Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Making Reading Fun


I have begun to incorporate more of Charlotte Mason's ideas in my reading lessons. The purpose is to learn the elements of our English language through reading real and interesting material, and not just a list of words. It is also combining sight reading with phonics. I am choosing poems that I would like Sarah to read, and from those poems I am creating her phonics lessons.

For example, here is the poem we began today:

A Kite

I often sit and wish that I

Could be a kite up in the sky
And ride upon the breeze and go

Whichever way I chance to blow


Today Sarah read the first two lines to me. I allowed her to pronounce the word "often" incorrectly, with the normal short o sound. I asked her if that was a word, and then explained to her how in some words the o makes a different sound. I told her the word and she continued to read. The next word I knew she would need to learn is "could". Again, I told her the word and she continued up to the word "sky" which also needed an explanation since she has not yet learned the sounds "y" makes.

Next I wrote a list on our little whiteboard of other words in which o makes the same sound as in "often", such as: off, soft, dog, cloth, etc. I asked her to read those words to me and she did splendidly!

Next I showed her a flash card that had the letter combination of "ould" on it. I told her the sound those letters made together and wrote "ould" on the whiteboard three times. Then I put three different letters or letter combinations in front of each "ould": could, would and should. She read those words to me and now we will need to drill the "ould" flashcard daily as she becomes familiar with that odd letter combination.

Tomorrow I will have her read those two sentences again, review what we learned today and then explain that "y" at the end of "sky" is the long i sound. I'll make a list of other words such as cry, shy, and even longer ones like dragonfly. The next day Sarah will read the last two lines of the poem, and through doing so, she will learn the sound "er" makes (Whichever...under, after, number, person, government, sister, verse, thunder...just to name a few) and then she'll learn "ay" (Way...clay, May, tray, etc) and "ow" (Blow...grow, snow, bowl, window, yellow, elbow, etc). That is how the lessons work.

Eventually she will not only be able to read the words in the poem, but also words that are in the same "word family" whenever they come up. And she will probably have the poem memorized by then, naturally, just by reading it so much! This is just an example of how Charlotte Mason's ideas can be incorporated into reading lessons.

This is a great combination of creativity and imagination ( in the poetry), but also phonics and drill (as we will drill "ow", "ay", "er", etc. with our flashcards daily). This is the approach I will be taking with the rest of Sarah's reading lessons. It makes it a bit more interesting both for her and myself:)

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