Of Sounds and Sightwords - One Mom's Triumph in Early Reading
Living in the country I have always prioritized fresh air and exercise for my children. I love watching them play in nature, exploring the canyons and arroyos near our desert home. While thoughts of preschool did cross my mind, I felt it was much more important for them to be outside exploring in their early years. After the last two years I realize that I should have been doing both.
When my oldest (now six) started kindergarten he was far behind the rest of his class. He quickly caught up and enjoyed a successful school year with his new friends.
The trouble started this year with first grade. Again, he started the year behind, but this time it was because he did not recognize his sight words from the previous year. Week after week he failed the sight word tests, which of course put him in a sour mood, and I was fighting to get him out of bed and on the bus.
His teacher recommended remedial reading. An hour a day he was pulled from the regular class to view piles of sight word flash cards. He sat on a chair while the cards were flashed in front of him over and over again. I was able to observe and saw that he was bored (and so was I). I don’t know how he did it. When I left the session I wanted to cry. I knew he wasn’t a slow learner. My gut told me the method they were using was wrong. No wonder he lost interest in school!
Through a recommendation from a friend in Bozeman, I found Age of Montessori and the Royal Road to Reading. I purchased Part 2: Sounds and Letters. The first thing my son grabbed from the materials was the stand-up letter cards. I quickly discovered that he didn’t know his letter sounds. I made it my priority to help him catch up. I expected a fight, but with my support, he was a willing learner. We did mini-sessions while I made dinner or we sat on the floor and worked before bed - thirty minutes or so per session. In one week he knew his letter sounds!
He sailed through the point and slide cards and then he just took off! He started to sound out the word cards. No more dreaded phone calls from his teacher. How nice to hear the teacher say he was improving so much. I knew the REAL source of his improvement. If I had not come across this program my little boy would still be planted on that hard chair mindlessly memorizing his sight words.
If your child is struggling in school, do not rely on the school to always be there for him. You can make all the difference by “partnering” with your school. It will save you and your child a lot of grief. It will give them a great head start into the wonderful world of reading.
By: Jenny M
Stay at home mom
Click here to get your copy of The Royal Road to Reading program.