Many times I am asked the question, “When is my child ready to read and start your program?”. One way to determine if a child is ready to read is through a reading readiness test – (find a free reading readiness test here). Today,though, I thought I would give a candid answer from my experience as a teacher and mother.
I have had three children learn to read using the Sight and Sound Reading program….well, really -I have had two children learn to read, and one who is currently on Day 3! My four year old has completed Day 1 and Day 2, and is now working on Day 3. He knows all his letters and is pretty good at the letter sounds. He is interested in learning words. He is constantly asking me what different words are – either in books, or when driving around. He likes to read letters – on t-shirts, signs on the road, boxes of cereal. He is ready to read. My first daughter was much the same way. She too was 4 when she started to show signs of wanting to read -asking questions about words and letters, and knowing some of the sounds of letters.
My second daughter was 5.5 before she really showed many of these signs. She knew her letters long before that -but, really didn’t ask about sounds or words. We started her much later than the first two because she really just wasn’t ready. In my experience, when a child is ready to read -they are just ready. They will pick up reading easily and learn quickly when they are ready. I compare it to knowing the colors… you can tell a child that an apple is read 150 times, and they just don’t get it…finally, one day -they are like… Hey -this apple is read. YES! The apple is red!
That being said, though – I want to go on a bit further. My son completed Day 1 and Day 2 a week ago…and we have not returned yet to Day 3 Each day he reads to me from his reading workbook – Day 1 and Day 2. I know he knows how to read those days, but -he hasn’t had the concentration or desire to do Day 3 yet. Also, I want to be confident that he knows Day 1 and Day 2 before I move on to Day 3. A confident reader loves to read… One of these days I will try Day 3, and practice that over and over until I know he knows it. He is only 4 -I don’t expect him to read and learn a new word (or 3 each day).. I take is slowly -and slowly his mind learns to recognize the different words and soon -he will easily pick them up each day. In the beginning, I start very slowly – making sure that the child knows the word well. He has completed Day 1 and 2, so he can read the sight words ‘good’ and ‘morning.’ He can read these words in his workbook, he can read them in another book if I point it out. He can read them if I write them.
My daughter who struggles with reading, we did the same thing…she was just older, and it still took longer. We started with the sight word program -so she go the confidence that she could read. A confident reader likes to read. (A struggling reader usually doesn’t like to read!). She clearly struggled with reading..so much so that I often thought she has a learning disability. She would reverse letters, confuse sounds, turn words upside down and backwards. This made is all the more important that I gave her confidence with her reading. We worked each day with the sight word program. When she entered kindergarten, she was one of the best readers in her class. This helped her feel good about reading. Every night she still asks to read from her reading workbook -because it makes her feel good that she can read every single word of a book. Now we are working on the phonics program with her -she watches the word ladder videos and phonics videos -to help her with sounding out, spelling and writing.
Long story short – If you feel your child is ready to read, or, even if you are not sure… use the reading readiness test as a benchmark of when you begin the program. Then, start Day 1. A child does not need to know letters and letters sounds to start the program…it helps -but, these skills/phonics are taught throughout the program. Then, once you start -watch your child and go with his/her pace… making sure he/she has confidence with Day 1 before moving on to Day 2. Before you know -your child will be reading confidently and love reading!
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