Saturday, September 5, 2009

When is it too early to teach reading?

[Previously published for sfgate.com/moms]

A little after Mikey turned 1 year old when he saw a picture of a cat, he said, "meow." I thought to myself, "If he can see a cat and know its sound, then I could teach him to look at a letter and know its sound."

After reading some books, I came up with two basic ground rules for myself:

1) Don't waste my time teaching Mikey the song, "A, B, C, D, ...now I know my A, B, Cs." It doesn't help him read to know the names of the letters. It is better to teach the sounds of letters. It takes a little retraining on my part but it's working.

2) Stick with starter letters but don't limit myself to them. I started with U, P, and C. These letters make the words UP and CUP. Mikey's face lit up when he learned that if he says U and P together it makes the word UP. He threw his hands above his head and said, "UP."

Teaching the sounds of letters happens naturally throughout the day. It's really just being mindful of taking advantage of learning moments and knowing the sounds of letters myself. Mikey now knows that letters have special sounds. He has an alphabet placemat and loves to review letters over breakfast.

I don't have any big goal in mind, I just figure, why not!

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