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Ema

4 yr old says he wants to learn to read...wwyd?

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He has known his letters and the sounds they make for near on two years (simply by doing an alphabet snake puzzle my dad made for him over and over and over and over....) and has lately been spelling words out he sees. I know he is only 4 (will be five in January) and I am so not one to push my Littles into reading, but I also don’t want to miss a window, ya know? Yesterday when he was spelling words in his baby sister's board book I asked him if he wanted to learn to read and he said yes. What would you do? What would you use? I don’t know if what I used for his older sisters would work for him, since he is so young...will post in the kindergarten forum as well, but wanted some extra input. I am sure there are many out there who have taught their 4 yr olds to read, but teaching reading is not my favorite thing about hs-ing and I was not expecting to be here for another 2 years or so. I am just SO not ready for this!

Edited by Ema
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I second Bob Books.

Edited by Slache

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With my little ones (my kids tend to start learning to read between 3.5 and 4), I stick with hands on manipulatives until they are blending and reading CVC words easily.  So we build CVC words out of magnetic fridge letters and then drive a matchbox car along them blending the sounds as we get to them, or we make CVC words on the driveway with chalk and blend them as we walk past them, or we make CVC words out of playdough and blend them as we roll over them with a rolling pin.  For us, the key has been activities that have the child physically moving from letter to letter - not just pointing with a finger, but actually moving their whole body or an object along the word at a steady pace that encourages smooth blending.

Once they can fluently blend CVC words, then we jump right into Ordinary Parents Guide and Explode the Code 1.  I keep the lessons very short to accommodate for their young age.  I also continue the physical manipulative activities introducing CCVC and CVCC words.  In this way, in the curricula books they are practicing actually reading CVC words (which they are already comfortable with) in print and strung into phrases, while during play they are mastering longer short vowel words.  By the time they are asked to read the CCVC and CVCC words in Ordinary Parents Guide and Explode the Code, they will already be comfortable with them from play.  We continue this "pre-teaching" through play until their reading takes off and I look up one day to find them reading a Frog and Toad book for fun.

Edited to add:  I have found the skill of blending at that age to be highly developmentally influenced.  If I try some blending activities with a 3 or 4 year old and it just is not clicking, then I set them aside for several months.  I have found that to be one skill that I cannot teach if the child is not completely developmentally ready.

Wendy

Edited by wendyroo
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I would start with BOB books and see how he does.

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I like Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for kids at that age. We move from there to Phonics Pathways/ETC/ Bob Books in some combo depending on the kid.

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I'd teach him.  If he already knows the letter sounds, try using some letter tiles to teach him to "say it slow" and then "say it fast."  So, for example, put out an m, ask him what sound, then do the same with a and t.  Then show him how to go mmmmmmaaaaaaaaattttttttt.  Then say it faster and faster until you get to mat.  Then do it with several different words.  If he picks up on this fairly quickly, then he is probably ready to move into Bob Books.

Instead of letter tiles, you could do what I did with my younger son when he was little and make a PowerPoint slideshow where really big letters appear (you make a slide with mat, but with the at in white, the next slide will have ma and the t in white, then the third slide will have mat all in black).  He loved sitting on my lap and "doing the letters."

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9 hours ago, Ema said:

He has known his letters and the sounds they make for near on two years (simply by doing an alphabet snake puzzle my dad made for him over and over and over and over....) and has lately been spelling words out he sees. I know he is only 4 (will be five in January) and I am so not one to push my Littles into reading, but I also don’t want to miss a window, ya know? Yesterday when he was spelling words in his baby sister's board book I asked him if he wanted to learn to read and he said yes. What would you do? What would you use? I don’t know if what I used for his older sisters would work for him, since he is so young...will post in the kindergarten forum as well, but wanted some extra input. I am sure there are many out there who have taught their 4 yr olds to read, but teaching reading is not my favorite thing about hs-ing and I was not expecting to be here for another 2 years or so. I am just SO not ready for this!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It's true phonics method, based on the Distar method, and it's particularly good method for younger children as it doesn't require writing.

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I did the 100EZ Lessons with my older girl at 3. She’s now almost 7 and reads a ton, and doing lessons with a kid who can read is nice, so it’s worked well for us.

