I would never normally post a school resource page on the weekends – especially a May Day weekend where everybody’s last thought is on school… but trust me on this and my reasoning will become clear!!!
So let’s get down to reading: I used to think I just had to survive until all my children were weaned, but now I know I would really like to be around until they can all read… If your kids can read they can “go anywhere in a book” and it doesn’t matter what they do they can always learn more, explore more and be more… So reading is a bit of a priority and a right of passage in our house!
All kids need to be read too, we have a range of book readers, all mass readers! All kids love being read to and I just follow their lead! They also need to see you read books on your level, they love to copy adults and whatever you do when they are small is cool!!! I have learnt so much reading from my kids, don’t think kid reading is only about reading the same story over and over again: I know all sorts of obscure things that I would never have dreamed of – Just this week I was well educated in the many different types of cranes are on the market – I am not talking about the bird variety but rather the lifting loads, pulley machinery type!!
Basically kids learn to read by being read to… and these resources I use to make it “official” in their eyes.
So here we go Se7en Reading Resources for Learning to Read:
Resource 1: How to Read…
I use this book with all my kids, and I have had the range of readers: super quick through to super struggeler. It is 100 lessons but don’t think 100 days! Some of our kids have whizzed through it and others have battled word for jolly word. The nice thing about it is that it only takes about 15 minutes a lesson. And then you can get back to living. By the time you have done a couple of lessons you can read really easy readers – you can read! By the end of the book my kids are pretty fluent… and it is just a matter of believing they can actually read – this step can take a little while before the realization hits home!!!
Resource 2: Books about Books…
These books provide lists and lists of books according to age and reading ability, from picture books to epics. I loved reading these books because they are a real trip down memory lane! They are packed with books you will remember from your childhood and when you run out of ideas for books to read for your kids then turn to these and be inspired. Also, when you find a good author, stick with them and read your way through them.
I do have friends that say “I don’t let my children read this or that” I let my children read anything – If they want to read 450 Secret Se7en Books then so be it eventually they will move on. If a child of mine only wants to read Calvin and Hobbes for two years then that’s fine! They read other books for school and they will love what they read – I am trying to instill a love of reading here(!!!) – and eventually they move on!
Resource 3: Online Resources…
- Starfall – This is the one – this site provides hours of fun for kids. It starts with really easy books with just sounds and moves up the chain of knowledge to quite long stories. My kids have all loved it and all wander through it. It also has the option to download and print out books they have read so that they can have a hard copy as well.
- Learning A to Z… – This site has it all – everything. thousands of graded books to download – color or black and white ready to color, thousands of associated worksheets and lesson plans. Vocabulary, writing skills – anything to do with language arts… and a fantastic Science section – with printable books, experiments and stuff galore. Now this is the reason for this post – normally you have to pay, an annual fee, for each section of their site. But for the next week they have an OPEN HOUSE you can sign up and download anything you like for free… FREE!!! I did this last year and it was totally worth it – a whole downloadable reading program. Totally fun and a multitude of books for kids to pick and choose from. They open up a section of their pages each day for the entire week and trust me it is totally worth it
Resource 4: Learning to Read Resources…
Most of the big children’s Publishers have great on-line resources and googling any author should lead you to their own page. Nowadays these pages are packed with fun things to do – online or printable, really if you have a reader then go for a surf with them looking for their favorite authors and series.
- Reading Rockets… This is a great source of articles about latest books, teaching reading skills and so on. I love their author podcasts… There is nothing like learning more about an author and their life and love of reading to encourage you to read some more.
- Reading Resources… Is a similar gendre of site – lots of learning to read articles and teacher resources.
- KidsReads.com… Is a great resource for kids and adults alike, with lists and list of books and author pages and reviews and so on – brilliant, all the latest and greatest as well as classics. They have newsletter that my kids enjoy and I use to keep current on what’s happening on the kids book market.
Resource 5: Beginner Books…
Kids books are not what they were! Picture books are no longer dull for parents as you page through hundreds of pages of simple drawing with words in bold letters. There are brilliant realistic picture books, cover to cover with photographs of every detail of every machine, animal, thing…whatever you can think of. Follow your kids passions and go with them… I guess we spend hours on these because we love them, but apart from that it builds your kids basic vocabulary in the topics they love – providing a base for them to grow on.
- Priddy books are great first books. Excellent photographs and rhyming words to go with them.
- DK Books – You cannot beat. Right from first picture books to visual dictionaries for every topic: space, animals whatever.
- Usborne Books – Fabulous detailed illustrated books that last from pre-reading well into reading! Their “Search for…” Series is fabulous – you can leave your pre-reader searching for hours and because the clues are very visual a beginner reader has to be able to read very few words to be able to be independent with these books, not to mention they feel like they are rocking the world with their expertise – and they are!!! If you move on to their puzzle books you will never look back and be guaranteed hours of silence.
Resource 6: Books that aren’t books…
My kids have typical phases of learning to read – when they are ultra confident and they can regurge any book you have ever read to them word for word… Then they begin to actually learn to read and we start wandering through the 100 lesson book… Suddenly they can really read but they don’t actually know it! They sound out everything they see – no words in sight get left unread… but if you place a book in their hands they freeze and go into “I can’t read mode”… here comes my secret weapon I give them ample practice in books that aren’t books. So what do we read:
- Shopping lists – they get to help at the store and read out what’s next.
- Shop flyers – that come in the local paper, they get to select what’s on special and what we need – yes they are reading brands and there are lots of pictures to help them. But the point is they are reading something!
- Recipes – Technically this isn’t reading is it?!!! We do lots of baking and I get them to tell me what’s next – they usually have lots of pictures to help them along.
- Brochures of any and every kind – I let them gather them up and store a bag of their special brochures… from the garden store, from the hardware store…
- Manuals – a lot of their toys come with manuals: Lego, Zoobs, Science kits, sewing kits and so on. I have one mechanic and he spent years pouring over car manuals, every minute detail… camera manuals, sewing machine manuals…
- Street signs – Not just names, to the library, to the beach, laundry – lots of words around town are on street signs and because they are places they know it is easy for them to puzzle out the words.
- Menu’s – When you eat out let them choose… download menu’s off the web and let them pretend to eat out – it’s a great game and they are reading!
Resource 7: Read To Them…
I am no expert educator, by any means, just a mom with a couple of kids… I have found the best way to teach my kids is to read to them and read to them and read to them… Anywhere, anytime. Don’t limit them to what they should know for their grade – if your child knows every part of every dinosaur that ever lived then let them learn those words. And don’t push them, I have one very reluctant reader but given there passion they will and do stretch themselves. Even once they can read read to them – I think it is all about hearing words. Let them listen to endless stories. Once they are reading even slightly you can tease them a bit: they read a page and you read two, they read a chapter and you read two… eventually they will get absorbed and will read away without even noticing!
I get a lot of people asking me what do with their specially gifted children, they are two years old and know the alphabet, their colors and the name of every type of car on the road. Should they be teaching their kids to read and what about toddler flashcards and all these wonderful educational and manipulative resources. Well having had one really bright spark myself I really feel there is absolutely no need to start your kidlet reading really early unless they teach themselves – some do!!! The best thing for all kids is to read to them and for really bright sparks just read wider and wider and deeper and deeper… I remember reading aeronautical flight manuals to a two year old in the dead of night – sparky kids don’t need to sleep much!!!
That’s a start in the huge ocean of “learning to read materials…” and don’t forget to check out Learning A to Z… and their OPEN HOUSE… You need to visit them everyday to get the best benefits from this great deal. And no there is nothing in it for me, they don’t know me but I know if you are reading this you will most likely love them as much as I do.