As my *ahem* regular readers already know, my wife and I are homeschooling our children. The first thing I want to do is to get my oldest son reading. He's only three so I am trying to find a balance between being lax and being heavy-handed. I don't want to turn him off to reading, but I don't want to let him think it is unimportant. He loves books, and will sometimes "read" by himself. It's a pleasure to hear him tell a story he's familiar as he looks at the pages, or simply describe the pictures on the pages.
My main task at this point is making sure he can correctly identify all of his letters. He can recite the alphabet, but his recognition of the letters is spotty. I want this to be the initial post chronicling my Max's journey to literacy.
As far as I can tell, Max has four categories or levels of recognition for his letters. As common sense would have it, they are 1) Always Recognizes, 2) Often Recognizes, 3) Rarely Recognizes, and 4) Never Recognizes. Just to get them in order in my own head, I am going to categorize the letters.
A, B, H, L, O, P, Q, R, S, T
G, M, N
D, E, I, U, X,
C, F, J, K, V, W, Y, Z
There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to which letters he knows. Sometimes his mood plays a factor in which letters he "knows." If he was always cooperative I think at least 'G' and 'M' would be in the 'Always Recognizes' category.
Three of the letters in 'Never Recognizes' are there because Max confuses them with other letters. He always calls 'K' 'R', he calls 'V' 'A', and confuses 'W' with 'M'. He thinks it's upside down. The other five we haven't worked on very much.
I must admit my approach has been scattershot. At first I was too pushy, so we both ended up frustrated. My more recent approach has been to play with magnetic letters we have, periodically asking him to name certain letters. When we clean up, I'll purposely drop letters he is less familiar with and say, "Oh Max, could you pick up that 'F' for daddy?" or something of that nature. It has been helpful, I think. He learns to recognize them without feeling pressured to perform for me. I also ask him to name letters when we read at night, going back and forth between letters he doesn't know well and letters he knows very well (to review and bolster his confidence). I praise his successes, but try to avoid being too effusive.
In sum, we're making progress. I look forward to the day when that "Never Recognizes" category is empty, and even more so to the day when he will "Always Recognize" all 26. If anyone has any tips, I'm definitely listening!