Learn to Read...Help!

Discuss the pros and cons of various curriculums, or get help on which to choose!

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Learn to Read...Help!

Postby Bamatina » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:43 am

New here and this is my first post...so...

Teaching my son to read we are having a few issues. First of all, he really dislikes reading, doesn't even like to be read to very much. Much prefers math and science. He knows letter sounds and can sound out words but is not retaining any of his sight words at all. He seems to struggle with applying the skills of sounding out words to reading a book. We did Hooked on Phonics but he got bored with it really fast. He is now doing Looney Tunes Click 'N Read and loves it. Always does very well with each lesson. But when we try to read a simple reader, he struggles. Any suggestions?

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Postby katiewardell » Mon May 20, 2013 7:59 am

Hi Bamatina,
My name is Katie, I hope I will be able to help, as I am an experienced primary school teacher.

Firstly I would like to reassure you by saying that this is a very common issue experienced by parents, especially those who have young boys. (You don’t mention your sons’ age but I assume he is in the early years as he is just learning to read?)

It is hard to know whether he is struggling so therefore he hates reading, or hates reading so struggles to focus and learn…this will become clearer over time – for instance if he starts to engage but still is not making progress, this may indicate the need for further investigation into the cause of his difficulties. BUT I must stress, children all learn at different paces and of course have different abilities in subjects, so try not to worry yourself.

It is really important that your son sees reading as something with a purpose, which can help him to do things that are necessary or enjoyable in life. The likelihood is that, due to the nature of any curriculum, he is probably being asked to learn ‘random’ and no doubt ‘boring’ words by rote. Maybe you are also asking him to read books which just suit his reading level – not necessarily because it is something he would enjoy reading.

You mention that he loves science – this is fantastic and I would advise you to use this to help him develop his reading interest and achievements. How about doing a little project together? Have a chat to him and see what kind of thing he would like to find out about in science. If for instance he chose the planets, there is loads of stuff you could do.

Start by information gathering: Visit the library/book shop to collect relevant adults and children’s books (only look at and discuss the pictures and exiting stuff until you get home), do internet research (use keyword ‘science websites’ brings up some good ones), watch science programmes/you tube. Read together/read to your son in a non-pressurised, exciting way so that he is focussing on the facts, not the process of reading. By doing this, you are highlighting that we need to be able to read in life and this is not just a tedious task!

Then do some fun practical tasks, for example make a solar system with papier mache/paint it/make name labels. Then present this, maybe like a TV programme, to another parent/relation/friend/neighbour/teacher. Do it together, taking turns to read part of the script. Do this sort of activity regularly.

Alongside this, practice the sight words daily, for only 5-10 minutes, no more. This needs to be really good fun. Try 3 words per week, no more. Practise the same 3 words every day. If he doesn’t grasp them all of them, carry relevant ones over to the following week. At the end of each week, reintroduce the words learnt previously, to recap. Some sight words can still be sounded out, so help him do that. Suggested games/ways to make learning these fun:
• Hide them and get him to find them – for each one he finds and reads correctly within 5 minutes, he earns a small cash reward
• Play word ‘snap’ with him – get him to make and decorate the cards.
• Play the memory game ‘pairs’ with the words.
• See how many words he can read correctly in a minute.
• There are lots of fun games to play on the internet – as you’ve already found, this is a great way to help him learn in a positive way.
• Make ‘silly sentences’ for each other to read and laugh as you swap and say them.

Remember not to get stressed - it will affect him and never force him to read...he will come around in his own time...

Please let me know how you get on and I would be happy to help further. You can also visit my website: katiewardell.com.
I am an experienced Primary School Teacher, with many areas of expertise inc: primary curriculum, behaviour management, special needs and parental coaching. I offer many services and products to help parents. Visit my website at www.katiewardell.com.

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Re: Learn to Read...Help!

Postby Ramona » Sat May 25, 2013 5:19 pm

Bamatina wrote:...doesn't even like to be read to very much. Much prefers math and science.

Do you read math and science books to him? Encyclopedia Brown stories, etc?

Bamatina wrote:...is not retaining any of his sight words

Sight words aren't necessary. Many children have been taught to read successfully without ever being taught a single sight word, myself included. Let them go.

Bamatina wrote:He seems to struggle with applying the skills of sounding out words to reading a book.

This takes great patience and a very long time, sounding out one sound at a time for a whole page or two every day for months or years. Keep at it and give it time.

Bamatina wrote:We did Hooked on Phonics but he got bored with it really fast.

Not surprising. It's pretty boring.

Bamatina wrote:He is now doing Looney Tunes Click 'N Read and loves it. Always does very well with each lesson.

Wonderful! Great! Good for you and good for him! Please tell him I said so!

Bamatina wrote:...when we try to read a simple reader, he struggles. Any suggestions?

Make sure it's very casual and very loving and very happy. Load on the praise every time his struggle pays off in sounding out a letter or diphthong in a book all by himself, in putting two letters together smoothly, in realizing what word he's looking at, in comprehending a two-word phrase, etc. Don't make these "lessons" or "reading sessions" too long. When he's uncomfortable he won't learn any more this time no matter how hard either of you tries.

It sounds like a young person learning to read to me, and you're doing great! :)

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Postby Theodore » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:32 pm

Use reading materials that he enjoys. That's the one and only solution to this problem. My youngest two sisters knew how to read using the phonics method, but were relatively slow and not particularly interested in reading. Mom gave them a bunch of comic books and within a year or two they were where they were supposed to be in reading skill, and are now well above average and reading a variety of things.

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i taught my 4yo to read

Postby juliaks2007 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:59 am

he has been reading fluently for about 3 months http://juliaandzennan.blogspot.com/2013 ... early.html

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Postby DerrekInMo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:21 pm

We went the whole phonics route. It really helped out kids learn to read quickly. We found a great program called Reading Eggs. That plus reading to them constantly really gave them a boost. It was fun to watch the lights come on so to speak.
Derrek B
Kansas City, MO
Dad to 2 great kids!

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