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kaitneel

What curriculum to use for an accelerated reader (4 years old)

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My daughter is 4 (almost 5) and is reading maybe at a 3rd grade level. We used AAR level 1 to make sure we had a strong foundation and the regular practice was great but it was very easy and she flew through it in about 3 months. We've taken 2 months off and I've just had her read out loud to me most days. She's reading 2nd grade books with me but they're not challenging her (Arnold Lobel I can read books, Zach's Alligator, Josefina's Story Quilt). Older grade books don't hold her attention and they're too long and she doesn't really care to read them. I already have AAR level 2 but I just did the placement test and she placed halfway through level 4. Although she has not memorized what all the phonemes say individually, she can sound them all out in words. Do I go through the levels so she memorizes what they say out of context (sounds like a kill joy to me), do I move on to level 3 or 4, or do I do something different all together? 

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This is coming not from the parent of an accelerated reader, but as a child who was one.  I say at this point, just let her read and continue to read aloud to her.  There are stacks upon stacks of wonderful picture books she can read that are of a length to keep her attention, and her comprehension will continue to grow if you read longer or more challenging books to her.

 

I was reading fluently by 3 and chapter books (Little House on the Prairie, etc.) by 5, for comparison sake.  The one thing that benefitted me HUGELY was a systematic, phonics approach to spelling.  I was and still am an intuitive speller, but the school I attended in elementary used The Writing Road to Reading, and I learned so much about language at an early age from the program.  It confirmed and expanded rules and phonograms I had already intuited.  A bonus to homeschooling is you can use a program at a speed appropriate to her.  Perhaps consider switching to AAS instead of AAR and just using tiles until her handwriting catches up?

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My daughter is 4 (almost 5) and is reading maybe at a 3rd grade level. We used AAR level 1 to make sure we had a strong foundation and the regular practice was great but it was very easy and she flew through it in about 3 months. We've taken 2 months off and I've just had her read out loud to me most days. She's reading 2nd grade books with me but they're not challenging her (Arnold Lobel I can read books, Zach's Alligator, Josefina's Story Quilt). Older grade books don't hold her attention and they're too long and she doesn't really care to read them. I already have AAR level 2 but I just did the placement test and she placed halfway through level 4. Although she has not memorized what all the phonemes say individually, she can sound them all out in words. Do I go through the levels so she memorizes what they say out of context (sounds like a kill joy to me), do I move on to level 3 or 4, or do I do something different all together?

Honestly I would just keep reading with her (listening to her read aloud from books she likes regardless of their level, reading to her aloud from books that are too difficult for her, and buddy reading/taking turns reading from mildly challenging books) and wait for more systematic phonics instruction when she's old enough/mature enough to begin a spelling program. She sounds like she's doing great!

 

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Maybe have a look at some old fashioned readers. They'll have more advanced language, but stick to shorter stories because they are still aimed at littlies.

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Wholeheartedly agree with others.  Let her read what she wants to read right now.  Take her to the library and let her pick out books she has interest in.  Read with her for longer books, do lots of cuddle read alouds with books that are more advanced than she has the patience for right now, and maybe even let her listen to audio books while she plays quietly with things.  As she gets a tad bit older and more mature maybe switch over to AAS or combine AAR with AAS at whatever level she tests into but right now encourage the love of reading.  The detailed mechanics can come later.

 

FWIW, I learned to read early, too.  What gave me a lifelong love of reading was how my parents handled it in those early days.  In those early days I was seeing it as a fun thing to do with Mommy and something where I got lots of cuddles and it was a soothing thing at bedtime and because I saw Mom and Dad doing a lot of their own reading and I wanted to be like them and because I was surrounded by lots of interesting reading material I could pick up as I desired it.  And my parents would help me as I needed it.  Instruction was minimal until I was older.  

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My dd sounds a lot like yours. We are just about done with Progressive Phonics, the free online program. Even though she can read about every thing, I'm going to have her finish it so that we cover the bases. Meanwhile we buddy read longer books to improve stamina. She also loves reading simple books like Elephant and Piggie on her own.It seems to improve her confidence and let her practice reading expressively. All that to say, I wouldn't spend much money if she's getting it naturally and easily.

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Just let her read.  Give her the opportunity to read to you but don't make it a thing just yet.

 

My kid went through 100 EZ lessons at age 4.  By the end he read whatever he wanted to and I would correct as needed.  We did a LOT of picture books!  The vocabulary is just right instead of stilted, and there were no overwhelming blocks of text.  From there he bounced through some readers I found at a thrift store (Scholastic - each had regular picture books inside but also questions/projects) and then into a variety.  He still likes Usborne Illustrated volumes, but at 6 is voraciously reading chapter books and also things like SOTW  rather than have me read it to him.

