Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

A new reading game

February 7, 2010

For reading right now, Honey is using a spelling program.  I know it sounds weird, but All About Spelling does a great job of teaching the phonics rules.  I have Honey read the spelling words as well as spell them and her reading is really improving.  I would guess that she is getting close to grade level in reading. 

Honey finished All About Spelling level 1 at the end of January.  I gave her a week off from spelling and we have been playing spelling games during that week.  She came up with a really fun one on Thurs.  We used an old cribbage board and the stack of cards with spelling words on them that came with All About Spelling.  Each turn one of us would pick a card and read the word.  Then we had to say all the sounds in the word.  The other person would count how many sounds the word had and that would determine how many moves could be made.  [Hat has three sounds, move three spaces.   Trash has four sounds, move four spaces.]  To make the game more interesting we also used the middle track on the cribbage board.  If a player’s piece landed next to a line then they would move the middle piece one space forward.  If a player wanted to they could move the middle piece instead of their own piece.  If the middle piece landed next to a line then the player gets to move their own piece five places.  I know that it sounds complicated, but it really made the game a lot more interesting.  I also know that saying the sounds of words does not sound like it would help much, but it is something that is hard for Honey. 

After the game, Honey read to me from the new reader that we got from All About Spelling.  Sounding out the words seemed more natural after we had just spent so much time practicing it during the game.  This is a game that we WILL be playing again!


I’m glad you’re teaching me.

March 11, 2009

The last couple of reading lessons have been rather hard on Honey.  She gets frustrated and wants to quit.  We have moved from the more “game” type of lessons to more traditional lessons.  There is still a lot of hands on, moving letters around, but we are at the edge of her understanding and it is hard for her.  Yesterday, through tears, she told me, “I’m glad you’re teaching me.”   WOW!  Sure its hard, but it is worth doing, and I think that she gets that.

I really think that in the long run, these difficulties are a benefit for Honey.  She is learning how to work hard; how to do hard things.  Things come so easy to the other girls that they have never really had to struggle through the desire to quit.  (Dearie has had some of this with piano, which is why we do piano, but not to the extent that Honey does.)  I think it is a life skill that will help Honey all her life.

Over teaching.

February 26, 2009

This is what it is called when you teach a concept that a child has already learned.  Two years ago, I would have thought that it was a crazy concept.  That it was a total waste of time.  If a child ‘gets’ a subject, why do you have to keep going over it.  I chose curriculumthat covered topics in depth and then went on to the next topic.  Going over and over something only bores the child. 

…And then I started teaching child number two.  Yes there are children who do not need much review.  I have one two.  There are also children who get the concept the first time you present it, but not the details.  I have one of those too.  I suppose that there are also children who need multiple presentations to get the concept and then more to get the details.  I don’t have one of those. 

This revelation has given me a new respect for classroom teachers.  They have all kinds of kids in their classes.  How in the world do they teach them all without boring some and going right over the heads of others?  All of my kids get one on one time, I can’t even imagine how a classroom teacher does it. 

The latest example of this, in our home, is in teaching reading.  I thought that Honey knew the sounds of /ch/ and /sh/ and /th/.  I found that she didn’t, so I taught them to her and made a game to help her review them.  (The game from a couple of posts ago.)  She was doing well, and then we took a break for the weekend and she forgot which letters made which sounds.  She understands that there are three different sounds and that they are represented by three different combinations of letters (the concept), but she can’t remember which is which (the details).  Just today, she seemed to have them down again, but we are taking a three day weekend, and I’m afraid that she will forget by the time we get back to it.  Maybe I will play our game on Saturday so that the break is not so long.  So, I am over teaching this concept.  I will teach it and review it and go over it until she has it down cold.  We did this with math facts and with memory verses and it worked well, it will work this time too.  I just need to learn some patience.

Kiddo is reading!

