Sunday, December 04, 2005

Read by Four - Step By Step Method Anyone Can Do

I was planning to write a book on this, create a series of CD's, set up classes, and otherwise market the idea into untold $millions for my family. Alas, there is only so much time, and I have a blog to write. So here it is for free.

I have successfully taught 3 of my children to read at the third grade level within one year of starting. One started at age 4 and a half. The other two started at age 3 and a half. My youngest boy read the first 4 books of the Bible by age 5, and the entire New Testament by age six. (Children's International Version which is a full translation.)

Sure, my kids are brilliant (at least according to me.) However, I maintain that this can be done with any child. Here are the steps. No Charge. No Come On.

1. Start teaching letters as soon as they will pay attention. Use Sesame Street, magnetic letters on the Fridge, blocks, electronic games, anything. At age 2 and a half, have dad sit with the soon to be genius for 10-20 minutes and study letters. I suggest dad, because it will be special time. Not that moms aren't special, just that the kid is probably getting lots of attention from mom with very little work. I suggest that this study be done on Dad's lap. Makes it even more special and desirable.

2. The first goal is to have the young reader recognize every letter by pointing to them as you say them . The second goal is to have them saying the letter when you point to it. These two exercises can be done simultaneously with some work on each done each day. Start with capitals. When they are 100% proficient, then do the lower case letters.

3. While this entire process is going on, begin to tell them what a few simple words are in their children's books as you read to them. Words like the, and, or, I, and Mom. This is so that they will begin to get the idea that the sets of letters they are seeing are more than just letters, but have word meanings.

4. At this point you will need a "reader." My personal favorite is the McGuffy's Readers, which are a reprint of a reader from the 19th Century. They are so different than anything else the child will be seeing, that they have a special intrigue. There is also much talk of God in these readers. Finally, they have phonics in an easy way to explain it.

5. Whatever reader you choose, begin with a few weeks of see and say. In other words, have the child learn words that they can associate with pictures. In the McGuffy's, these are words like pot, ax, dog, cat, and hat.

6. Don't do "see and say" for more than six or eight weeks. Begin to take the pictures away as soon as possible and introduce new words that don't have a picture. Again, the McGuffy's reader does this in a way that make the transition easy.

7. About 90 days into this process, begin to do phonics drills. I always started with "a" and worked on various "a" sounds before moving to "e"

8. During your story book reading time, point out the words they have learned as you see them. Very likely, they will begin to point them out as well.

9. You will be surprised at how quickly they begin to take over some of the reading of their stories, combining actual reading with memorization.

10. Within 1 year, they should be reading at about the 3rd grade level, if you do about 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week.

11. I'd love to get your comments and e-mails on this.

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