Sometime earlier this year, Princess completed the Start to Read with Pam and Sam – Red Series for Emergent Readers, which teaches words like Cat, Rat, Bat in a week, and then Cod, Rod in another week.
As Mummy later discovered, learning to read by this method [mainly by sight and memory] alone might not be helpful, as the child may have trouble spelling longer words as they don’t know how to sound them out. The reading/ spelling of new words can also be difficult for this group. Interestingly, many of the self-taught readers fall here.
While Mummy Eliz was wondering how to proceed, she found out that Kayla lacks a reading companion as she embarks on her Reading A-Z phonics reading program.
We are now into week 8 of the Reading A-Z program together with Kayla, and Princess together with Mummy, have learnt a lot along the way.
This is what Auntie El so kindly shared online on the Asia Parents forum, her discovery of a sequential way of teaching reading/(and writing) that works after teaching English as a 2nd language for many years. [Mummy Eliz is posting it here in the hope that other mummies also benefit from it.]
"- Start with the phonic sounds that each of the letters make. Teach the kids these in the lower-case, maybe one a week for a nice gentle pace, or more if e child is older. [DO NOT START BY TEACHING THE *NAME* OF EACH LETTER] i.e. say "u-(as in up) -is for umbrella", "nnn is for nap" etc / not "yoo is for umbrella", "en is for nap". Teach them how to write the letter correctly too.
- Once they know the sounds, you can start blending them into simple words. (e.g. nap, pan, hat). Let them hear how u join 2 letters together by sliding yr voice from one letter to the next. (e.g. "nnnnaaaap nap")
-You can write these words on wordcards, or as part of simple stories, such as e books from "Reading A-Z", then read this with your child, and have him try reading them back to u. The child can verbally make up sentences about these words. e.g. "mama needs a nap."
-You can cut up the simple 3-letter wordcards into their individual letters. (e.g. n/a/p) then have kids look at e written word from a piece of paper on hand, and proceed to make that word themselves. e.g. using his cut-up letter-cards to make e word n/a/p.
This activity is known as "word-building" and follows some similarity to the Montessori style of teaching. With some practice, (and extra letters), they will gradually be able to make up their own words, and copy them onto a piece of paper for u to read back to them. Even nonsense words such as "gog" are acceptable, so long as the child can read them aloud.
- Once they are able to blend and read words using short vowels, then u can introduce consonant mixes such as 'th/ch/sh/tr/cr/ck, etc' and also long vowels such as 'oo/ea/ee/ai/ and pronunciation of words ending in silent e, etc'. There are so many combinations to learn systematically if you wish, following the same 1-sound-a-week rule, but by a certain age, many kids just start to pick up these combinations naturally during their daily reading time, so for some, such lessons may not be necessary. However for a notable percentage, if they do not have access to such systematic teaching, then they may never pick it up on their own, and their reading level will fail to progress. So imho, it depends a lot on the kid.
- Alongside blending as a means to learning to read, there is also a place for learning high frequency words by memory alone. Here flashcards can help, as can word walls. (e.g. for words such as 'the, they, where, why, when' etc). Learning to read such whole words by sight will help increase a child's reading-speed. Learning to read by this method alone might not be helpful, as the child may have trouble spelling longer words as they don’t know how to sound them out. The reading/ spelling of new words can also be difficult for this group. (Interestingly, many of the self-taught readers fall here)
- Learning to read using picture references is also helpful. (Again Reading A-Z offers books with these) e.g. 'the' followed by a picture of a fork, would read "the fork".
- The above concept can also be used such that the child copies/writes a *rhebus* for new high-frequency words he has learned that week. (A rhebus is a sentence using words and pictures.) e.g. "they go in the..." followed by a picture of whatever the child wishes to draw or paste there.... "They go in the house/shoe/bag" etc. the kids could then show some ants/mice/bees etc going into that object that he has drawn. This can be very fun, especially if the letter and word-cards are left around for the child to access whenever he chooses.
- From writing rhebuses, the child can then learn to assemble sentences, using word-cards that u have written for him. The sentence/s might be copied from a favorite nursery rhyme,song,storybook, poem, Bible verse etc. once he has assembled them with cards, he can then copy them onto large-lined paper, and maybe add a drawing at the top or bottom to make it more beautiful. He might even want to trace over the lettering in colorful markers to beautify it further.
- Once your child has a good number of high-frequency wordcards, combined with a healthy sprinkling of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, a few copies of conjunctions etc, then he will be well on his way to creating some hilariously silly sentences... and some sensible ones too! And this is the very beginning of story-writing..."