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I had a girl like that (she's now 17). Once she could read, we stopped reading instruction and she just read aloud until it was obvious she could read accurately when reading silently.

 

Some early longer books she enjoyed: Boxcar Children, those (ridiculous) Rainbow Fairies books, James & the Giant Peach (short chapters), Homer Price.

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We never did a reading curriculum. DD read through the Bob Books with me and she was good to go. Making her work through a curriculum would just have been painful. We did try AAS as I thought we'd catch any holes in phonics through spelling and it was painful for her. Far too slow.

 

She's now six, and able to read and comprehend text aimed at high schoolers. However, her pleasure reading is mostly simpler (third-grade-ish) chapter books and complex picture books. For example, Eve Bunting's and Patricia Polacco's books are almost all listed at 2nd-4th grade level. If you use the AR book finder, you can use the advanced search to tell it you want books at a lower grade interest level and high book level (reading level). Here's a list of 1685 books that it gave me when I searched for lower grade interest, 3rd grade reading level, award-winning books, in English.

 

Our children's librarians have been great about snagging books off the shelf for us when we go in and tell them approximately what we're looking for. We've found a lot of stuff we'd never heard of before that way.

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Here's what we're currently doing with ds 4 (almost 5).  Ds is naturally inclined towards a whole reading approach but I wanted to make sure we get a good phonics foundation in there too :).  He can read just about anything but his comprehension is pretty solidly at about a 3rd grade level.  

Review/spelling/penmanship - I pull 5-10 review words from a previous "Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" and dictate them for him to write/spell on his own 

Phonics - one lesson from "Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" 

Vocabulary/Reading - I pull any unfamiliar vocabulary words from the current reader passage he's on (right now it's the Elson reader..sometimes it's Christian Liberty's Nature readers), we discuss the meanings of the vocabulary words and then he reads the passage aloud. 

Literature - He reads on and off by himself during the day..we always read about together before bedtime (I read a story, he reads a story)..I have a list of good picture books to choose from and I also read some from a chapter book as well :). 
 

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My oldest son was similar, though a move from RI to NY in the middle of his 4 yr old year interrupted his progress.  Like your daughter, he was a fluent reader before he was mature enough to sit through books that were at his actual reading level.  We just let him continue to read...I bought the Magic Treehouse books, which were a nice segway to longer chapter books....they were solid enough to hold his attention.  After he read through those, he started to branch out into other similar leveled books.  In the meantime, I had available harder books such as Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Hatchet, etc.  By 7, he was ready for Harry Potter and he read the entire series before he turned 8 (I may be fuzzy on his exact ages...but he was young).  

 

As for curriculum...I have yet to find a language arts/reading curriculum that I like.  So, mostly, we've just done our own thing.  But one thing that I DID do for C, was to work through all of the ETC books.  We didn't do every page of every book, but we at least reviewed all of the concepts to make sure he was aware of all of the phonograms, etc.  

 

On top of that, we have been working through AAS from level 1 (when he was 5) to our current level 6.  

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Another vote for letting the kid read.  When we went to the library I would get armloads of books.  Often I would pick a topic - trees, or colonial times, or the water cycle, or mammals - and get a couple books on the child's level and a couple for me to read to the child.  Add a field trip and/or craft project, and we had a good unit study.  We'd do the topic until we got bored with it or excited about a new one.  We covered a ton of material at an age-appropriate level with no tears and very little expense.

Later down the line, you might like Spelling Workout, if the child is a good natural speller.  It was just enough phonics, word usage, etc. for my kids to fill in the gaps and get some practice with handwriting at the same time.

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Thanks for all the feedback! I am going to step away from the phonics right now. We're gonna go through some lists of picture books I have and keep reading the good I can read books. That is what I've been doing for the past 2 months but I guess I just felt like it was time for something else. I do want to say that even though she's 4, I am so glad that I did AAR level 1 with her! Even though it was very easy I feel like it gave her the practice she needed in a controlled way to become as fluent as she is and it was very fun for her! No worksheets, just a fun thing we did together while her siblings took their naps. 

 

I'll move forward with picture books and probably read through the stories from AAR level 2 and maybe 3 if I can find someone who has them :-) And then maybe start spelling when we start Kindergarten. Thank you everyone! I really found this so helpful, especially the people who chimed in saying they were early readers.... thank you for helping me focus on what's important. 

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This is where we're at now with my DD too. We read a lot together and I read a lot to her. Maybe every 3-4 days I'll do a lesson from where ever we are in the AAR progression. I've found that she reads a lot from context and pictures and knowledge of the subject matter but sometimes struggles with some of the harder words when just that word is written on a paper. So we keep plugging along with the phonics while she amazes me with what she reads.

