Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Working On Words

Just in case you saw this post and thought that I could only get my almost-20-month-old to say phrases by irritating him, I wanted to redeem myself and share with you how I usually work with him on words and phrases in normal, every day life. Plus, this one is really cute.

It's getting better. I still wish he could say words more clearly, but at least he's attempting to repeat me, which is a huge step forward for him. At 0:08, it sounds like he says, "Ugh, Josh."

Then there's my oldest child. He is almost six - kindergarten age for this fall - and we've been working with him for several months on letters and reading. You may recall this post where I explained that we use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with him. I still like that book and think it's a great way for kids to learn how letters work together to make sounds and words.

I would consider myself a phonics girl. One who believes in the use of phonics in teaching reading rather than the whole language approach. But as Caleb has been making lists or writing letters to friends on his own, I'm begging to wonder what direction to go with him.

For example, some of the words he has spelled recently are:

Cen (Ken)
Barb (Barbie)
Yoo (You)
Frum (From)
Boll (Ball)

He has correctly spelled words, too. Don't get me wrong. He wrote Rex, Ship, Boat on a list this afternoon. He can also spell almost all of the 20 words I've been given for the kindergarten word list.

Today he wanted to spell General Grievous (from Star Wars) and he was adamant on starting general with a J because of how it sounds.

So if anyone is out there who has advice on this, let me know. Did I start him on phonics too soon? Is that possible? Or should I be thrilled that he's doing this? I don't want to encourage poor spelling, though!

I'm sorry if this post sounds boastful. I try not to do that. Maybe Caleb's spelling balances out Gabriel's inability to talk?! :o)


Mrs. Haid said...

Let him spell it with a J because he is really developmentally ready only for sounds. It is impressive that he is doing first, middle, and last sounds and that he is remembering the letters AND their sounds together. G and J variances are nuances of our language.

I would encourage you to research Balanced Literacy. That is the approach that I firmly believe in. Since you are doing homeschool kindergarten, I would recommend Sharon Taberski's books on balanced literacy. I really think that is best.

Also, praise him for writing! That is awesome in kids his age.

Don't worry about phonics as a "class" per se - just as a conversation. Like... "hm, I notice that words that end with a shhhhhhh sound have the letters SH on the end."

GapGirl said...

I don't think you are encouraging bad spelling. I say let him write based on what he sounds out and gently corrects him. I like to focus more on the reading... once they mastered that I will focus on the accurate spelling... although I do have spelling curric with my 2 older girls and will start Molly this year. I think I will just be happy once she starts writing words that resemble something. When they were in public school they focused on just phonics spelling as well.
Here is an article I think you will enjoy from a very seasoned homeschooler/blogger/christian Mom of many...

Hope that helps

marielamar said...

I have a thing for spelling. My kids learned how to read in school, so I am not sure exactly what method they used. I plan on using A Beka with Silas. They are very strong on phonics. I do know the kids learned sight words first - then focused on letter sounds and sounding out words. It worked for them pretty well - now for Silas, I am not sure. I think you do have to fit the method to the child... and read together A LOT. Point out words - get them to recognize smaller ones first.

As for Gabriel speaking, it sounds like he is doing ok. He will imitate you, which is more than I can say for Toby at this point. It is funny, Madeline spoke at 4 months and had a vocabulary of a 4 year old by the age of 2. Same for JJ pretty much. Silas was a different story... and Toby still doesn't do much more than screech, grunt, and point at vague things. I am not too worried though. yet.

Mrs. Haid said...

Also... just him hearing and being able to recognize the first and last sounds is good for his age. Middle sounds is actually a mid kindergarten goal.

I think you could focus on sight words, which is not at all like phonics, but it is spelling a frequently seen word correctly. He should be able to remember words like I, you, me, it, go, went, see, etc. because they are so common.

Causey Fam said...

I am a strong believer in a phonics approach to reading. It gives kids the best foundation possible when learning how to read/write. I don't mean they shouldn't be exposed to other printed language around them, but for teaching and learning purposes, I think it is the strongest approach. I don't know what curriculum you are planning on using, but the Abeka and Bob Jones (which is what I am familiar with) are both phonics based. Our language is very complicated and both of those do a good job teaching sounds, blends and all the "exceptions to the rules." I don't think you can start too soon--he will only build on it as he gets older (for example he will learn that the 'G' has a hard sound and a soft sound, as well as other consonants. For vowels he will learn the short and long vowel sounds and how you can tell when it is short and when it is long, or when it is a hard sound vs. a soft sound.) Whole language was the "in thing" when I was in college and it has now come and gone. Each time a new fad comes in, it goes out too and the phonics based approach is still standing. Don't worry so much, I think he is off to a great start! Keep some of his writings, they will be fun (for you and him) to look back on at the end of Kindergarten--you will be surprised how far he has come!

Causey Fam said...

oh, and I agree with the comment on the sight words. They do not follow the "rules" and are usually taught separately. When I HS'd the curriculum introduced them about 2 at a time and then added to each week or so.

Sue said...

The hard and fast rule that I've learned over the years, is that no matter how early/late they do, write, spell, or even speak French...3rd grade typically seems to be the great equalizer. That's the point in which kids all kind of even out and catch up with each other. Until then, no worries! It sounds like you're doing a WONDERFUL job with them!!!

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