Friday, February 17, 2012

Lallie is reading! What are you doing to help your child learn?

Beware....this is a long post!

I cannot believe it, but Lallie is reading!  She is growing up way to fast for us, but we are so proud nonetheless. 

I'm told (studies show) a child is ready to start reading after having approximately 1,000 books read to them.  Well, we've far surpassed that!  Lallie has been read at least 4,000 books, likely more.  Since she turned one year old, we've consistently read three books per night and she LOVES to read as much as we do.  Even when she was little, she would take whatever book I was reading, without the pictures, and pretend she was reading herself.  She has quite the imagination, making up stories, and and is able to recount stories that have been read to her.  Ashleigh is a reader as well and has started Lallie's classic book collection. Every year, on her birthday, Lallie receives a new book, inscribed by Ashleigh (and without cracking the binding, Mommy usually reads the books as a refresher)  :-)

Now, when Lallie is punished, we take away her nightly books and reading.  Sometimes it's one book.  Sometimes it's all her books.  It depends on the punishment.  We can take away TV time, dessert or a toy and she'll say "that's okay, I'll do better tomorrow."  Obviously, that doesn't make much of a point if she's thinking that way.  But if we take away a book?  Lallie knows we mean business and she's in trouble. 

If Lallie has done something well or special (such as eating her "little trees" a/k/a broccoli at dinnertime), she gets extra books.  Yes, it is a bribe, but I think of it as better than an ice cream bribe (though we have been known to bribe with ice cream before....what parent hasn't?).  Anyways, this is just to show how much she loves books.

Even Scholastic time is fun for us because Husband, Lallie and I can all sit down to look at the catalog and choose which new books she's going to get each quarter.  We love that we can purchase a load of books for fairly inexpensively.  You can also donate books to your school through the program.  We just got a whole new order last night!  We purchased a combination of Lallie appropriate reading books, books that need to be read to her and long stories, such as the Ramona series and Fudge series.  Do you remember these books?  I can't wait to start reading them to her, seeing her imagination soar since these books don't have pictures. 

Anyhow, back to Lallie actually reading.  We really had no idea that Lallie was ready to read.  I mean, yes, we  had thought about it and worked with her haphazardly here and there and she has been able to sound out words and read and spell here and there for a while now.  But actually sitting down and reading a book?  We hadn't gotten that far yet.  We've worked on her letters and writing skills, writing thank you cards and words and Valentine's etc., and she does a ton of writing practice at school.  We also have workbooks at home that Lallie works on consistently with numbers, letters, words and sounds etc.  But I was not prepared when Lallie came home from school one day a few weeks ago with some Hooked on Phonics pages and said "Mommy, look, I can read!"  **Apparently, her Pre-K teacher has been copying some of her daughter's kindergarten homework and bringing it to some of her students that are ready to start reading, including Lallie.** 

That night, Lallie proceeded to sit down and read through the pages, sounding out the words without much help from Husband or I.  For kicks, I pulled out the Bob Books my neighbor bequeathed to us after her son learned to read.  Low and behold, Lallie picked up the first three books and read right through them without much help!  When I'm at workout class, Lallie plays the Bob Books app on my iphone too.  She sees it as a fun game, not learning and education, which is half the battle sometimes. 

Daddy told Lallie that for every book she reads, she gets a dollar in spending money.  After about $10 in one night, Daddy had to change his tune a bit to $1.00 for every NEW book, not for reading the same book over and over.  She can't get enough!  She also has her Leapster with the Rapunzel Tangled game, where she is learning to spell.  Every morning on the way to school, she plays for about 15 minutes, sounding out and spelling words.  The Leapster has been a fabulous teaching tool since she received it for Christmas last year.  She's learning logic, Spanish, math, reading and spelling.

The other exercises we've been working on are sight words such as THE, AND, A, ON, GO and so on and so forth.  I have flash cards, teaching Lallie that once she knows the word, she doesn't have to continue sounding it out.  We also have her use the words in a sentence as reading is not just about the words, it's about context.  We also practice beginning and ending sounds and rhyming (which rhyming still gives her quite a bit of trouble, but I understand that this is still a difficult task for her age).

Did I mention Lallie is only 4 years old?  I know for a fact I didn't even start learning my letters until kindergarten, when I was five years old.  I mean, I'm sure my mom and dad worked with me before then knowing the type of parents they are and I know Husband's parents did as well (his mom was a teacher).  And most parents do work on these things well before school.  But for the actual education system, it wasn't taught until kindergarten.  (We didn't have pre-school, or Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten as we call it in Florida, it was more of a daycare).  We started the letter people in kindergarten and reading in first grade.  In the education system, first graders are now full on reading complicated books at the ages of six years old!  It just amazes me how quickly children learn.   

Anyways, what are you doing to help your pre-k or kindergarten child learn to read?  I'd love to hear your input!! 

Happy Friday Y'all!


  1. Oh thanks for such a great post. My 3 year old has been read to every night since birth and she is really interested in sounding out letters and phonics etc. I will try to find some of these hooked on phonics pages-I have heard great things about that program. I was reading before Kin & my mom attributes it all to phonics work. Honestly I think instilling reading at early age is the best thing you can do for your child! Thank you!

  2. Oh the JOY! As a kindergarten teacher for 21 years, you have NO idea the gift you have given your daughter! The world is literally her oyster NOW! Bravo to Daddy and Mommy!!!!!! I am grinning ear to ear! Continue to foster her thirst for knowledge...oh the places she WILL go!

    Love and Hugs,
    Mrs. Kindergarten

  3. I love Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary. I can't wait to have a child to read those books to so I can read them again myself :-)

    Rock On!

  4. Hello! I think if you have spent time reading with a young child they become so eager to read themselves it's just a case of learning the phonetic sounds. Caspar started school at just 4 and the first books didn't even have words, he just described what he thought the story was - and each book just added more words. There are some brilliant books out there now to keep them stimulated - most schools in the UK use the Oxford learning tree, and have them reading in about two terms - really recommend them! Great post - thanks for sharing!