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This is where we're at now with my DD too. We read a lot together and I read a lot to her. Maybe every 3-4 days I'll do a lesson from where ever we are in the AAR progression. I've found that she reads a lot from context and pictures and knowledge of the subject matter but sometimes struggles with some of the harder words when just that word is written on a paper. So we keep plugging along with the phonics while she amazes me with what she reads.

Where are you in AAR?

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We never did a formal reading curriculum, my DD taught herself to read early and was fluent by 3. And now she reads anything you put in front of her...I think it's the main reason she loves reading now, because I let her read whatever captured her interest rather than putting readers in front of her.

 

At 4, she was in love with Scholastic Branches books, which are all such fun reads. She loves fantasy, and many of these have a fantasy/magical element. We'd also go to the library often, and I'd let her pick out just about any picture book that interested her (although you do have to be a bit careful, since some books are too dark/frightening for a 4 year old.)

 

Has she read Magic Treehouse? Those were DD's first chapter books, and she loved them. When we got into books with smaller writing and fewer pictures, which can be hard for littles, I also did (and still do) a lot of popcorn reading, where I read a page and she reads the next page, to give her eyes a break.

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I agree with others in letting her read. When she's a bit older and her handwriting has progressed, you can do more spelling and phonics rules with her. But if she is bored, move through quickly.

 

As an aside, some good overall curriculum options for her might be Five in a Row or Sonlight with advanced readers. She may be reading, but she still needs a good quality learning experience for school, and these would build on her reading skills.

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I agree with others in letting her read. When she's a bit older and her handwriting has progressed, you can do more spelling and phonics rules with her. But if she is bored, move through quickly.

 

As an aside, some good overall curriculum options for her might be Five in a Row or Sonlight with advanced readers. She may be reading, but she still needs a good quality learning experience for school, and these would build on her reading skills.

We use Five in a Row and it is the perfect curriculum for her. It's gentle and engaging and you can take it as far as you want to go without school turning into a boring table experience at 4 years old. I love it! We also use the book Give Your Child the World and focus on a different continent each month. It's been a great year!

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This is coming not from the parent of an accelerated reader, but as a child who was one.  I say at this point, just let her read and continue to read aloud to her.  There are stacks upon stacks of wonderful picture books she can read that are of a length to keep her attention, and her comprehension will continue to grow if you read longer or more challenging books to her.

 

I was reading fluently by 3 and chapter books (Little House on the Prairie, etc.) by 5, for comparison sake.  The one thing that benefitted me HUGELY was a systematic, phonics approach to spelling.  I was and still am an intuitive speller, but the school I attended in elementary used The Writing Road to Reading, and I learned so much about language at an early age from the program.  It confirmed and expanded rules and phonograms I had already intuited.  A bonus to homeschooling is you can use a program at a speed appropriate to her.  Perhaps consider switching to AAS instead of AAR and just using tiles until her handwriting catches up?

 

I totally agree with this!  I had a son that learned to read at 3ish by himself.  I did not do any "curriculum" with him just read to him ALOT!  He is now 5 and can read really any book, comprehension is good as well.  But I still worried about not going through any "reading curriculum" with him.  So this year since he is now in Kindergarten I have worked with him some on memorizing all of the phonograms for "spelling" only.  He already knows how to read them and has for quite sometime but I wanted him to understand it from another angle.  This is working well and he is seeing parallels.  I have been using RLTL (for spelling aspect) and also Logic of English game book.  This has been a life saver for me!  Who wants to constantly drill phonograms; and since my son LOVES games this has made learning them so much easier and fun!  Highly recommend with a stack of cards.

 

As of now since your child is only four I would just let them read anything they want and read to them.  Don't worry about all of the other.  Dive into other interests and let her be a kid!  :)

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Both my girls were early readers - I took my eldest through Sonlight's readers - the grade 3 level helped with the move to chapter books with fewer pictures as the books at this level have shorter chapters and are stories that excited my then 4 and 5 year old. I was still working with my child to read multi syllable words with fluency at the time. The grade 4 level of Sonlight's readers were longer and not all of them interested my young child, but by then I had more options to choose from and could find books she liked regardless of length. With my youngest who is reading at about the same level as her sister was at this age I have used more picture books - many of these are written at a grade 5 or so level of reading and yet are shorter and have the pictures young children often want. I also get both children to read poetry suitable for children as it has a natural flow and rhythm to it, is enjoyable and aids a lot with fluency and also expression when reading aloud.

 

As for phonics - I used OPGTR (not as scripted) with my eldest along with teaching through the read alouds she was using. My youngest I am teaching her now only on words she gets stuck on when reading - usually long multi-syllabled words. My youngest has had more free reading (reading to herself) than the elder did simply because she wants it more and I have less free time available to her than I had with my elder at the same age.

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I recommend alpha phonics it will teach her all sounds of the english language and it will challenge her this is what my oldest did at four who was also very advanced

 

 

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