I took part in a challenge last year, one that involved reading 300 different picture books in a year. When I decided to join in I didn't give much thought to whether it fitted in with how we read books, having realised that it didn't really I decided to carry on with it to see, out of interest, how many we would read. All the books we read were chosen from our shelves or of those of the library by the children themselves. We didn't quite reach 300 but we got surprisingly close. What the challenge did show me was how sporadic our reading* has become in a week. Whilst I would always expect that we would read more in some weeks than others there were many weeks when we read little or nothing despite it being an ordinary week at home. I am still mulling over how to include it into our rhythm or whether I should just continue to let it happen when my children want it to, this would be on top of the reading that we do at lunchtime our chapter book and stories and poems related to our learning.
My youngest would like to learn to read, she has mentioned it several times over the last few months. My eldest never made such a request he 'taught' himself to read and now spends a large part of his time reading. My children learn very differently, as I would expect them to, they have very different characters. I read to my eldest as much as I read to my youngest but he liked talking about the story, the pictures, me pointing to the words as I read them none of which my youngest wants or enjoys. I know that reading books to children is part of them learning to read but there are other things I can do to enable her learning if she wants me to.
My eldest learnt a lot from a programme, Alphablocks he watched it extensively and exclusively at this age (5.5), my youngest does so occasionally. I made my eldest a set of road signs which we took out on journeys, they have either one letter or word on, we have looked at these but have yet to take them out in the car. I also made a set of labels of words of familiar household objects which I have stuck to the object. She has been very interested by this idea and has been 'reading' these labels on and off over the last few weeks. She has also been asking about words that she finds all over the place. When I tell her about a new, to her, letter she will go and find more. Slowly she is adding to her list of letters she can identify, at her pace.
I have a set of picture cards which along with a board of letters (like a lotto board) we can use for sound development and the lovely game I-spy. We have magnetic letters on our fridge which my eldest didn't really make use of and my youngest is not that interested in either maybe now I could remove them, they do drive me mad! I have thought about making cards with each letter on using a tactile material for the letter, has anyone else used these? I would need to come up with some activities for introducing them, if you have any ideas...............I like the look of this book and this book but have not seen inside them both to know which would be the most suitable, if at all. This is a journey that I am excited about, I thought it would be a while before she was interested. It could also be that whilst she aspires to read she is not ready for it yet. We will see!
I have realised by writing all this down that I did actually 'do' a lot more than I had thought to enable my eldest to learn to read.
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* my eldest can read independently so I am really talking about the reading I do to and with my youngest child who is not reading as yet.