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8 years ago I was a new mom with no experience teaching reading and not much money to spend.
Now I have a first grader reading above grade level who truly loves to read.
The best part?
I taught her myself in only a few minutes each day with materials that cost our family less money each year than a trip to the movies, with 5 resources I’ll share that I bought once and can use for one child after another.
After researching so many programs with mixed reviews or hefty price tags, I’m excited to share the simple steps I used.
I have made the exact list of resources that I used available in my resource library.
Step 1: Read Aloud To Your Child
Read to your little one early and often.
Your little one will learn to make books a habit in her life early on.
She will also learn how to hold a book and which way to turn the pages.
Step 2: Introduce Letters And Their Names
Before your tiny tot can learn the many sounds that the letters can make in the English language, he has to learn to identify the letters themselves.
I have found drilling to be the very best way to get the job done.
You can use good old-fashioned flashcards or alphabet magnets (on the refrigerator, easel or an oil pan!)
Or try a video, like I did for each of my peanuts.
I prefer the video method because I can pop it in when I need a few minutes.
Then I get to wash a dish or pee-pee in private.
And then I reinforce with flashcards when we have some time for quiet snuggles.
I love love love the Eric Carle flashcards , which we’ve had for 8 years and counting.
But you can also grab a pack at Dollar Tree that will do just fine.
Step 3: Introduce Basic Phonics
Once your child has mastered the names of the letters and is able to easily and consistently identify them, it’s time to move on to phonics.
I have seen more than one mama stress out (and stress her little ones out) trying to help her child memorize every possible sound that each vowel can make.
Not to mention introducing ch, sh, and other letter pairs.
Mama, do not make this mistake.
At this point, the goal is to introduce the sounds that the consonants make on their own as well as to introduce the short vowel sounds only.
This is because the first words your little one reads will probably be simple consonant-vowel-consonant words, which use short vowel sounds.
If you introduce more than that at this point, you run the risk of a a new reader who is discouraged rather than building confidence.
Go ahead and use your flashcards to teach phonics if you would like to stick to one resource.
You can also use a video for reinforcement, which helped my pumpkins have their letter sounds down in under a month.
Step 4: Step-By-Step Lessons In Advanced Phonics, Rules, & Disobedient Words
The English language has so many conflicting rules, drawn from so many other languages.
For this reason, I really like to use an all-in-one book that is broken down into individual lessons.
Yes, there are fancy systems that include activities and readers and other bells and whistles.
But those are just not necessary.
And they definitely hike up the price tag.
If you take a stroll over to Amazon, you will find a handful of one-book no-nonsense choices which will all get the job done.
I personally favor an approach with scripted lessons so that I don’t have to prep anything or leave anything open to mama error.
Step 5: Build Reading Confidence With CVC Books
Start this at the same time as you begin reading lessons.
And as soon as your child has mastered the basic phonics. CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant.
Find some readers designed for brand new readers that only use single consonant sounds (no blends such as sh or ch) and short-vowel sounds.
So no vowel combinations or silent-e endings.
These books are often packaged and sold in sets.
And most book stores carry them as well.
You can usually find some great options on eBay as well, but since these books are so effective they do retain their value well.
So I did opt to buy ours new at an actual brick and mortar bookstore.
Step 6: Set Your Reader Free!
At this step, it is time to give your child more independence when it comes to choosing what to read.
Allow your child to choose books to read to you and provide plenty of opportunities for him or her to do so.
We love all of the leveled book series that offer titles featuring popular children’s characters.
Leave books of every level in easy reach of your child so that he can challenge himself or build confidence with something familiar and simple as needed.
Our daughter is allowed to read in bed after we tuck her in, and I typically find her asleep with a pile of books next to her bed a half hour later.
Similarly, she knows that she can choose books to bring in to read to or with me if she wakes up before her baby brother in the morning.
This is an excellent way to get in some extra snuggle time with your reader.
And there you have it!
When you and your child have reached this point you have a reader!
Of course, your child will still need a lot of support as the journey to reading mastery continues.
There will be unfamiliar words that pop up often, and as your child begins to challenge himself or herself with books written at more advanced reading levels, questions about the meaning she of words in books and other materials will begin to replace questions about basic phonics and pronunciation.
Realize that this will not last forever, and be as available as possible to answer those questions so that your child continues to feel encouraged to take on new literary challenges.
And, of course, continue to read aloud to your child. This is an important part of learning pronunciation, intonation, meaning and nuance for your reader, as well as a cherished way to spend time together that you will both look fondly back on in more challenging years.
What step will you jump in with? Do you have experience with any of the products I mentioned here?
Get My List Of The Only 5 Simple Tools You Need To Teach Your Child To Read At Home.