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How to teach a young child to read?

(26 Posts)
OldieMum Wed 05-Jan-05 14:37:07

DD will be 2 tomorrow. She was an early talker and she loves reading books with us. Her language development has come on rapidly - she now has a large vocabulary, speaks in complete sentences all the time and she says she wants to learn to read. Last night, she picked up a letter we had received and spent a long time pretending to read it. I don't think I'm just projecting my wishes onto her. I don't want to be a pushy parent, but I also don't want to hold her back, or spoil the fun she would get from reading, for fear of being a pushy parent. We have done some of the obvious things, like looking for As, Bs and Cs etc on shop signs and in books and looking at what her name looks like written down, but I feel in the dark about where to go from here. Should I use phonics, or the whole word approach, or what? Any advice?

lowcalCOD Wed 05-Jan-05 14:37:43

woudl catryy on as you are doing adn leave it till hse is older

OldieMum Wed 05-Jan-05 14:38:14

But she says she wants to do it now.

lowcalCOD Wed 05-Jan-05 14:38:59

oh I went like this I got the jolly phionice books 1-3 and the wall chart and they learned all the sounds
then we put them together

lowcalCOD Wed 05-Jan-05 14:39:26

( but thiss was at 3 and very casual before everyone thinks of hem at a desk!!)

beachyhead Wed 05-Jan-05 14:39:42

Friends of mine have had good results with flash cards at a young age- especially the reception words.....

SlimlineDryGinger Wed 05-Jan-05 14:42:50

there have been a few threads on this topic.

I think that 2 is too young to start to learn to read properly. My DD 2.5 and how you descibe your DD sounds familiar.
But I am no expert so please someone correct me if necessary.
We have the Usbourne ABC book, and she loves that. We also practice letter sounds, but that is as far as we have gone.

littlemissbossy Wed 05-Jan-05 14:47:02

Interesting advice on a November thread

frogs Wed 05-Jan-05 14:49:50

I second cod. I had (still have) one very precocious reader, but didn't start reading systematically with her till 4 and a bit, as I think there are more important things for littlies to be doing.

If she's desperate to, get basic books that teach the letter sounds (NOT names), and let her play around with those, colour them in and do lots of drawings. If you can locate some of the old Ladybird books with lovely pictures and basic words (Peter & Jane, Shopping with mother etc) we had great success with those.

But do be careful. I hated seeing how children at nursery were pushed into 'proper' reading books when all they really wanted to do was play around with letters and do 'pretend' reading. By the time they were ready to start reading properly they'd gone right off the idea, as they whole process was so drawn-out. That's what made me boycott the whole thing until Reception. Dd1 then moved from 'Here is Peter, here is Jane' to reading Roald Dahl by herself within 6 months, comfortably overtaking all the precocious readers.

You can get lovely workbooks for most of the popular phonics schemes that will give a child the feeling of doing 'proper grownup homework' without pushing them beyond their age.

OldieMum Wed 05-Jan-05 14:51:13

Thanks. I wasn't imagining formal teaching at all, just wondering whether I should be helping her to recognise phonics or complete words. DH is a whole-word man, but a neighbour gave us a sensible-sounding book using phonics. DH is worried that phonics would confuse her and mean that she would have to re-learn to read when she moves onto looking at whole words. As a victim of ITA (a crazy, 1960s approach which 'simplified' spelling and meant that I had to learn to read twice over), I can see the sense of this, but thought that the whole-word approach is now out of favour. Can anyone enlighten me?

EpiffanyFeast Wed 05-Jan-05 14:52:37

my ds now 10 was early talked very precocious,
Cat in the Hat was great!
We just taught the alphabet, school taught phonics, he has always been an advanced reader
I think your dd sounds amazingly advanced, just read with her and she will let you know when she is ready,
my dd was 2 in october and I am now wondering what is wrong with her!

popsycal Wed 05-Jan-05 14:55:04

Hi oldiemum

ds is 2 years 4 months and isnt as advanced with speech as your dd but is starting to show an interest in letters. He has always been fanatical about books and sits and 'reads' them (from memory). He can do the sounds for his name (only a simple three letter name) and recognises the first letter of his name.

This has only happened because of informal playing. If I write his name, I spell it out. And he just has a good memory!

Some things I would suggest (as I get very nervy about little tiny ones reading really early...) is:
Have names of things on toy boxes
Play I spy
Make pictures out of letters
you could play a matching game - letters snap or something

OldieMum Wed 05-Jan-05 14:55:25

There's nothing wrong with your dd! DD is just an early talker. She is completely normal in other ways and a bit hesitant in some physical things. The later talkers catch up in the third year, anyway.

popsycal Wed 05-Jan-05 14:56:06

Phonics is how reading is taught now.....
I posted some really good sites a few months ago with games on....let me see if i an find them

they are for much older kiddies though

popsycal Wed 05-Jan-05 14:59:17

i posted them on here but probably not what you want on relfection

frogs Wed 05-Jan-05 15:01:25

Phonics, every time. In the four years between dd1 and ds the school moved over to a phonic reading scheme, and the difference is incredible.

