Yes, as a homeschool parent teaching reading can often feel like a huge mountain to climb. In reality, it isn’t all that difficult. Teaching reading does include some specific instructional steps. However, the act of learning how to read is quite simple – theoretically! Over the years, we have all seen that the wide and varied methods of teaching reading don’t always work. However, over the years… one tried and true method has stood out from the rest. It’s one that has worked time and again and across a wide variety of students. Homeschool requirements vary by family, but this method typically works well for almost every child and still helps the learner even through adult life. This method is based on instruction in the same way we do our other subjects using a mastery approach or building on a foundation. If these educational theory works for all other subjects – why wouldn’t it work for reading as well?
The educational theorists and researchers have done extensive studies on the best way to approach reading. These studies have finally agreed that the method of teaching phonemic awareness or otherwise known as teaching phonics… is the winner! I know, I know, many of you are saying… big deal… I’ve known that for years. Well, you are right. This isn’t a “new” thing. In fact, it is a very old thing. This is how reading has been taught for centuries, I guess our highly intelligent educational gurus are just now catching up. I love this great yet simplistic Reading Skills Pyramid that Time4Learning has developed. I keep a copy of it in my homeschool binder.
Here are a few simple reading fluency guidelines to make sure that you include in your reading instruction…
1)Students should be able to recognize individual sounds in words – you can accomplish this through games such as clapping for each sound.
2)Students should be able to distinguish first and last sounds of various words. Again, you can play a game where you say a few words and ask the child to tell you what the first and last sounds are.
3)Once students know their letter sounds and can recognize the letters, they can begin “coding” and “decoding.” This is simply sounding out words and then breaking apart the word’s sounds to be able to write the word.
4)Two very fun ways to practice and gain word familiarity are to recognize syllables in words and to make rhyming words. There are a ton of fun games that can be played to practice these skills. We enjoy clapping/stomping to find syllables in words, and then we have a blast making rhyming words from a simple word that they know and recognize!