Sunday, November 18, 2007

Readin', ritin'

Nutmeg is starting to get the idea of reading. Epu has wanted to teach her for awhile now, but I have resisted for several reasons. For one thing, teachers have told me and I have read that it's easy for kids to pick up bad reading habits if they aren't taught properly, and Epu and I have no idea about the various techniques for properly teaching reading. For another, I just think it's best for very young children to spend as much time as possible absorbing the world -- moving around, tasting, seeing, hearing -- instead of sitting down doing academics.

Now she's pretty much learning on her own -- today she told me what two different signs say -- "open" and "welcome" -- not necessarily by sounding them out but because she knows those two words by sight.

Faced with this evidence that reading is happening whether I push it or not, I felt a little more free to engage in a little experimentation with her. So tonight when she saw our Scrabble set out and asked about it, I said she could play with me. We sat down after dinner and she tried spelling a couple words. She did very well at that -- she wanted to spell "nut" and she put down and n and a t. When I told her she needed a vowel in the middle she selected "i," which is pretty darn close. I helped her replace it with a "u."

Then I spelled a few words and asked her to sound them out. She sounded out "duck" pretty easily, so then I changed it to "yuck," "suck," "luck," "tuck" and even "truck." She had no problem with any of these. However, just a few minutes later when I spelled out "duck" again in a different spot on the board, she couldn't sound it out this time.

Still, she's doing amazing. She also got out a pen and wanted to write some words, but she can't really even form most letters yet so after a couple tries she drew pictures instead. She drew a picture of me holding two packages, and asked me to label the packages "candy."

Reading, writing, whatever -- somehow it all goes back to candy with this kid. Because, as she'll tell us, her teachers, our neighbors, anyone: "I love sugar."


margaret said...

hey, maybe this is nit-picky but nit is a word! I just don't want Hazel to be scarred for life.

Love, Ayi Ma Nao

Anonymous said...

A few mom is an elementary school teacher and has given us hints on working with Hayden.

1) early reading is contextual. So signs are the names...other things she recognizes. I guess it is that the word is a label (because stop when not on a sign might not be recognized)
2) Write stories. Short ones about her day. And then read them. And you can underline an important work (park, school) and she'll start to learn those words as they have meaning in the story.
3) Similarly, we do that in books. Hayden knows red because he knows where in the phrase "red, ripe strawberry" the word is and can recognize it.
4) Rhyming is awesome! Hayden loves that game. He might not be able to recognize the words out of the game, but apparently, the ability to rhyme is key to reading development.

Have fun! Hope Pebbles' sleeping is still going well. We're looking forward to longer stretches but are just approaching 8 weeks.

Notta Wallflower said...

Sounds like you're doing well with the combination approach, which I agree with (teaching sight words and phonics). Her spelling is inventive, which is good - at least she's thinking about the sounds that certain letters make.