Read Why Children Can't Read by Diane McGuiness for the truth about children and reading.

popsycal Wed 05-Jan-05 15:02:28

and jolly phonics is used much more commonly than letterland...

LIZS Wed 05-Jan-05 15:02:51

Agree with popsycal - keep it informal and fun. You could introduce the Jolly Phonics Finger Phonics range and use some flashcards to play matching and memory type games.

You may find that she'll be into this for now then suddenly change interest - ds was a bit like that - so don't be disappointed if she does n't make direct progress to "reading" for a while to come. dd (3)loves "reading" and is starting to identify the component sounds of a word. We are using the Usborne First Hundred Words sticker book and had a great Thomas the Tank Engine Word Book for ds which had detailed pictures to talk about and pictures/words as a key on the side. you cna then look for the item in the big picture and talk in general about what is happening on each page.

marialuisa Wed 05-Jan-05 15:04:01

It's vital that you teach your DD letter sounds and don't try to teach whole words (except for things like her name).

I have a precocious brat who reads fairly fluently at 3y10m and writes her own stories and messages (unfortunately her fine motor skills are no so well developed and 5 words requires an A$ page). As she was interested we simply taught her the letter sounds (initially only had lower case letters) and things sort of progressed from there.

Usbourne do a fantastic Alphabet Lotto game based on the Poppy & Sam stories; DD had loads of fun with that and you can use it in all sorts of ways.

popsycal Wed 05-Jan-05 15:05:55

another thing that just popped into my head.....

when teaching letters: use the sound the letter makes and I dont mean 'muh' for m I mean mmmmmm and nnnnnn for N and ssssss not es for s
does that make sense?

californiagirl Wed 05-Jan-05 18:14:48

Gee, I learned to read by the time I was three, and I learned using whole words (Sylvia Ashton-Warner's method, where you ask what words the child wants to learn and write them out). Kids are supposed to want words like "mother" and "firetruck". I was a determined little thing and I wanted to read, damnit, so I insisted on having really common words first. Like, I started with "the". The first sentence I could read was "Go and kiss the pig".

DD is 10 months, and still mostly interested in books as objects, but if she's interested, I plan on doing a combination of phonics and whole-word. I love the idea of asking what words she wants.

I don't think kids should be pushed to read, but I loved loved loved being able to read at a young age and besides, if her attitude towards reading is like her attitude towards food, there isn't going to be a lot I can do about it -- I don't think kids should be pushed to eat finger food either, but she didn't really care what my opinion was on the matter, she was going to eat finger food or stick to nursing forever.

jane313 Wed 05-Jan-05 18:47:54

I had great success with teaching with letterland because the children loved the stories and personalities connected to each phoneme and you can just read them as just stories. I remember one headteacher I met said that one of the mnenomics in jolly phonics was a bit strange I think it was saying the i sound was the sound a mouse made whereas most people pronounce that as eee. Having never used the scheme I don't know. I did read an interesting book called The Meaning Makers I think that suggested that the children that advanced more were just read to/with more rather than doing anything formal at a younger age.

miranda2 Wed 05-Jan-05 18:52:57

I learnt to read with my mum very young using whole word flashcards. Then at school they used letterland, I don't recall getting confused.
Ds (3.5) is not at all interested though!

bee3 Wed 05-Jan-05 20:07:05

The aspect that I think is really crucial for v young beginning readers is to learn how to identify and separate sounds within a word that they hear and say. As a Reception teacher, I wouldn't start teaching letter shapes and their corresponding sounds until I was sure children could confidently hear the separate sounds within a word (you'd be surprised at how many can't...or don't understand what you mean). This means loads of "I-spy" and lotto type games, matching pictures/objects to the beginning sounds, making collections of objects that start or finish with the same sound, playing matching pairs games with real objects, again matching the beginning/middle/end sounds eg. "Here's a hat, can you find something else that ends in a 't' sound.... With a real littlely I'd play loads of these types of games, and just talk about and listen to sounds in the words you use, interesting words she says etc etc If she's good at hearing them in words you say, and ones she says then she'll probably have fun with looking at letter shapes that match. No time to preview - hope this makes sense!

tamum Wed 05-Jan-05 20:49:07

Oldiemum, I've said this before on here, but I really recommend Lucy and Tom's ABC by Shirley Hughes as a way of teaching letters without seeming to (if you see what I mean!). It's a lovely book that children enjoy for its own sake and really reinforces letter sounds. I would definitely start with phonics, but they do have to do some degree of word recognition at some point <waits to get shouted down> so a few flashcards wouldn't do her any harm.

I was just about to say "oh my cousins did ITA" and then remembered that they were probably at primary school with you!

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