We began our first official day of unofficial school on Monday, August 4, 2008. I refer to this year as “unofficial school” because I have insisted to Steady Eddie that I do not want to purchase any particular curriculum yet because, after all, Lulu is only four and Louise is only two. I figure we can spend our learning times reading books (which we have always done) and doing rather short, informal lessons on reading skills. Here’s how our week went:
Monday–Read The Big Green Pocketbook per Before Five in a Row
Big Green Pocketbook
Although we had already read this particular library selection numerous times, the girls enjoyed each re-reading as much as they did the first. Today we even made our own pocketbooks, although, as you can see, ours weren’t exactly green.
Beginning on Tuesday, we picked up doing reading skills lessons from the Ready to Read, Ready to Count Handbook.
I read about this book on Hilary’s blog
, bought it used from Amazon, and was impressed enough with its simplicity to think that even I could do it. This is the basic lesson plan for each day:
1. Present the letter representation of the sound by showing the girls the letter written on the white board, both upper and lowercase.
2. Practice saying the sound together.
3. Practice saying words that begin with the sound.
4. Trace the letter on the homemade sandpaper letter cards (more on this later).
5. Practice writing the letters on our whiteboards.
6. Look through old magazines (i.e. Ranger Rick, Your Big Backyard, etc.) for pictures of things that begin with the sound. Cut out the pictures to make our own book of sounds later.
7. Use the computer to hear the letter and play a little game pertaining to the sound on Starfall
Here are the sounds we did this week:
This sounds like a lot, but it only takes twenty or thirty minutes. So far the girls have really been excited about it. Lulu already knows most of what we’ve gone over, but I feel a real need to be very systematic about this. Louise, ‘though she’s only two, has actually picked up a good bit, too. She even pointed out the letter m one day and said, “This says mmmmm.”
My thoughts right now about this is that teaching reading is both a lot of hard work but also quite a magical thing. Lulu is really nowhere near reading yet, but still, I can see the potential is there. I think it would be quite a boon to us if we could begin our formal schooling already able to read, so I really want to work on these skills this year. Still, I am really feeling my way through this. So far our learning time has been a precious part of our day. Stay tuned for week two!