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Learning to Read

My boys are very different in their personalities and learning styles. I was curious as to how the learning to read process would go with my second son. I was surprised to see how similar their progress was. My oldest son started formal instruction in Kindergarten at age 5.5 knowing how to read basic words. My younger son started formal instruction around age 4.5-5.0. He often commented that he didn’t know how to read. He knew most letter sounds when he started formal instruction.

Since my sons pretty much started school knowing most of the letter sounds I started them off on Sonlight’s Fun Tales. Once we started Sonlight’s I Can Read It! series I found it necessary to skip ahead to the other books in Sonlight’s Reader 1 package. With my oldest son I skipped ahead because he grew to hate reading. He found the I Can Read It! series quite boring and tedious. I started my second son on the I Can Read It! series and at the first signs of disinterest I skipped him ahead 6 months to the other readers in the Sonlight package (i.e. Dr. Seuss books). I did Explode the Code with each of them. The jump ahead was a little bit much for both of them, but we went slow and they both took off with their reading. I’m not sure what triggered it. My oldest son was reading Sonlight’s Reader 2 package books by the end of his Kindergarten year and my youngest son will likely do the same.
We were out of school for about 6 weeks recently for a move and my youngest son had no reading instruction during that time. Boy was I surprised to find that his reading improved greatly during those 6 weeks. Why? I wish I knew.
I have one more little one to go through the learning to read process. It will be awhile before she hits her Kindergarten year. Right now she just looks at letters and says “O P O P” or “E E E.”
While the progress of reading is the same for both of my boys, the experience has been different for each of them. My oldest started reading full of confidence and then grew to hate it. He hated phonics instruction too. Once we moved to more interesting books his love of reading took off and two years later he loves reading for fun. He would be the perfect candidate for whole language instruction. My youngest started reading with no confidence. He enjoys phonics and enjoys reading. He usually prefers more active play than sitting down with a book. I look forward to going through the process with my little girl.

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