Message Board > How are you helping your child learn how to read?

If anyone has any tips on books, games, or strategies they used to help their child learn how to read, I'd love to hear about them.
January 11, 2007 | Registered CommenterHelicopter Mom
Someone gave me a series of books called "Pat the Cat and Friends" published by DK books. They are really big, over sized books and each book focuses on a particular vowel and ending consonant. I found them very useful.
January 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersue r.
This may sound overly simple: I read to my son at bedtime and we sat in a position in which he could see the pages (and pictures). By re-reading stories over and over, he began to remember the order of the words and what part of the story went with each picture. Eventually he identified individual letters and words. I used letter magnets on the refridgerator to teach him the alphabet, letter sounds and simple words.
January 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNJ Mom
My son watched the PBS show "Between the Lions" over and over - it helped him learn phonics, particularly vowel sounds, in a fun way.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdowntown Mom
Our TV always had the subtitles turned on. When my son watched cartoons, movies, etc., he was able to see the words and hear them at the same time. I believe that helped him as well.
March 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSuper Mom
When my child was 3 going on 4, I worked her through the first 64 lessons of "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons". The first 50 were very easy. The next 14 got dull and like pulling teeth. then I quit, but it was a real stunt, by 3 year old could read reasonably well for a kid her age, but she didn't like it. When there was no follow-up at her school, when my child was 5, I started again, this time working her through a web-based 80 lesson program, called "headsprout". it took August through Valentine's day to get through it, mostly my own organization issues slowing us down. I coached each lesson and printed out the stories and made her read them to me every morning for 15 minutes out loud. The Headsprout program worked. It was quite engaging. She was fairly strong reader at that point, in kindergarten. Zero follow-up at school and with my own busy schedule, I see some backsliding in skill level. So now we are doing Funnix 2, a cd-based program, again with me coaching each session. All of these are systematic phonics programs. Reading out loud to me each morning has also helped a lot.
June 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTribecaMom
Thanks for sharing that. I found that the Explode the Code workbooks were also very helpful They are also systematic phonics. What was your experience with how your child's school handled reading?
June 2, 2007 | Registered CommenterHelicopter Mom
In respone to above: at every step teachers at three different schools discouraged me (strongly in some cases) from teaching her to read. I learned to hide it from them. In the first case, when my daughter was 2, she began to sound out things on her own at the most simplistic level, like her teacher's name on the entry to the classroom (pat), or FEDEX on the trucks. The teacher's thought I'd coached her and politely declined to notice it. So I decided to start on my own. She was 3 by the time I had made up my mind to the direct instruction methods. Teacher #2 was wonderful, but firmly told me to "back off" or my child will hate to read. Teacher #4 just ignored me when I told her and showed her what my child could read (it was pre-K, afterall). In kindergarten #1, the teacher at a famous school just gave trivial unchallenging reading work to my child, even after I brought in some Headsprout readers for her. She also assumed I was a lunatic for teaching my child to read. The second kindergarten teacher just doesn't know what my child can do and I haven't explained it as I'm tired of getting that annoyed face from the teacher. I guess I am just another Helicopter Mom in spirit.
June 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTribecaMom
None of us are born "helicopter moms." I think we become one when we see a need in our children that isn't being filled by the school system. You saw that your daughter was ready to read and you taught her. I wish I had done the same for my son. He was so ready to read in kindergarten and told me so. He told me that what his school was doing wasn't working--"they tell me to look at the pictures but that's not reading mommy. I want to really read," he'd say. Foolishly, I told him to trust his school. This resulted in his not reading throughout kindergarten and the first half of first grade. He memorized all his books after the teacher read them once to him, so his teacher thought he was reading. When I realized he had memorized everything and wasn't really reading the principal didn't believe me at first. Months later when I said I was teaching him how to read at home and needed the school's help, I was given help but was also told my son should be evaluated for a learning disability. We agreed to have him evaluated and the evaluation showed he has no learning or phonomic processing issues. He is fine. The only problem is that he is not reading at the level his IQ says he should be reading at. No surprise there since his school didn't teach him how to read and I had to play catch up with him. I cannot tell you what stress and grief this caused me this entire school year. (I sheltered my son from my stress so he had no idea how worried I was but, truly, I was a basket case.) Now, he is reading beautifully and I am a changed person. I will never again trust my kids' schools to impart what my kids need to know. I will always be on the lookout for cracks and gaps and will be there to fill them. My hat goes off to you that you spared your daughter the experience my son had this year. Why does her K teacher not have any idea how well she can read? So she is not making further progress in school with reading, only at home with you? Does her school also have the Balanced Literacy curriculum?
June 4, 2007 | Registered CommenterHelicopter Mom
What a nightmare for all such parents!! I have read four months worth of the'Hilicopter Mom' blog, and then HAD to see if there were numerous posts of parents in similar situations.
I mean, NYC schools,,,what a ZOO! At least, that is the sense I get from reading in the blog and these posts.
As a New Englander and parent of two, a daughter who was raised through Massachusetts public schools,now 22 and a son now eight in Warwick, RI public, I have had no type of experiences with respect to literacy teaching.
The more interesting question here is what would YOUR parents have done, if they had faced such a problem.
How many of OUR mothers were faced with failing school systems and apathetic teachers?
I cannot help but observe that my mother stayed home for the "formative years" with me and my brother born five years after me. Neither of us had any problems with our early education and/or learning.
Five years after my first brother, my second brother was born. This was from a different union and the divorce of my parents was old news. At this time, my mother was back in school getting her Masters in Education at Harvard, and the addition of my youngest brother was a logistical nightmare for ALL OF US, yet none suffered more than he. Needles to say, she did NOT stay home with him.
YES,,,he did suffer with learning how to read and had to be tutored professionally for a few years.
Of course, as an educator my mother had all three of us children tested, and all three of us tested at average intelligence.
The difference in this case is clear, yet the fundamental truth of it can and should be applied to ALL PARENTS: no one will love your child/ren enough to really care what happens to them in this world AS DO YOU, THEIR PARENTS.
It's really that basic. It is that black, and it is that white. It is a truism.

April 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShocked in Rhode Island
You are absolutely right. Thanks for sharing that. If you have time, skip ahead to my most recent post--What you and Obama's mom have in common. It shares the same opinion that you have posted.
April 12, 2008 | Registered CommenterHelicopter Mom