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Teaching a Child to Read (Part 1 of 3 Rs)

Teaching a child to read—Mom and child reading together

As a young homeschool mom, I thought that teaching a child to read must be as difficult as learning to speak Swahili. This was my first great hurdle to jump if I was to continue homeschooling my children, so I pored through the catalogs available to us in 1986, searching to find the best of the reading/phonics programs available.  When we found a highly recommended method, we laid out the extraordinary sum of $250 for a program that even included recordings of British speakers pronouncing the ABCs! (Evidently, the folks who made the program didn’t like American accents.) And then, we waited in great anticipation for this magical material to arrive.

Isaac was five years old at the time. My husband had faithfully read to him every night, and I had read to him every day. He was eager and excited to learn how to read for himself, so when at long last the reading program arrived, we sat on the floor together to look through the materials. That was the day I began teaching a child to read. We had a phonics lesson that morning, a second lesson the following morning, and so on for the next two weeks.

It Worked. . .Really Quickly!

During the third week, Isaac picked up an early reader’s book and sat down on the couch. He spent quite a while looking at the book, occasionally asking me what certain words were. After about an hour, I asked him what he was doing. He cheerfully answered, “Reading this book!” I smiled at this “grown-up” statement. But my smile turned to amazement as Isaac actually began to read to me from this brand new, unread book.

After picking my jaw off the floor, I straightened my shoulders and thought, “Huh! Teaching reading isn’t so hard after all.” I’m sure God smiled at my naiveté. He knew my next lesson in teaching reading would be quite different.

In the next blog, I’ll share that story!

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