How to Teach a Stubborn Child How to Read

Patience. Deep breath. Repitition. Pa…tience.

Seriously though, if I had to list the order of events in the process of teaching a child to read this is how it would look.

1. Develop a love for reading (DUH!). How? Read to them when they’re very little. Take them to the library and let them go NUTS!! This is this only place they don’t have limits. Why take that away from them?  We check out 30-40 at a time. We may not read them all of them (but I do set a goal of reading 5-7 a day) but we sure do love looking at the pictures and guessing what the ones we haven’t read are about. So let them have at it!!

2.Sight words (start when they’re 3…trust me they can do it, don’t push, just encourage, no pressure)

3.Blending (CVC pattern or word families),

Popsicle word families

This is a tool I came up with. I colored coded each vowel family, e.g. the purple popsicle sticks contain all the ‘a’ blends such as, ag, at, am, an etc. The orange sticks contain the ‘o’ families such as, og, om, op, ot, etc.

I teach a vowel at a time. So, when we go over the vowel sounds for the second time, after letter sounds in pre-k, I pair them with each possible consonant combination.

I color code the consonants on different colored sticks.

Nonsense words count! You can ask, ” Is this a real word or a silly word?” Guide them if they don’t know. If it is a real word and they haven’t heard it before use it in a sentence and help them understand it’s meaning.

4. Model sentence writing and read as you write, like the sentence of the day or scripture of the week.

Sentence of the day

I introduce a sight-word  a week (I will probably change that to two soon, only because she is eager (all of a sudden)) and use it in a sentence. All the words in the sentence are words from the word wall. Words that are underlined are new words and words with a box around the first letter are blends.  I put a box around the first letter to remind her to sound out the first letter and blend the last two. She can do that in any order that makes sense for her.

5. Give them tools to practice their new skills.

I use decodable books, not listed, I also use Bob books. I am not sure why but kids love those.  The first book, Big and Little is a sight word book. All the words in that book are memorized words and not phonetic.  The second book is a decodable that must be blended. This one is more difficult because it takes some brain power.

This is the best tool you can give your child in his/her mental toolbox.

I am guiding her to sound out, blend the last two letters ‘id’  then she adds the h for hid. This process makes sense for her. Other children learn differently. Some might want to sound out each individual letter. Though, it is more cohesive to blend as many letters as phonetically possible.

I am proud, a little shocked, I must admit, that Pea is reading. She started reading last year at 4 but this year, in fact about a week ago she became an eager learner.

That is when you know it is time to introduce blending and sentence structure and all the other fun stuff. Before they are eager you run the risk of losing their interest and their heart in the matter, especially if they are stubborn!

This process hasn’t been easy but only because of my expectations. When she was 4 I thought she’d never learn and she’d still be making faces at me when she was 18 about having to sound out the word c-a-t. Looking back at that not-so-distant memory I can’t believe I was so anxious. HELLL-O she was only 4, not exactly a prospect for Harvard (yet)!! So, advice, RELAX, it’ll come. Let your child learn the way God created him/her learn.

NOTE TO SELF: Let your child learn the way God created her to learn!!!

I’d love to hear your reading strategies. Drop me a comment and I’ll come and check you out!