Friday, March 27, 2009

Beginning Reading and Writing

Reading starts way before kids are even able to read, right? Of course we've been reading to both the kids almost from birth and they both really enjoy books. Gracie really loves books and will memorize them and then "read" them to us. It's really very cute!

I decided to pick up a pre-reader program for her awhile ago but I didn't push it because she just wasn't ready. Then recently she's been writing her letters and asking me to spell words out for her to write down. She started recognizing words like her name, mom, dad, cat, dog, etc..... Basic words but her recognition of them and ability to write them without help made me realize she was probably ready for a little more "formal" instruction.

I am so glad I picked up the Innovative Kids pre-reader. I really love it. It's the same publisher as the writing program she started using back in the fall and it is both very kid and parent friendly.

This little book is actually a pack of 8 small books, a guide, and an activity book. It also includes flash cards for the significant words in each book, a total of 32 words. The little books are great, have very cute pictures and are laid out very simply. The guide is wonderful and totally easy to follow. There are instructions for reading the book to your child, then with your child, and finally letting the child read the book to you. Each book has a little chart for the child to color when they finish reading it alone. There are 4 pieces of each chart to color, so they are suppose to read it alone 4 times. Gracie gets so excited when she finishes a book by herself. It's really so fun, she cheers and claps and is pretty much amazed with herself. I love it!! We have been reading the books repeatedly while adding new books in. We do not do it every day, maybe every other day or so. So far she has read the first book twice by herself, the second book once by herself and today we started the 3rd book and read it together. Each book has an activity in it at the end too. Today the book suggested rhyming words for each of the sight words in the story. She had to tell me which card rhymed with the word I was saying. Easy and fun!

These are the sight words from the first 3 books. We use magnets to keep them up on our freezer which is right next to the table where we do our work. I try to review those words with her a couple times a day, when we sit down for a project or a meal or whatever. As you can see they are very basic easy words, great for practicing how to sound things out.

This next book is one I picked up at Goodwill. I find an amazing amount of our home school stuff at Goodwill, like probably 80% of it. Used text books and workbooks which have maybe a page or two used are always lying around. I also found an entire pre-school cirriculum there for $5. It was old but in brand new condition and honestly, what about pre-school has changed since 1980 anyway?

As you can see this is a beginning reader. It is awesome! It was published in 1963. There isn't a teachers guide with it but it's basically a ton of "sight words" just like the flash cards from the IK set and some early reading in a Dick and Jane book style. I love it for the drawings though!

This is the writing set we've used so far. Like I mentioned before it's by Innovative Kids. Very easy to use. There is everything starting with finger tracing to letter and number writing. There are pages for writing on which are covered with laminate and it comes with a wipe-off pen so the pages can be done again and again. Gracie really likes it. I think the next step will be lined paper but I don't really want to push that yet. She loves writing and spelling words out on paper but I'm not sure she has the small motor skills for the lines yet and I surely don't want her getting frustrated and hating what she is enjoying so much!

Ian is picking up on some of it as well, I have a feeling he will be reading on his own earlier than her because he tends to be hanging around somewhere while we are doing things and I know he is absorbing it. Today I was asking Gracie to read her cards for me and Ian read the "look" card before she did!! It's so cool how they just suck it up. I'm really having a great time watching them take it all in.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting Started

I've been thinking about starting this blog for awhile and decided it was time. I plan for this blog to mainly be for the kids. I want there to be a place they can look to and see why we decided to go this route for them and I also want a place to record what we do. I've realized it will be utterly impossible to save most of the work we do, there just isn't the space for it. There's plenty of room on the internet though, I can take pictures and record memories til the end of time!

So that's that. Enjoy!!