Keep It Simple, Stupid!!
When will I ever learn? I have often said that God has blessed us with children for an almost 25 year span because I was a slow learner. (I'm really just half-way kidding! I am very thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed on Jeff and me. However, there are many lessons that seem to take a long time for me to learn.)
When I taught my oldest daughter to read, we were poor seminary students and I had a friend who had been a public school teacher who loaned me curriculum that was pretty simple to use. She did well and continues to love reading.
When our second child was reading to learn to read we had a little more money and I invested in Samuel Blumenfield's Alphaphonics. She also learned to read and this program was even more simple to use. Just sit down together on the couch and read the page for the day. We would also copy the page for handwriting and spelling practice. For some reason, though, I decided to sell my copy of Alphaphonics after she had learned to read. Mistake!
I have NO idea what I started using when my third child was ready to learn to read, but I quickly purchased another copy of Alphaphonics. That child loves to read as well and is even writing his own books these days.
My fourth learned to read with Alphaphonics, but needed a little more so we incorporated Explode the Code. Guess what? He also loves to read.
Enter the fifth child. We were interrupted in her first semester of really buckling done with phonics because of preparing for our oldest daughter's Christmas wedding. Come January, though, she hit the ground running with Alphaphonics and Explode the Code and is now my best ORAL reader and she....you guessed it, LOVES TO READ!
Now we come to my sixth child. I delayed formal instruction for him. He is/was just too busy to sit down for any length of time other than having stories read to him or watching his favorite "history" movies. He would much rather cut down trees, ride a bike or anything else. He turned 6 in August and I really felt it was time to buckle down with him and get busy learning some phonics. And guess what I did? What's that? You think I started him with Alphaphonics? Well, you are much smarter than I! No, that is NOT what I did. I thought that since he was so very wiggly that I needed something that had lots of bells and whistles. (This is where the stupid part comes in.) Lots of bells and whistles just means lots of planning and preparing for mom. Did you notice the title of my blog? Yes, we are busy around here!!
When we started back to school this semester I was dismayed to find that my 6 year old didn't remember ANYTHING about reading. Majorly frustrating!! Last week it occurred to me that I could just put away the bells and whistles and blow the dust off my tattered copy of Alphaphonics. Now we can sit together on the couch (which is always better for relationship building than sitting across a table from each other) and work on phonics in 10-15 minute increments. And yes, I am seeing some improvement in the last few days. I have no doubt that by this time next year he will be reading many books on his own. This boy loves books and does sit down with several books each day to "read" to himself and is read to daily. He already has a great love for books.
Now I have 3-4 years before I start working with my 2 year old, but you can be sure that I have learned my lesson and will KISS by using Alphaphonics with him as well. It only took me 17 years to learn this lesson. Maybe I'll not take so long to learn other lessons.