ago (maybe a month or two ago? don't really remember..) when I opened a book to read to Butterfly and, as this was a book that I bought her, plus pages from paper and not board or plastic, I had [once, many moons ago] written her name on the inner side of the binding. So I open the book, see her name written, and mention to her that this is your name. I had no intentions in doing so, but ever since she's been asking me many times to write down her name (in fact, every time she sees me with a pen in my hand..), sometimes pointing at letters and either telling me or asking me if it's her name written there. And no, mostly it is not her name that is written, but I am very happy for her recognition of these being letters [just reminding you that she doesn't even know the ABC song, let alone letters etc] that are read into something.
In the last couple of days she started asking me once or twice - what is written here? Noticing letters all around her and wanting to know, to learn. It does make me happy to know that even if I'm not too sure what is our path as regard reading, that nevertheless, we are on the right one!

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And now to a little rant in the same subject of learning to read. As I've mentioned, one of my fears is my mother. My mother is very old class - she is the teacher, so she is the one with the knowledge  and her job is to pour that knowledge onto her pupils. She teaches my almost 6 year old niece to read and write in English [The girl is in last year of kindergarten and will start school (1st grade) next year*]. My mother has a few workbooks that she uses in the lesson, jumping from one to another. The girl on the other hand, you can feel that she is not too enthusiastic about it, she wants and she doesn't want (more doesn't). And I can see from the side how it's a lot of "school work" and not really anything else. A kid that age needs much more, because learning from books can get really boring. So I quickly googled up and found some sites with ideas for her, like preparing very big outlined words, and the girl has to glue  sweets or cheerios etc on them - fun, tactile, yummy; or another idea I really liked was preparing cloth pegs each with a letter  on it, as well as word cards, and the girl has to go through the pile of pegs searching for the right letters for her word - again fun, tactile, active. So I send my mother the list, trying to gently tell her the girl needs a bit more in the lesson. My mother's response? "some of the sites require paying, others aren't suitable" and she went on to print a bingo game which is the nearest thing that was to what she was doing so far (child reading from a worksheet, so called a game). Errrrrr!
[as for her claim - a big err as she completely didn't get my message! I was just sending her ideas she might want to try, not what she should teach or sites to print from]

* In school of course she will be learning to read and write in Hebrew, my mother is just giving her an enrichment..

P.S
That Bingo game - had my mother just printed the paper and the rest (gluing onto construction paper and then cutting out the grid itself and the words to be put on the grid) left for the lesson - that would have been something else!!

6 comments:

Jen said...

I teach child development and am actually teaching the class on language arts right now. My two cents (some of this likely assumes you are referring to English): teach her to love reading first. Read to her, read with her, read around her. Be a model of how useful print is (she is already realizing this as she is noticing it in her environment).

You are already using her name a jumping off point, so when she sees "her" letters elsewhere you can sound out her name and the other word so she can hear the similarities (if there are any, English is quite tricky).

If it feels natural enough, you can even put your finger under the words as you read. Definitely keep following her lead.

Your ideas were way better than what you mom is doing!

Billy said...

Thank you Jen for your two cents :-)
I do try to read to her, but probably not enough, so I agree I should read more..
As for the rest of the tips - that will be choosing a path I am currently not sure about! [do I actively teach her, or do I let her discover and learn by herself with me just being a helping hand if/when needed], but thanks anyway!

(and yes, was referring to English, to tricky English. Introducing Hebrew reading & writing [I read to her in both languages] is something I've been thinking about too. I think let her "get it" in one language before going on to the next(and thank god Hebrew is very much a phonetic language [you hear it -> you spell it])

P.S - not my ideas of course! but thanks again :-).

Little One said...

They just had a speech and language therapist at SR's daycare who said if you want your child to be bilingual use both languages. But maybe have one area or relative or friend who only uses one language and another who uses the other.

I agree with Jen, th more you read and demonstrate a love for reading, the more butterfly will pick up on it. SR notices letters and numbers everywhere and knows mostly things or names they start with. Her latest game is "what else?" Where we will say "A is for Abby." And SR says "what else?" She does as many as she knows and then tries to get me to say more.

I also tell her that she is a good reader any time she notices a letter or points in a book to words she is starting to recognize.

I agree that completing boring workbooks is not the most enjoyable way to learn a language, unless the child is one who loves the monotony of that.

Good luck. You seem to be on the right track.

Tiara said...

It sounds to me that you're doing an excellent job teaching Butterfly! you Mom's always going to have her opinions & think she knows best but try not to let that discourage you from the fabulous ideas you have to use too!

Billy said...

Thank you Little One and Tiara!

Little One I think the therapist was talking about oral language acquisition, and we do just that! (me and my mother speak to her in English, the nanny in Hebrew).
I believe it's different in learning to read and write, especially when the letters are so different, more so a reverse directionality (Hebrew right to left, English left to right).
I do know that in schools plus private lessons, you wait before introducing reading and writing in the second language, but not sure how it will go with us..

Laraf123 said...

I second what Tiara said. Once children start noticing print and asking about it, you know you are on the right track. The first environmental print my son read was the name of stores on my receipts!