Generation Cedar

Cheap and Easy Way to Teach Kids to Read

I’ve never used a formal Phonics curriculum with any of my children and 7 of my 10 children read well or are well on their way.

I say that for only one reason: educating children doesn’t take much money or a teaching degree.

The way I  have taught all my children to read is to begin sounding out letters when they are around 5 or 6 years old, depending on their interest/frustration level. (Of course at this point, they’ve been read to since they were born.)

I do this with simple books and with a pencil and paper, pointing out or writing letters and helping them first identify the letter name and then learning the letter sound. (I don’t even teach my children the ABC song, although they end up learning it somehow.) I may only spend a few minutes a day at first on this exercise. Very laid back, with no “you’ve got to learn to read now” approach.

After they learn basic letter sounds, I have two, old laminated letter blend charts that I teach, (tr, sp, fl, gr, cl, etc.) also in a laid-back fashion.

Today I found a super-easy and fun way to teach them.

Since we’re in wedding mode right now and the little girls are excited about being flower girls, it was perfect. I pointed out the first blend and asked, “Which two letters are getting married?” The child answered, “s and p.” (The younger ones are watching on with great suspicion too, and consequently, are learning their letter sounds by mere exposure.)

So with a silly voice and my two index fingers held at a distance, one finger said, “I’m s” and the other finger said, “I’m p and I’m going to marry you.” Then I made the “s” sound with one finger and the “p” sound with the other, and as they got closer, the sounds got closer, until the two fingers finally kissed and made the “sp” sound.

My reading child thought this was fabulous and wanted to do the rest herself, which she did, and it worked beautifully!

So go marry some letters and relax–they’ll learn to read!

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7 Responses

  1. I agree. I taught my 3 olders to read with a very good phonics program and I was successful with that. Enter #4. She struggled with the vowel first approach and differentiating between short e and short I sounds, etc. so, I just put the program away, got out the white board and started with “a”, then “b”. And when we knew enough we started sounding out “cat” and “bat”. She’s doing much better. I have nothing against phonics programs. Actually, I like them. They’re colorful and fun. But, they are not necessary to teach your kid to read!

  2. Thank you ever so much!! This is so releasing!! One of our daughters just hates the formal lessons that I spent an awful lot of money on and isn’t learning a thing. I find it so hard trying to spend so much time with her when there are 5 others. I know this is not a large family compared to yours but I so long to raise functional adults that love God, and I find it hard to spend quality time with all of them. Thank you for all of your posts. You truly enlighten my day. Bless you. Congratulations also on the upcoming wedding. Very exciting!!

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