Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reading lesson with Happy Phonics and "Go, Dog. Go!"

Johnny has been patiently waiting for the delivery of All About Reading. The mail has been delayed thanks to the arctic weather we've been having.

He wanted another DIY reading lesson.

Today, I pulled out some games from our Happy Phonics kit. Have I talked about Happy Phonics on here before, or just in my head? I picked HP up from a used sale for $20. It's a steal at that price (new is $50 I think) because my set was pre-cut and sorted. Some things were even laminated! To me, that's better than new.

Happy Phonics is cool because it has a large variety of reading games. Really simple stuff on cardstock, but fun for kids and seriously educational.

Today, Johnny and I did "The Reading House" where we read words ending with -all, -at, and -ame. We slid letters through the reading house, so Johnny read things like "ball," "call," "wall," etc.

Next, we did "rhyme time" where we matched pictures (not words or letters) of things that rhymed. So, cat and hat, etc.

Our last game was "the castle game" (I think?) which was a board-game style page with all of the vowels as spaces on the board. We took turns flipping picture cards, and we moved our token to the space where the vowel was represented. For example, a picture of a hat, we'd move to an "a." Bus, move it to the "u." We moved our tokens up the game board toward the castle. Johnny won. He usually does.

I am so pleased with how he's responding to the games in Happy Phonics. They really are fun for him, and they're a great reinforcement. HP encourages use with Explode the Code workbooks. I have a couple of them but I'm just not sure if I want to use them. We'll see.

After that, I asked if he'd read a book to me. I picked "Go, Dog. Go!" because it's one of our favorites, and it's on his level.

I had him point to each word as he read it, to help with visual tracking and to make sure he saw each word rather than skip ahead. We paused when he wanted to study the pictures or talk about the wacky dogs. He did great with most words, and I helped him with others.

One of the great things about this book is the repetition. So the word "over" stumped him at first encounter, but it came up again later and he got it.

Toward the end of the 64 pages, I could tell he was getting a little fatigued, so I had him point to each word while I read it.

A completely fun reading lesson and it ended when Vivienne noticed I was missing and wanted some attention. Johnny wanted to keep on reading! Yay!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hop on Pop

Johnny has been reading CVC words for awhile, and attempting some others. I asked him the other day if he'd read a book to me -- I pulled "Hop on Pop" by Dr. Seuss since I knew it was very friendly to new readers.

He read I'd say 95% all by himself! So excited! Toward the end of the book, I could tell he was getting fatigued, but he still had a good attitude about it.

He would like to read more, so I think I should encourage that while the interest is there.

I'm drawn to the laid-back philosophy of "just" using books and teachable moments to get through phonics and sight words. The "Teach A Child to Read with Children's Books" and Ruth Beechick's approach as well. They sound great to me, but with my firstborn I just don't have the confidence. Maybe Viv or Amelia will get that approach, idk.

I've read wonderful things about the All About Reading curriculum. Some reviewers said they tried a few other approaches, and wish they just did AAR first.

Part of me bristled a bit at the price tag -- $99 for the first level (we're skipping the pre-reading level). Now, most of it will be reusable with my girls, and I'll just need to add a student pack for them for like $20ish each. So the long-term potential and resale value is there. But still! I could buy a lot of great children's books for that price.

You're supposed to buy a special letter-magnet set to add a hands-on element. I didn't quite like the price tag of that, either, where one reviewer said it was basically thickly laminated paper that was pre-cut out. Meh.

We have some rubber crepe letters from a Lauri puzzle and I'm going to see what we can do with that first, though we won't be able to make all the phonograms with just the 26 letters. Perhaps that plus a white board will be sufficient and if not, I'll get the regular letters sold by that company.

I asked Johnny what he thought about me buying a book that will help me teach him to read. "Do it! When do you think it will get here? I will do it 100 days in a row," he told me. Haha!

So we'll start it when it arrives. P.S., Johnny turned 5 a few weeks ago, Vivie turned 3, and Amelia is 3 months.

As for Viv, she will probably insist on being involved/monopolizing things. I have some coloring books and sticker books for her, and some educational manipulatives that I hope she'll enjoy. Or maybe I can distract her with ... gasp... a movie. Lol. I will do whatever it takes.