But then, at around six or seven years old, Yesha has learned to read chapter books and is quite enjoying it. She can now read independently on her own with fluency and comprehension. But she still sometimes need assistance for big words such as miraculous.
When she was around four or five years old, her pre-K years, I was already thinking how should I teach her to read, like how we adults read. For instance with the word “cat,” in a flash of a millisecond, you simultaneously know it’s a furry animal that meows and you know how to read and pronounce the word “cat.” As a homeschooler, that was my goal for Yesha.
There was a reading program offered by our homeschooling provider. It was a book where teachers follow the step by step teaching of word sounds, beginning from ey sound to z sound. I was overwhelmed as there were so many sounds like soft “o” as in for bot, or long “o” as in coat.
Going back, after doing my own research, this is how Yesha learned to read.
Learning the different alphabets
Learning the alphabet sounds
The alphabet sounds are the foundational skill for phonetic awareness in words. “A” is for “ah”; “B” is for “buh.” For this, we just let her watch the ABC sound by Super Simple Songs. We also sing this together.
Singing nursery rhymes
When Yesha mastered a song, we sing it while following the lyrics. That way, she can associate the words to the sounds they created. Moreso, singing nursery rhyme songs has familiarized Yesha with rhyming words. A skill that she needed for learning to read.
1. house, hat, mat.
2. Cat, elephant, cow
2. Cat, elephant, cow
Apart from phonemes, there were also rhyming words. Nursery rhymes songs are great introduction for this activity.
c. table, chair
Learn to read by blending sounds
Read aloud bonding time
There was also sight words that I introduced to Yesha. But it was a bit redundant because these sight words are frequently encountered during our real aloud.
Reading books from Level 1 to Level 3
Reading level 1-3 Read Yourself books created confidence in her. It allowed her to read independently. Level 1 books have big pictures on a single page, with very simple sentences and simple words.
We counted the Read Yourself books that she can read on her own. I would say, “Yesha, you can now read 7 books on your own. Wow!” And her face would broke into broad smile, showing how proud she was of herself. This created confidence in her, and more importantly, interest and love for books.
For Filipino words, I did a brief intro for her. I created a chart from a e i o u to za ze zi zo zu. I pointed at different phoneme (ex: me, po, le) and asked her to identify. It was easier because she already knows how to blend. Now at 7 years old, she can read Filipino, but not as good as with English. Probably because we don’t read Filipino books everyday. This is a work in progress.
Overall, it was a smooth and enjoying journey for me and Yesha. I was able to reach my goal without stress. Yesha also learned reading without stress too, which is very very important. Our reading journey can be summarized in four activities, namely, alphabet and phonetic sounds, singing nursery rhyme songs, read aloud bonding, and reading level 1-3 books.