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My oldest was like this. We did the above mentioned 100 Easy Lessons. Actually, for us it was only 50 Easy Lessons, since we took a break at that point and never got back to the book. She could read just about anything by then, at 4.5.  By far my easiest kid to teach to read.

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16 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I would get some Bob books and would work slowly with him on blending sounds.  

Thankfully my sister has some she is done with!

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Also - I do a lot with "word families" at that age.  So we make words in the "at" family by adding letters on at the start.  bat, cat, fat.  At this age I just put one letter at the start.  Later on, you can add blends like sl for slat etc. 

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7 hours ago, Ellie said:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It's true phonics method, based on the Distar method, and it's particularly good method for younger children as it doesn't require writing.

Tried 100 Easy Lessons with DD9 and oh we failed horribly! It was not a fit for her, so wanting to avoid the same experience I did something completely different with DD7 (who is reading at or even, dare I say it, above DD9’s level). I don’t think what I did with DD7 will be a fit for DS, however, and have been thinking about pulling out 100 Easy Lessons to look at again...

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1 minute ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Also - I do a lot with "word families" at that age.  So we make words in the "at" family by adding letters on at the start.  bat, cat, fat.  At this age I just put one letter at the start.  Later on, you can add blends like sl for slat etc. 

I remember learning to read on the train out to Oregon in that exact way! Wonderful memories! Just picked up some magnetic letter tiles, they’d be great for that. DS is a tactile learner right now.

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55 minutes ago, Ema said:

Tried 100 Easy Lessons with DD9 and oh we failed horribly! It was not a fit for her, so wanting to avoid the same experience I did something completely different with DD7 (who is reading at or even, dare I say it, above DD9’s level). I don’t think what I did with DD7 will be a fit for DS, however, and have been thinking about pulling out 100 Easy Lessons to look at again...

What went wrong, out of curiosity?

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I started OPGTR with all of mine at 4yo (plan in starting with dd3 in a few months). So long as he can blend and knows his letter sounds, I can't think of any reason to wait. Lessons here were gentle and took under 10 mins a day.

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Dd knew all the letters and sounds by 2.  She’s 5.5 and still can’t read.  She’s asked to be taught several times, and we bring down the Bob books and as soon as she realizes it’s actually work she loses interest.  So um, don’t take it personally if he doesn’t have a *sustained* interest in reading!  (We aren’t pushing it, she doesn’t start Kindergarten until the fall.) 

Edited by Lawyer&Mom
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I started teaching my son to read at just past age 4 using a book called Alphaphonics., which I highly recommend.  Some kids are ready earlier than others.  Reading gave him something else to do with his very hyperactive brain.  He still loves to read and reads all the time.  By age 4 years and 9 months, he was reading Beverly Clearly novels, and read and comprehended Stuart Little.  My son probably has Aspergers though so I'm not sure how typical this is.

We never used Bob Books, but after going through a good portion of Alphaphonics, we did the McRuffy Press Kindergarten Transition package.  My son really liked their books and still reads them nostalgically for fun sometimes. 

Prior to this, I wouldn't say my son showed any type of special ability with letters or sounds.  I remember being amazed by a toddler at the library who knew her letters already.  I wouldn't have known that he would learn to read so fast.  I'm curious about my second child because he already knows some letters and numbers at age 20 months which is completely unlike my older son.

Edited by nwahomeschoolmom

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18 hours ago, wendyroo said:

.Edited to add:  I have found the skill of blending at that age to be highly developmentally influenced.  If I try some blending activities with a 3 or 4 year old and it just is not clicking, then I set them aside for several months.  I have found that to be one skill that I cannot teach if the child is not completely developmentally ready.

Wendy

 I strongly agree with this. I have had a very early reader, an early reader, an average reader, and a slightly delayed dyslexic reader.  For all of them, blending was something that either were able to catch onto, or they weren’t. Time seemed to be the only thing that got them there.  Before moving to blending letters, we would do the say it fast game with compound words. So I would say things like “side [pause] walk...say it fast?” Street...light, base...ball, etc. The kids ready to blend could do that easily and move on to “c....a......t...say it fast?” Kids not ready to blend  might catch on to the compound words, but then they would throw out random guesses when we moved onto letter sounds to blend. 

