Monday, October 13, 2008

Learning to Read

In the Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Sometimes its interesting and sometimes daunting. When you are so interested and passionate about a subject, as in the education of your child that you go against the norm in order to save him from unnecessary influences and provide him, Insha Allah with what you believe is good for him in terms of being a necessary area of knowledge that is often neglected in schools or more importantly because you believe that would help your child serve in the path of Allah, Insha Allah.

Every day, i read more and more about methods of teaching a certain subject or topic and how to cover it in a manner that your child learns for life, retains it and can relate it to real life. Sometimes different sources are so different in approach that you are left confused.

Alhamdulillah, I have also come to the realization that no one method is right or wrong or complete. One needs to try different methods and pedagogies and look for cues when it comes to things that are explained differently in a source.
A very important example has been from my life's experience.

I read about using phonics solely or using words recognition first. Some books talked about helping children memorize whole words from cards while others suggested using the approach where the word family is more important than individual letter sounds.

Alhamdulillah Allah guided me to use all methods simultaneously and i can see now that it was the best method because i could use whatever my son was more receptive of at a particular moment.The method was not important but my son enjoying learning was.

The best i believe is to start with individual letter sounds- the phonics approach. help the child read any and all words no matter the length. whether single or multiple syllable. You could hide extra syllables with your finger and then show it after the child has read the previous syllable. Then read the syllables together. When you encounter a word that doesn't follow phonics rules, tell your child that its a funny word or is spelled in a funny manner and enjoy it. Your child will not be confused by the exceptions and will instead consider the growing list of funnily spelt words amusing. eg. are, was, picture where the 'ture' sounds like 'cher' or 'ght' words where the 'gh' is always silent eg eight, weight, night, right, or sign where the g makes the i sound long.

The trick is to cover those words that your child finds interesting, it could mean that he learns to read 'adventure' before learning 'she'. Then there is a whole list of 'e' words where the 'e' does not have a short-vowel sound, eg. he, she, we, me, be.

When using wordlists, its important to try not to cover all words on the list, better ways of helping your child are to read books and get some decodable books from, Starfall, Readinga-z or the Oxford Reading Tree books from the Oxford University Press available on Amazon, too that are excellent, and read To and then, With your child. He might know how to read but when he asks you to read, do that! He will learn that its something thats enjoyed and will also learn to read words correctly.

The guide available at I Can Read is very helpful in deciding which books to add to your child's library by either purchasing them or just borrowing from the library.

Also, samples available at EPS could be enough to help you know what needs to be covered/taught and sometimes even how.

There are other books that people find useful when teaching their child to read. I have not used these books so I do not know what and how they teach but I have heard some really wonderful and not so wonderful things about them so it is just a matter of what helps you teach according to your teaching style as well as your child's learning style.

Some of the resources that people have found useful are

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Phonics Pathways


Reading Made Easy

The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading

Pathway Readers

Explode the Code Workbooks

Other Reading Resources some of which I have used are:

Bob Books

Educational Insights, Phonics Readers

Fun Phonics- These follow a systematic phonics pattern.

Readers-Very Easy to Use but not systematically phonic.

Oxford Reading Tree -Excellent! This really helped my son get hooked on reading.

Primary Success Publications

Progressive Phonics-Lots of leveled readers with workbooks and activity ideas. Affordable!

Reading A-Z- Lots of levelled readers , decodables, write-in books, color-in books, many of these books cover across subjects. Wonderful and affordable!

Starfall- Wonderfully Excellent!

StudyDog Reading Program

The Elson Readers

Teach a Child to Read- Very useful and helpful lessons for teachers :).

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