Saturday, September 12, 2009

Interesting process.

It's interesting watching how reading begins with no formal training. Hannah's showing more and more interest in words and sounds and letters. As she shows more interest, I introduce things to her that I think she might enjoy and help her with things that she requests that we do.

An example of the former is Reading Eggs, a game on the computer that lets you hatch out odd creatures when you finish a reading lesson. I knew Hannah would be intrigued by the animals and would respond to the 'collecting' business, but I wasn't sure how she would respond to the very obvious lessons.

She made it through 23 lessons before she gave up in disgust because "They make me repeat everything twenty trillion and a half times. Do they think I'm stupid?" Repetition makes her crazy, apparently. When you know that the short 'a' sound is made by the letter 'a', and you're asked to tell them that fifteen times in a row, it's frustrating.

She'll likely go back to it later, when the memory has faded and the desire to get more animals trumps any bad taste left in her mouth. Then I'll probably have to pay for it for her to finish it (after a free trial period, you have to pay for the program).

An example of something that she's asked me to do is when she found the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons in our boxes of books as I was unpacking. I've had it since before she was born. My mother taught all of my siblings and me to read when we were three or four, so I was going to do the same. .... ..... .....

Anyway, she asked what it was, and I told her it was a lesson book for teaching someone to read. She said "Oh, like in Little House on the Prairie?" and next thing I knew, she was Mary to my Ma and I was 'teaching' her to read. She did five lessons straight and then declared it was recess. The book's been sitting on the desk, but she hasn't asked for any more lessons. That was a month ago.

Her interest is obviously there. Her reading to others has been amped up. She's always liked to memorize books and read them to any captive audience,

but now she's taken to asking me to read more slowly so that she can read along with me. She can read picture books to Ainsley almost word-perfect after reading them with me two or three times, which is really fun to hear.

So I play along with that, finding picture books that will hold Ainsley's interest and provide some challenge for Hannah's memorization and verbal skills.

The biggest thing I've been doing, however, is playing games with her - most of them games she makes up or games made up by my husband or myself from questions she asks. For a girl who thrives on connection and relationships, this seems to be the way to go right now.

One of her favorite games is the 'rhyming game'. It's an obvious one. Out of the blue she'll say "Let's find a word that rhymes with .... " and we do. That can go on for a loooong time.

Another game is the 'h' game. She noticed that a plastic bag someone was carrying had lots of 'h's on it, but only one 'h' was at the beginning of a word. That led us to talk about how the letter 'h' changes the sound of other letters sometimes. It can make a hard 'c' or 's' or 't' or 'p' or 'o' or 'w' into a soft, gentle sound. So "Tank You for Sopping Here" becomes "Thank you for Shopping Here." Now she loves to play with mixing letters and seeing how it changes their sounds.

The most recent game came from a group of spelling cards that she got in a fast food meal. Since the spelling itself is a bit above her, we'd ask her to tell us the beginning sound or ending sound of the words on the list as we read them. She liked that for a few minutes and then was done, but the next day, she started saying things like 'tortoise starts with tuh' out of the blue (and usually apropos of nothing we could see). So that's been fun.

It will be interesting to see how it progresses from here. Whether it speeds up and she learns to read soon or if she slows back down to let her brain absorb all of the new stuff she's learning before she starts back up again. I'm much relaxed from my pre-parent "My kids will read as early as I did" views. They seem to have gone the way of my "My kids will never do that" and "Obedience is the most important trait a child should have" views. They all flew out the hospital window when Hannah was born. Good riddance, I say.


Miranda said...

Good riddance indeed.

What a refreshing, wise, wonderful post. I wish I'd had your wisdom when my kids were that young. Enjoy watching Hannah's stream of learning tumble relentlessly, if meanderingly, towards literacy. It's such an amazing thing to watch! It sounds like she's well on her way.

Sarah said...

I've been lucky, Miranda. So lucky. I've found just the guidance and advice I've needed at just the right moments.

Any wisdom I may have is shamelessly pilfered from other women (your blog is on my reader), message boards, books, watching parents I admire. Even watching parents whose parenting I dislike has helped, for obvious reasons.

Hope said...

How lucky she is to have a mamma who is fostering her desire to learn to read while recognizing that it shouldn't be pushed lest that natural desire be diminished.

Katey said...

K felt the same way about the Reading Eggs website. Too much repeating. I have the 100 Easy Lessons book and I tried that with E and it was nothing but heartache for both of us. That was 2 years ago. You should hear her read now. She's awesome! It is truly amazing watching them learn the letters, then the sounds, then put them together and then tackle really tough words successfully. I'm in awe every day hearing E read.

K is starting to put sounds together to make words. With her speech issues, it is a bit tricky for her. What I think is cool is that even for the letters she can't make the sounds for, she knows what the sounds are.

Bona Fide Mama said...

Do they think I'm stupid?

That's hilarious!

My son is using the tivo menu to teach himself how to read. Whatever works, right?

Stephanie said...

That repeating stuff drives me crazy, too!
If/when Trev and I look at a workbook, and I ask him what it means or is asking, and he gets it, then that's certainly the end of that.
It just seems so pointless and arbitrary and rote.
blech. :)

What a joy is seeing them learn to read!!
I wouldn't trade the way we did it for anything!.... and am so glad that I get to see it all happen again with Madd-- with even less fears and tongue-biting.

Tuan's Princess said...

Very fun! Em's passion right now is asking us how to spell words so she can write them.

So much for my worry last year that she couldn't spout off the ABC's. Ha! (she still can't and you can see how much it matters! lol)

Farmgirl_dk: said...

After watching the video three times, I realized I was listening to Hannah while being unable to take my eyes off your sweet dog. That beautiful dog is a character! The adoration on her face as she watches you the WHOLE TIME you filmed is incredible. What a faithful, precious pup.
I'll bet she is so missed.

And, oh yeah, the reading process is amazing, huh? lol. sorry, i know that was the point to your post, but I got distracted by your video!! ;-)

Sherry said...

I just clicked over to Reading Eggs and listened to the introductory video. G ran over and watched it too and wants to try it. I suspect he'll hate the repetition as well, but we'll see. ;) Thanks for the link.