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Agree that desire and actual readiness are not necessarily the same thing. How are his pre-reading skills? Rhyming? Indentifying initial sound? Final sound? Sequencing skills? Children's brains need to have matured to a certain pt in order to be able to decode.

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100 EZ Lessons starts with very explicit blending and rhyming practice, so if you did try that and kiddo wasn’t ready, you’d know.

My daughter did find the first 20 lessons really boring, to be honest. We just persevered with it by doing half lessons and using rewards, and she perked up when she started being able to read actual little stories :-).

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13 hours ago, square_25 said:

What went wrong, out of curiosity?

That is a good question, and I really don’t know. Looking back (she was my first) it was probably just that she wasn’t ready.

8 hours ago, kand said:

 I strongly agree with this. I have had a very early reader, an early reader, an average reader, and a slightly delayed dyslexic reader.  For all of them, blending was something that either were able to catch onto, or they weren’t. Time seemed to be the only thing that got them there.  Before moving to blending letters, we would do the say it fast game with compound words. So I would say things like “side [pause] walk...say it fast?” Street...light, base...ball, etc. The kids ready to blend could do that easily and move on to “c....a......t...say it fast?” Kids not ready to blend  might catch on to the compound words, but then they would throw out random guesses when we moved onto letter sounds to blend. 

Yes, having my first child struggle with reading, I definitely am ready to go slooowly, and stop if DS isn’t ready. He loves the say it fast game with words, and this morning I tried it with letters. He got c....a......t, and rhyming is hit or miss. We’ll just see how things go, slowly!

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1 hour ago, Ema said:

That is a good question, and I really don’t know. Looking back (she was my first) it was probably just that she wasn’t ready.

Yes, having my first child struggle with reading, I definitely am ready to go slooowly, and stop if DS isn’t ready. He loves the say it fast game with words, and this morning I tried it with letters. He got c....a......t, and rhyming is hit or miss. We’ll just see how things go, slowly!

 

I think this is one of those things I struggle with, as well: how to deal with my expectations that come from having taught one kid. Like, as I said, my older daughter was done with 100 EZ Lessons at 3.5. This is just not a reasonable expectation for my younger girl (who, for example, didn't learn her letters nearly as quickly.) But it's hard to adjust my ideas to this different child, because I have such a wealth of data from the older one!

Anyway, this is to say that I would try hard to keep an open mind. If he wants to learn, give it a try :-).  He might need to go slowly, or he might enjoy going fast. You'll just have to see! 

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nm

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I have been using these games and ideas for my 5 year old ( we started them when he was 4) she has a bunch of free printable games https://www.themeasuredmom.com/word-families/

I've also been using these games from here and he's loving them! Particularly the raspberry game. I only printed 1 of each since its made for a classroom. https://www.soundcityreading.net/pdf-files-for-activities-and-games.html

If he likes those games and progresses then I would move to readers like bob books.

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On 5/28/2019 at 3:25 PM, square_25 said:

What went wrong, out of curiosity?

I had trouble with 100 EZ lessons as well. When my two older children were about 7 I used it with them both. My ds caught on quite well and was truly reading by the time that we were done. My dd on the other hand worked through the lessons but when the markup was removed around lesson 70 she floundered. She just couldn't do without the scaffolding. She learned to read about 6 months to a year later with Spell to Write and Read. I think that her brain just couldn't grasp when to use the different phonemes. English spelling was just too illogical for her little brain. Interestingly though she's quite a good speller today, unlike ds.

On a side note, I also wonder if 100 EZ lessons makes some children imprint capitalization errors. My ds, who is almost certainly dyslexic, just cannot remember to consistently capitalize where needed. This maybe just purely a dyslexia problem but I have wondered if 100 EZ lessons compounded the problem by exposing him at a formative stage to poor punctuation. I mentioned this on these boards awhile back and someone else also said that they wondered the same thing about their own child. Research on this subject would be really interesting.

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29 minutes ago, rose said:

I had trouble with 100 EZ lessons as well. When my two older children were about 7 I used it with them both. My ds caught on quite well and was truly reading by the time that we were done. My dd on the other hand worked through the lessons but when the markup was removed around lesson 70 she floundered. She just couldn't do without the scaffolding. She learned to read about 6 months to a year later with Spell to Write and Read. I think that her brain just couldn't grasp when to use the different phonemes. English spelling was just too illogical for her little brain. Interestingly though she's quite a good speller today, unlike ds.

