Thursday, November 24, 2011

Teaching your Child to Read Part 2

By Umm Abdurahman

Once your child is reading, regardless of what program you used to get your child there, you might find yourself wondering, “what next?”.  The good news is that the more your child advances in their reading level the more options that become available.  However for some of us, sifting through the many options can be overwhelming, and perhaps confusing.   In this post I’d like to give a list of some of the books and curriculum that we used with and after 100 easy lessons, as we progressed up the reading ladder.

1.       Oxford ReadingTree - read at home series (beginner – age 6 / kindergarten)

As soon as my son understood the concept of blending, we began the beginner books in this series as supplemental reading to 100 easy lessons. At first your child will need a lot of help, and for that reason you should only get him/her to read small increments, perhaps two or three pages. As your child gets better and becomes more confident, encourage him/her to read every other page with you. The best things about this series are:

·         The series follows the same characters throughout.

·         The grading and progression of the language was appropriate.

·         There are questions at the end of each book to check for comprehension.

·         The storylines start off simple and slowly become more complex by level.
The only drawback I found was that in the last levels, they use a magic key which transports the characters into fictional/historical periods. We simply skip that page and overlook all mention of it. We also skipped two books altogether due to content issues. Other than that I would definitely recommend the series.  

McGuffey First Eclectic Reader (ages 6 - 8 / grades 1 - 2 )
They are a series of graded primers that were used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. I started the first book when my son had just completed ‘’100 easy lessons’’. At this time, his reading abilities were pretty good and so we made quick progress with it. The pros of the McGuffey readers are:

·         The language was very rich due to the literary period of the books

·         The quality of the material was very good

·         There are moral stories throughout the readings

·         Each book is made up of a collection of short stories, allowing flexibility to skip around, or switch texts, while moving at your own pace.
The only issues we had with the books were that the stories weren’t always very engaging for my son. We stopped early in the second level for a change of pace, but plan to return to the books for supplemental reading. We found the first eclectic reader to be very beneficial and I think you will too.
3.       Oxford Treetops Collection Stage 12 - 14 (ages 8-10 / 3-4th grade)

Currently we are reading this series of books. They were a little above his level initially, but with a little help your child will progress very quickly after completing just one book. You will be surprised at the speed with which your child goes through the books. When your child comes across a word he/she is not familiar with, encourage him/her to sound it out, if they get it wrong ask them to try again and if they still don’t know tell them how to say the word and ask them to repeat it with their finger under the word. The positive things we found were:

·         The storyline is always engaging, fun and exciting.

·         They are a great introduction to chapter books. (they are about 55 pages long each)                                                                                              

Bedtime reading
This is a very important aspect of our curriculum just as much as learning phonics or any other step. Reading to your child daily will help instill a love of reading in them, and encourage them to continue reading. Abdurahman's all time favourite book was  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Presently we are going through ‘’The Last of the Mohicans’’ from the Classic Starts collection by sterling. We highly recommend them. They vary from 7-12 years / 3rd-7th grade depending on the individual book.

We hope this list will be a benefit to those of you who are just starting out and need some ideas on what to do next.  As your child advances in his/her abilities, your options will become larger, and the more suggestions you may recieve.  What works for one child doesn’t always work for another, but that is one of the reasons why you homeschool, to find what works best for your child.  We’re always looking to updates our library and to find better reading material so please feel free to suggests your favorite reading materials for your children so that we can add them to our lists.