I've loved Leila's recent posts on learning to read. Never taught anyone to read before, but Gibbie and Ezra are on the cusp! I learned to read in first grade. I remember longing to read around five years of age, but it didn't then occur to me I could learn before they taught us in school. Maybe I wasn't ready to any earlier. By second grade I was reading chapter books late into the night.
What we're doing: reading out loud, lots and lots and lots. Picture books, poetry, comic books, favorite novels. This is seriously my favorite pastime. I basically married Paul because he would read books out loud with me. Gibbie won a little prize at his school last year among kids his age for reading the most hours during a reading fundraiser. The tricky thing was remembering to write it down. Our family chapter book really put us over the top because it means we read in the car and while doing dishes and other otherwise unliterary moments.
We are going through some popular phonics-early readers, but mostly the kids seem to respond best to tailored instruction. For instance, I've noticed that Ezra breaks words down into sounds orally, but has trouble sounding out written words, and is sounding out and writing his own phonetic words in a way Gibbie never did. Gibbie, when we work on reading, always wants to write out the words we sound out on his slate or in his notebook. We did get them each a special notebook and pen, just theirs, in which they do plenty of practicing and playing around.
I would like to read Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide because her premise makes so much sense to me; that English is phonetic if you really learn the actual rules of phonics. (I think; I haven't read this yet!) This makes so much beautiful sense to me.
These boys are both writing lots of letters everyday, and have many of the building blocks of reading in hand. They seem to be synthesizing those elements into bona fide reading in different ways. All very exciting, and we're just not going to push it, or worry about comparing them to any brilliant friends of ours who all were fluently reading years earlier than us, all right?