February 19, 2009

Kiddo is up to the point in reading that she can pick up just about any easy reader and read it.  It is so much fun to watch!   Teaching this kid reading has been so easy, that I can’t really say that I have done anything to teach her.  She has done the Explode the Code books, but I’m sure that she would have gotten it even without doing the workbooks.  I’m guessing that she will be reading chapter books before her next birthday (6).

New Reading Game.

February 17, 2009

Edited to add pictures, scroll down.

As we work through the Reading Reflex book, we have hit the place where Honey is learning instead of reviewing.  She does not know what sound <sh> makes.  She does not know what letters represent the /sh/ sound.  Sh is good at guessing, but she does not really KNOW it.  So it is time to bring in more games.  Reading Reflex recommends introducing one sound at a time so this game will work on the new /sh/ sound and review the vowel sounds (I think that she still mixes them up sometimes). 

(My goal is to make this today, this is how I plan to make it.)

First I will draw a game board with 50-80 spaces on it.  Then I will print out small horse pictures (Enchanted learning is a good place to find little pictures.)  and glue them on the game board.  While the game board is still blank, I will cover it with clear contact paper (similar to laminating it).  Then I will fill in the spaces with the vowels and sh with a wet-erase (visa-vis/overhead) marker.  These do not smear or smell like dry erase markers do.  This way, when she gets this sound down, I can erase the board and put new sounds on it.  I have several blank dice, and I will write the vowels and sh and maybe a ‘go double’ on one. (Again using the wet erase marker.)   Each player will roll the die, and move their piece (I’m going to snag some horses from our manipulatives.  Honey is really into horses right now.)  to the next space that matches the die.  A roll of go double, means to roll again and move your piece to the second matching space.  With each roll, the player has to say the sound on the die, this is where the learning occurs, the game just keeps it fun.

I will post pictures after I have finished the game.  We have a busy day planned today, but I hope to find time to make this game and to play it with Honey.  I don’t think that I will let the other girls play.  Kiddo has these sounds down, and Honey does not need to be reminded of that.


Edited to Add pictures:


Honey decided to help with the making of the game board, so it has a lot more color than I would have done.  I don’t care a lot about how it looks as long as it works, Honey is the opposite.   After drawing the board, I added a river and grass and colored the path brown.  Honey used her horse stamps at the START and FINISH.

We have played it several times and I kept winning, even when I gave Honey a head start!  I guess that learning to lose with a good attitude can be added to our lessons for the day.  She did have some trouble with the /sh/ sound, but after several games was doing better.  It will be interesting to see how she does when we introduce /ch/.

Guess what Honey can do!

February 11, 2009

Yesterday, Honey and Dora were out riding their bikes in the court.  Honey came in and asked if she could ride out of the circle like Dora, I told her what I have told her before, “When you can ride without training wheels.”  She said, “Take off my training wheels!”  I didn’t have time then, but this morning I took them off for her.  Within 10 min. she was riding pretty well.  Now she is allowed to ride up to the next street.  (I can still see them by looking out the window.)  I am not surprised that Honey is doing so well, she has always seemed a natural at outdoor things.  (She isn’t always, but more often than not.)  She was just glowing with her success, but it quickly wore off when she came in and had to do her reading lesson.  It is hard, because she needs practice at this level, but she knows that it should be easy and she doesn’t want to work hard at something that should be easy.  I pushed though her desire to quit today, but it was hard.  I hope that she advances quickly.  It is not until they can read fun stuff that reading is fun and she is just not there yet.  Maybe I need to look into some Hi-Low readers.  They are designed to be an easy read about a subject that older kids would be interested in.  But, she is not really ready for readers yet, I don’t want to introduce any new sight words right now.  It would just give her more reason to try to memorize words rather than read the sounds that they make. 

The other fun thing that the girls did today was to play in the rain.  Honey was very disappointed that she couldn’t ride her bike this afternoon, but playing in the rain made up for some of that disappointment.