“We shouldn’t teach great books, we should teach a love of reading.” – B.F. Skinner
I believe it is important to instill a love of reading in our children and to teach reading skills at an early age. Before Magoo was ever born we had purchased over fifty second-hand books for her from flea markets, Goodwill, children’s resale shops, etc. Our child had her own mini-library before she ever took her first breath. The most important thing is that reading should be fun.
I have made a concentrated effort to read to Magoo every day since she was born, although life does happen and there have been days we have missed due to illness or things that have come up, but to this point our track record has been very good these past four years. I had to teach myself that it’s okay to be silly while reading aloud to her – to act out what I am reading, to make goofy faces, to really bring the story to life for her. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when last summer, at 3.5 years-old, Magoo asked me to show her how to read. Hm. Where do I start?
I began to research various curriculums and noticed that Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons seemed to receive mostly positive reviews. The curriculum builds reading skills with 100 “easy” lessons that take about 20 minutes each, using the DISTAR method. I ordered a gently used copy from eBay and upon it’s arrival we sat down at a table and dove right into the first lesson. Initially, I thought the book was rather dry and uninviting for a preschool aged child and was concerned that it would not hold Magoo’s interest. Then, it didn’t take long to realize that either A) the lessons weren’t as “easy” as promised, or B) Magoo wasn’t quite ready for the curriculum. We decided to shelve the book for awhile and return at a later date.
Magoo turned 4 years-old three weeks ago and last week I thought it might be a good idea to revisit the curriculum since she has recently started bringing books out on her own and “reading” them to her little brother. As it turns out, the lessons are easy if your child is ready to learn and the fact that the book is not chock-full of bright colors and illustrations really helps to keep Magoo focused on the work at hand.
The book begins with an 18-page parent’s guide and they urge you to follow the directions completely, but I have found that Magoo benefits more if I am somewhat flexible with the lessons. Sometimes we repeat things, sometimes we skip the portion of learning to write the letters (since we practice writing skills with other forms of curriculum), and sometimes I allow Magoo to get up and move in the middle of a lesson because she is a very energetic child and tends to be fidgety.
Below is a video of Magoo and I doing lesson 4 yesterday.