My 4yo is interested in reading. He had some exposure to phonetics at his Montessori* daycare, and I picked up on that method at home with him.
He left that daycare when he joined the public school system in September and entered Junior Kindergarten. And he likes it there…but he is not interested in sitting at a table with some of the other kids and learn to read and write. He’d rather play with blocks.
Which is fine by me. And by his teacher too.
But I observe my child all the time. He loves books, he visits the library weekly, and he often points to a word at the side of a truck, or on a street sign and asks me what it says. So naturally, I try to teach him to read it himself.
It’s not hard. If he knows what sound the letter makes, and strings the sounds together, he can read the word.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work with the English language since there are so many exceptions. But it’s not impossible, and since he’s already familiar with this method, we just keep it up.
One of the things they do in Kindergarten each day is look at a calendar and talk about the day of the week, the month, and other related information. I figured, why not do this at home too?
Like most households, we have a box full of magnetic letters. These are great tools for letter naming, phonetics, and reading and writing exercises. Since Benjamin knows the phonetic sounds of most letters, I use that as my starting point.
Let’s say we’re talking about Tuesday. Since each day of the week ends with the word “day”, I scramble up the remaining letters on the board and ask him to write it out for me. If he simply guesses which letter he should use first, I ask him to tell me what sound the letter makes. This is when I see it click in his brain. Oops, that’s not the ‘t’ for Tuesday, that’s the ‘u’ for umbrella, he’s thinking.
Since he is still mostly comfortable with the phonetics though, I make a point of telling him the name of the letter as well.
Yes, that’s the ‘t’ for Tuesday, or Tyler, or Tiger. This is called the letter Tee.
He likes doing this with me.
One thing I have noticed however is that if he does put the letters in the correct sequence, he sometimes puts them backwards, or upside down. Not sure if that is just a common mistake amongst pre-readers, or if it’s because he’s left-handed, but I’m not going to worry about it right now.
The fact that he’s interested in reading at this age is enough for the moment.