Friday, March 6, 2009

At, Bat, Cat, Hat

It's sight reading day here at Bailey's Leaf. I'm here to pick a few brains.

I was at K-'s school Thursday doing the once-a-month bulletin board in the hallway and was listening in on her class as I went. She's been coming home spelling and telling me of her "at" words. They've been working on them in class, as well as reading/spelling some colors.

Wow. All this in preschool. I know there are some more intensive programs than what K- is in out there, but I didn't even go to preschool. In Kindergarten, the big thing was not to pee-pee in your pants, to play nicely and learn your ABC's & numbers. I was Goldie Locks in the Kindergarten production of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. (No, my hair isn't blonde.)

So, I decided to go to my normal education supply place-- The Dollar Tree. (Though when I need hardcore help, we have a Holcomb's Knowplace near the mall.) I decided to see if they had some sight word cards. They had sight word selections from K - 3rd grade. I did a bit of cross referencing (and learning for that matter) about sight words and learned that the sight words involve 220 words that are what they consider most common. The Kindergarten packet that I bought was the exact listing on the Dolch list. They have them online, which everyone probably knew except for me.

I made the preschool cards for K-. I'll start doing those with her. It's important to note that she does know her sounds, so it would just seem like the next logical step would be to encourage reading, right?

She has her "My Little [letter of the week] Book" that she learns each week. They did say that it would be more memorization at the beginning and more sight word reading at the end of the year. By golly! They are right.

I just learned that the local public school that K- will be attending does NOT learn phonics. I find that unsettling. If they don't do phonics, what method are they using to teach children how to read? If it is sight only, how can we expect children to progress when it comes to harder, more compound words? No, I don't have an education degree. (Just look at the way I tend to commacize and abuse punctuation.) It seems to me that a combination of the two would be the answer.

My friend said that she is going to begin working with her son with a phonics workbook that she used with her older son. I don't know what curriculum it is from, but she was quite impressed. She did homeschool her older son for a couple of years, but I do think that she wasn't brand specific. She told me that she'd call me and let me know.

So for you teachers, homeschool parents and parents in general who have been there, what are your suggestions for my diving into sight reading/reading with K-? Am I expecting too much? K- just turned 5 this past December. She's in 4 day a week preschool and seems to be really blossoming as of late. I don't want to miss the window, but I don't want to overwhelm. (She is sight reading some already, and was reading some of the cards to me that I was writing for her.) Help!

Edited to add: Okay, first I changed the name of the sight word listing to the actual name. (Dolch not Dolce.) Um, helps to be a little more precise, eh? At any rate, my mommy friends have been so kind! Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I did go back to The Dollar Tree and purchased the rest of the sight words. (No, we don't need them now, but will need them eventually so why not buy them and put them up?) We've been playing the game that Rach suggested and K- loves it. I also purchased a few more workbooks to have on hand once we get to that point. We always work on some summer homework to keep her mind fresh, so we may get to those then. (Pre-K Math, Counting to 100 and Sight Reading Workbook.) Thank you again! Keep those ideas coming!


Rach said...

If K is already reading some, go for it on the sight words. In fact, label everything in the house. Get yourself some index cards and clearly print the name of the item and stick it to it--"chair", "door", "oven", "cabinet", etc. The more print she's exposed to the better.

With the No Child Left Behind legislation, PreK and Kindergarten are no longer the schools we remember. There is such a drive and push to get the children even thatbit ahead.

If she's reading, embrace it! Encourage it! Love it!! :o) I would even do sight word flash cards and give her a small reward for the ones she gets correct (a sticker, etc.) or make it a game--who knows more K or Mommy? Make a K pile for the ones she gets and a Mommy pile for the ones she misses.

Okay, I'm going to stop now because I could go on and on and on. ;o)

ChupieandJ'smama said...

J doesn't get any reading at his school. It's more play based and I think that's good for him. M started site words last year in Kindg. but he had a really bad teacher (good thing she's gone now) so this year is when they really started concentrating on those things. His teacher calls them "pop corn" words because they pop up everywhere.
If K is reading then I would foster that. Have her read every day items (magazines, TV guide, menu's, cereal boxes, etc.) and beginner readers. Just make it a part of everyday life and fun.
I don't believe M's school does phonics either. There is a whole different way of doing things now and most are mandated by the state of Ohio. Last year I went to Holcolmbs and bought some summer bridge books. Unfortunatey I bought them for a year ahead (DOH!) so we'll be using those THIS year. They do have phonics books there and I don't think they are that expensive. Another avenue to check out the homeschooling section of your library. I stumbled upon that and will be visiting there quite frequently this summer.

GERBEN said...

Well first let me commend you on being so involved with your daughters’ schoolwork. K has a huge advantage because she has such caring parents!

Now, with our kindergartener, she just turned 6 last month, she is also working on sight words. And let me say, I stress out big time when it comes to spelling and working with the written word! It’s really amazing that I even have a blog at all! I have dyslexia and to say that my school career was stressful and difficult is a complete understatement. Luckily, for the most part my husband takes care of the tutoring when it comes to spelling and our kids.

He is from the old school of sounding things out, which I guess is what phonics is all about, right? But what he did was buy a punch of the extra sticky post it notes and then put letters on the post its like “ore” “it” “th” “sh” “lit” “ch” and so on. Then for about 30 minutes to an hour each night after bath they set at the kitchen table looking at the wall of letters. They arrange the post its to spell different words. Like putting the post it that has “be” together with the post it that has “fore” on it to spell before! Of course they make it a game by awarding pennies for words spelled correctly and nickels or dimes for harder words like “purple”.

I know this may or may not be helpful for you, but I can say that for our daughter she has really blossomed with her reading and spelling! Plus then she has some change she can spend at the store.

Sorry that got a little long winded. LOL, I guess I don’t always know when to shut up!

Jamie said...

If she is into it, I say embrace it. But don't push... she is in preschool and still needs to be a kid.

I made sight word flash cards out of index cards and we went through them as Halen wanted to, which wasn't very often. Instead I used the book "How to teach your child to read on 100 lessons" which is the method they use in school and she fell in love with reading once we started working on that book. That same book was what I used to teach Bee to read when she was 4. She couldn't wait to read and demanded I teach her right now.
That book was the best.

Natalie said...

Can't they just be kids for a little longer. I think that our children are being pushed just a little to hard. Pretty soon they will be learning Geometry and Chemistry in preschool. Yikes!

But seriously, you got me to thinking. Larissa and I started Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read awhile back and she just wasn't ready. Like K she knows her letters and sounds and just recently I have decided to try the reading again. We use our local library for everything we can. Check out your local library for Hooked on Phonics, if they don't have it maybe they can get it from another library for you. And just this evening I found two websites that seem to have "some" useful word/reading games. and Check them out, they are totally free.

Rach said...

Oh, one more thing, I just remembered a fun website

Yes, kids definitely need to be kids and they definitely need to be ready and not pushed when it comes to reading especially. As a reader, I want my children to love it like I do, not consider it a chore.