Thursday, September 8, 2011


As promised, I'll talk a little bit about the early reading programs I am using with Nicholas. We are using two approaches - whole word and phonics.

There are a lot of people who say that the brains of young children haven't developed enough to learn phonics until around 5-6 years old. They say that they are simply incapable of associating a symbol with a sound. I am somewhat confused about what difference there is between learning that 'cows say moo' and 'a says ah'.

Since Nikki's language has developed enough to pronounce most of the sounds we use in English, I have decided that there is no reason not to start teaching the basics of phonics. We have a set of phonics flashcards from the Oxford Reading Tree (a charity shop bargain) and have been using the song from Leapfrogs Letter Factory. The program itself is quite good, and Nikki will watch about half, but at an hour long I can't allow him to see it very often. Although there are many dvds and computer programs that I use with Nikki, I limit his screen time to no more than an hour a day with very rare exceptions.

Using this rather tedious and repetitive song (which Nikki obviously loves) we are learning the 26 basic sounds of English. Today, for the first time, Nikki finished the song with the final sound for most of the 13 letters we reviewed.

We are also using the website Starfall to revise letter sounds. They have catchy animations for each letter, though it can be overly-American in places. Nicholas loves this site, though we only do a handfull of letters each time, to limit screen time and keep him interested - ie. always stop BEFORE he gets bored!

The final program we are using for Phonics is Threshold to Reading, which I will dedicate a separate post to.

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