March 20, 2013

Ready, Set, Read!

Barbara Curtis knows her stuff!  She was a classroom teacher, a school director, home schooled her 11 children (yes, I did say eleven), has a background in Montessori education, has been published in numerous magazines and now leads workshops and seminars on various educational topics.  

My daughter is two, going on three, and I just picked up this book because she is beginning to put her letter sounds together.  Unfortunatley, I did not realize that Chapter One (the first 40+ pages) were dedicated to steps you could take from pregnancy until the time your child turns two to ensure your child has a love for reading.

The next chapter, dedicated to children approximately 2-5 years old, is most applicable to my family right now.  Curtis clearly articulates her reasoning for using certain methods.  For example, she suggests that parents should only introduce lowercase letters to their children in the beginning because the vast majority of letters they see and will use are lowercase (as an example, just look at what you’ve been reading on this page alone).  She explains that once they know the lowercase letters and even begin putting words together they are naturally going to absorb the uppercase letters.

She offers excellent practical “games” to play with your child to develop new skills.  Almost all of her ideas require little expense, if any at all. And one of my favorite aspects, is that included throughout the book are grey boxes with specific examples and tips for teaching.  I especially like, the “Suggested Sequence for Teaching Letters” and the “Sample Nonphonetic Combinations.”

At the end of each chapter and in the appendix she provides other helpful resources including book recommendations for the different age groups, a cheat sheet on correct letter formation, how to identify red flags, and even how to assist your child if they are a left handed.

On the whole, this book helped me to think through how to be more intentional with teaching my children how to read.  Because she gives practical examples that you can implement over the course of 7-8 years, it seems unrealistic that anyone can remember all the tips and tricks when the time does come to implement them.  I would recommend reading this book when your child is very young, tabing the pages you think will be helpful in the future, and coming back to it as often as needed.

To purchase your own copy please click here.


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