Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning to Read

The other day I was looking at the shelves of first picture books that the kids all loved as toddlers. Some of their favourites were the Little Tiger books: gorgeous, bright illustrations featuring the mischievous little tiger who always said, "I Don't want to have a Bath" and "I don't want to go to Bed". Since they've progressed onto bigger books we haven't looked at them much and I was considering storing them away or passing them onto little cousins, to regain some shelf space.

Middle Daughter, aged 7, has just re-discovered them though, as first readers.

Today we sat on the sofa and she gallantly sounded her way through most of Little Tiger's adventures as he avoids his bath in the jungle. She is on the verge of reading and is really hungry to master it.

The Waldorf system goes through the ground work of learning letters and numbers very slowly and thoroughly. They first learn the capital letters, with stories and rhymes about them, and practise their shapes until they know them in their bones. Then they learn the little letters and then put them all together in writing.

They learn to write sentences and then learn to read from sentences they've written themselves, so they are already familiar. This slow and steady approach makes reading a natural progression and our son learned to read incredibly quickly once he reached this stage, going from zero to full length children's books in the space of a few months.

I think Middle Daughter will too, as she said longingly to me tonight at bedtime, "How long will it be before I can read?" I told her she was reading already and she did fantastically, sounding out long words like 'spluttered' without being too phased by the conglomeration of consonants at the beginning, and recognising 'jungle' the second time she came across it. Interestingly enough she had more trouble with remembering and recognising 'his', than with the longer words.

I'm betting that she'll be racing through Harry Potter by the end of the year, or at least some Enid Blytons. For now though she's aiming at finishing Little Tiger tomorrow and starting the next one.

1 comment:

  1. Hello - what an inspiring blog - you write beautifully and might even inspire me to bake!
    I am a South African living in Malawi for a year with my husband and sons of 3 and 6 and recently began writing my own blog - not really knowing how they worked or ever having read one! Found yours when I was looking for a rusk recipe - naturally as South Africans we really miss rusks with our morning tea. Am about to try yours.


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