My little Pepper boy loves books. He loves to sit with a pile of books, enjoying the illustrations. He loves to have books read to him. He does not, however, understand the importance of learning phonics. Yes, he wants to read independently...when he is 6, he says. But the fact of the matter is that children are now taught to read in kindergarten, and he is 5, not 6. The time to learn is now. So every day when Pepper comes home from school, we sit down together and spend 20 minutes working on reading. We have developed a nice routine. When I homeschooled Snapper in 1st grade, I used the Spalding Method to teach phonics and spelling. This method gave her a wonderful foundation, and she has been very successful in those subjects. Because of the success Snapper enjoyed, I have been working on phonics with Pepper at home.
Pepper's teacher sent home a list of the most frequently used words in the English language. Every day we read through a few sections of the list. Pepper does not enjoy reading the words. He does, however, perk right up when he finds those words in his books later. Together he and I have made flashcards of the phonograms he is encountering in the words on his word list. As of today, 6 days into school, Pepper can read the following phonograms and can identify the sounds they represent:
We will continue to add more phonograms every day. I know (from experience) that understanding these will help him to become a much stronger reader and speller.
Every day after we finish his word list and phonograms, we apply that knowledge by reading an easy book together. He has gotten to be a much more confident reader after only a week of working on this together. I look forward to the day when it "clicks," and he can understand why we work on phonics together. I think the "clicking" began today. We were reading our book, and he encountered the word "playing." He gasped, pointed at the word and said, "There's ing! That word is play-ing!" I love those moments.
Our book today was Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems. It is a hilarious story of an elephant and a pig who are playing catch, when a snake friend asks to join their game. The snake exerts noble effort, despite the fact that he doesn't have arms. Pepper read (without protest) almost the entire book. And throughout the whole story, he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Even now, a half hour later, he has taken the book to his room and he is reading it to himself, chuckling. If you have little kiddos, go check out this simple book from the library. You are certain to enjoy a good laugh, too.