Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning to Read with Dick and Jane & Other Helpful Resources


Dick and Jane…

See them run.

See them play.

See child read.

See how easy?

One of the scariest thoughts about homeschooling our first child was, how do I teach her to read? In the beginning, I begged my husband to place our children in a school where they can teach literacy first and then I would step in once the basics were established. He didn't buy into my appeal. He was convicted from birth. I was a bit more hesitant, not trusting my patience level, not trusting my teaching ability, not trusting period.



I began an online search for all the fancy curriculum and phonics programs. However, when I looked at the instructions for these packages, I was already worn out! If I hated to read how to do it, certainly our daughter would be done with it too (If not from pure distaste, then from the frustration she felt from mother while doing the activities). So, back those went… and it became very overwhelming.

The World of Dick and Jane and Friends (Treasury) (Dick and Jane)


This is when I decided it was time to get back to the basics… What teaching tools were used prior to all the dazzling programs? What came to my mind was the classic alphabet sets and the Dick and Jane books. 




We  played with the wooden letters, sounded them out and placed them inside the proper slots. She began to recognize the letters and make the appropriate sounds herself. We casually practiced this for five minutes a day (no pressure for I had learned my lesson here).
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
 ~ Emilie Buchwald

In the midst of all this, we read *ALL* the time in our home. That was our "curriculum". Books were a way of bonding and teaching at the same time. Because she was exposed to the excitement and fun of books, she developed an interest in wanting to read herself (which I think is the key to all of this).


“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity
for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” 
 ~ Marilyn Jager Adams


Once our daughter "learned the letters", we brought out the Dick and Jane books. I placed my finger along with the letters, sounded them out and made them into words (nothing professional, I assure you). I asked her if she wanted to try. "See" was the first word she read and it was pure bliss!!!


From that point on, the reading increased as we continued our practice for a few minutes a day (or more when she seemed interested). If she didn't pick it up quickly, I was going to be okay with it. She will in time. And she did… at the age of four!

Note of Caution: Do not be led to believe there is a "normal time" for everyone to read. Some children are 7 while some are 9 (and none are normal!!!). Reading books by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore will help to release you from the "ideal age" thinking in your homeschool and free you from unnecessary pressure.
The next challenge came with the blending words. For some reason, to say "rat" was easy but not "drat". She couldn't understand how to blend the consonants. This is when resource number three came to the rescue (a blending board game). It was remarkable and achieved in one sitting what I had been working on in one month!


The last obstacle was the "sight words". Many she knew since we read together so often but there were some issues. We sought another game since we had success with the last one. Sight Words Bingo was the easy solution.

And the rest is history. Her vocabulary grew and pronunciation of the longer words increased. We continued to read together every day but also appreciated the help of audiobooks. I had her read along with the tapes so that she knew how the harder words sounded. This was a priceless tool in our homeschool and is still used to this day (It also gives mother a chance to catch up on housework).


Between alphabet puzzles, classic books and fun games, we were able to accomplish the task which I had "dreaded with all my heart"! Perhaps this little post can ease your mind a bit. Sometimes the answer in home education is simply to simplify.

In fact, she took to reading so much that I caught her in the shower with a Bobbsey Twins chapter book (she was 5 years old)! I did a "s.w.a.t" style invasion because her showers became excessively long. I knew something "sinister" was occurring. How does one read while showering you may ask? That will be saved for another time, another day…


“The end of all learning is to know God,
and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.” 
~ John Milton




23 comments:

  1. Great advice! Each one of my children learned to read at different ages. One is still learning. I'm glad I learned to let them move along at their own pace.:) Reading is a very enjoyable time for our family!:) I think I will get our Dick and Jane books out today.

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  2. JES,
    I love this post....it brought back memories of teaching my little boy. He is now in 5th grade. I love the old school books and have used many of them over the years.

    Blessings,
    Amy Jo

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    1. Yes, the oldies are still goodies to me too! :)

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  3. I taught the little girl I baby sit to read with Dick and Jane too! First we did letter flashcards, then moved onto the books. She is three and can read! Not super well, and a lot of it is sight words, although she can do the phonics if she tries. Her first word was Dick, which I made sure I explained to her mom LOL.

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    1. How fun to be involved in a little life like that! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

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  4. What a wonderful compilation of ideas, quotes and resources. Thanks so much for sharing this, I'm sure it will help many moms. I'll pass this post on. ~ Abby

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  5. Way to go! It is so important to gently incorporateboth phocs AND sight words AS NEEDED. Btw, we used "Hop on Pop", because we adore Dr. Suess! The rhyme provides little clues and the zaniness is so entertaining .

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    1. I agree, "As needed" is important because each child learns differently… We can throw a lot of curriculum at a child who may have gotten it at the first hint… Thanks for sharing here today Candi May :)

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  6. I appreciate this post very much! We are in the "learning to read" phase right now in our homeschool! :) Visiting from Teach Me Tuesdays! ~Jenn @ Teaching2Stinkers.Blogspot.com

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  7. My son is just learning, and I am enjoying the stories all over again from my childhood. It's like visiting old friends, and realizing I missed them, especially Puff!

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    1. How fun! Glad to hear others appreciate the older stories too!

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  8. How funny that she was reading in the shower! I tried in the bathroom as a kid, but never in the shower! :) Thank you for a great post! I know so many moms who invest hundreds in curriculum when most of what you need, you can get from the library!

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    1. Yes, it was funny, but AFTER the fact :) Also, I agree, the library is a huge resource!!! It could be your entire curriculum!

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  9. Oh yes, this post is an example of what I call true homeschooling, and I, too, found that sometimes it works better than conventional ways. One thing we did that had amazing results was when our youngest was in high school; we set aside language and grammar replacing them with an older college typing manual. Our daughter learned typing and sharped her grammatical and punctuation skills at the same time in a lot less time than it would have taken if taught separately. Our homeschool umbrella school gave much more difficult tests than did the public schools, and she scored college level in English after the switch. I love homeschooling. ;)

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    1. I didn't know you homeschooled! :) Thanks for sharing this idea as this is the kind of "curriculum" that works well for us too! Just another wonderful form of copywork coming to the rescue!

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  10. sharped = sharpened
    Just goes to show that even those who can't spell or type worth a hoot can still homeschool successfully. ;)

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    1. I knew what you meant ;) I would say that homeschooling is definitely a "grace" filled role! We are able to do it in spite of ourselves :)

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  11. I love this! You have made it simple and stress free :) Off to do a little shopping!

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  12. Thank you so much for this post! I am about to begin homeschooling and have had the exact same thoughts as you about some of the curriculums and teaching my first child to read! It is overwhelming and so hard to know what to do because I don't want to screw this up!! We began reading Dick and Jane on a whim about 4 days ago and my son is so proud to be reading already! He has picked it up so quickly and doing well with quite a few chapters of our book! I was about to sign us up for some fancy online academy but really haven't been at peace about it until now. Your post gives me hope that it really can be done simply and that I might just be able to do this on my own after all and save a bunch of money too! Thank you so much! Many blessings!

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    1. I am glad some of these ideas helped. I think the key is that we mothers practice patience as it will come. I noticed that if you first foster a love for books, your child will be just as eager to learn! :) The early eras had no fancy curriculums and think of the great speeches left behind by Abraham Lincoln, a man with limited formal education! They were just avid readers. Have a lovely week and enjoy these fun times!

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