On a side note, I also wonder if 100 EZ lessons makes some children imprint capitalization errors. My ds, who is almost certainly dyslexic, just cannot remember to consistently capitalize where needed. This maybe just purely a dyslexia problem but I have wondered if 100 EZ lessons compounded the problem by exposing him at a formative stage to poor punctuation. I mentioned this on these boards awhile back and someone else also said that they wondered the same thing about their own child. Research on this subject would be really interesting.

 

Hmmm, it's possible. I'd like to see research as well :-). For the record, my 1st grader isn't having this issue -- not that she never forget to capitalize, but she's gotten pretty good, and a far bigger problem has been the year she spent in kindergarten, when no one would correct her at all. 

That's an interesting point about removing the scaffolding. I'm sure that like with a lot of things, removing scaffolding is smooth for some kids and not at all smooth for others. 

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8 hours ago, rose said:

On a side note, I also wonder if 100 EZ lessons makes some children imprint capitalization errors. My ds, who is almost certainly dyslexic, just cannot remember to consistently capitalize where needed. This maybe just purely a dyslexia problem but I have wondered if 100 EZ lessons compounded the problem by exposing him at a formative stage to poor punctuation. I mentioned this on these boards awhile back and someone else also said that they wondered the same thing about their own child. Research on this subject would be really interesting.

Just for fun I can share my own experience... I have had 5 kids use 100 EZL. 2 girls and 3 boys. Neither of my girls have any issue with random capitalization, most of my boys do/did.

The oldest outgrew it around 9 yo. My middle son never had a problem. My 3rd son is 10 and still struggles. I put him in ps this year. Every single aspect of his writing got worse, including random capitalization. (I don't know how that is even possible. Whatever my school district is doing to teach writing, they are doing a very poor job...) He is back at home, and this is getting a lot better in a short time.

Son 1 went through half of 100EZL before his reading took off and we moved to real books. Son 2 completed the entire book. Son 3 completed through about lesson 75. Lesson 75 is also about where both girls moved on.

So my own broad generalization would be that boys struggle more with this issue than girls do regardless of exposure. Who knows though. The lack of capitalization would be my one big complaint about 100EZL. For me it is easily forgiven since that book has worked so well to teach my kids to read, but it is a legit complaint nonetheless.

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This site has suggestions of easy reading activities you can do at whatever stage you think he's at... http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com/2009/03/reading-lessons.html

I'd also play games where you let him make silly words with magnet letters and sound it out for him.   That can help him see what the sounding out process is like.  (It also helps them learn the necessity of vowels as you explain that you can't sound out a word without them).

ProgressivePhonics.com has free readers and little lessons you can read to him that explain the phonics (the letter sounds, but also the phonics beyond that like blends and such) in a really fun way (personifying the letters and such) and are super short so would be easy for a 4 year old attention span (an you read with the child...it's color coded so he reads some words and you read others).   If it doesn't work, no loss just let it go cause it was free anyways.   I will say one thing though, we started using it at the intermediate lessons, not the very beginning lessons, and like 100 EZ lesson there's some capitalization issues with those.   Not with every book, I think but with some, so you might consider subbing out something else for the ones that have that problem.   The later ones are great though, and I haven't noticed any problems like that with them.

Mouse Makes Words is a fun little book to read at this stage.   You read most of it, but you can have your child read the BIG words the mouse is changing letter on and let your child try to guess what the new word will be when the letters are swapped out.

🙂

 

 

Edited by goldenecho

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Wow, I guess I have been away for a few weeks! So many great suggestions and thoughts! Also interesting about the capitalization...my niece has trouble with that (though she is 11 and it probably isn’t still from 100EZ lessons 😆) but her brother 100 EZ lessons and is great at it. I am slowly screwing up the courage to ‘start something’ with him. I think it may need to happen in 5 minute increments, but I am okay with that! I don’t know why teaching reading is so nerve-wracking for me, but it is. I actually just told DH we are done having kids because I don’t want to have to teach any more kids to read! 🤣

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