Once again I sit in the awe and wonder of teaching my child to read. You’d imagine that after a houseful of children I would be so over it, yet the wonder captures me yet again.
We’ve had our early readers and those who have struggled so much. It was those that read quickly that fascinated me with how they learned in a backward way…. starting with big complicated words and only later learning the simple phonics. However it was the strugglers that made me research, study and really want to understand the why. Probably because I had struggled to spell until I was 35yrs old! Five years ago, as I sat with my struggling 8 yr old – figuring out how to go forward, I read more and more about Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching reading. As I began to understand the method and pull the full method of training the habits of attention, observation and memory whilst including copy work, whole word and phonics together I was astounded by the results.
When I saw my next – then 5 year old – had no anchors in her drawing or couldn’t draw what she was looking at I decided to begin an intensive season of training the habit of observation, memory and attention. I realised I needed a plan in place that let me easily pull this into our daily routine which accumulated in the creation of a 360 page Pre-1 Fun Days activity book that provided the structure for me to easily pull the training of these skills into our daily life – whilst introducing the alphabet and 3 letter words to them.
Over the past 2.5 yrs we have worked on building these habit – whilst slowly bringing in Charlotte Mason’s whole word and phonic lessons linked to poetry and short stories. All this time our younger daughter was sitting in and joining in with whatever we were doing, absorbing it all.
Learning to read progressed slowly – in inches of 15 min about 3 or 4 times a week – BUT every lesson was a joy and layer by layer they were learning to read quite naturally!
Then it happened! They opened the next page in their reading book – I had created using Charlotte Mason’s method – and they could read!
Not the stilted one word, sounding out sound by sound stumble that we are so accustomed to – but whole sentences!
My heart just wanted to burst as I had always known that this method of a natural gentle approach – no flash cards, tears or stress – could work and I had heard about so many success stories. Yet never before had I been brave enough to exclusively use this method – without using, drill, flash cards, word lists, flashy apps and other creative, around the block methods.
This has proved for me yet again that when reading is presented in a way that a child can build a relationship with the words are are learning and we give them the space to make their own connections during the lesson – instead of us telling them – a child will learn to read naturally! They may take longer BUT by basing the phonetic lessons on the words in the poem they understand the way words are built, they discover their own phonetic words and so “own” them” and suddenly they wake up one morning and can read! Therefore once again I want to shout it from the mountain tops! “This method works not only with an early reader but with a struggling reader too!!!”