One thing that I really appreciated about Montessori, is this subtle instruction to not force children to read. You never say, ‘what does this say?’, but when writing something, you ask, ‘Can you tell me what I’m thinking?’. You give them tools to try reading with self-correction so that they can work out reading on their own like the ‘Sentence strips‘. It really doesn’t matter if they match the works first and then try read, it’s about positive encouragement.
Yes, he played hours of Reading Eggs, he has been ‘spelling’ orally for the last year and a half – sounding out any word if asked. I just never pushed him to that step to read a word. I just waited. And I think at late 4 or early 5 he would have read, if I had asked, but I really wanted it to be a self-discovery and his own sense of ability.
He loved trying to read signs as we drove by. I took every opportunity, when he did this, to explain how to decode words, praising his efforts. Reading books together, if I saw a pattern repeated in the book, I’d explain some phonograms (to the point of sometimes irritation). I really did not bother with blends, therefore don’t like the pink/blue/green series.
At about 5 and half, he just picked up a book and read it! He then went straight onto Berenstain Bears and Dr Seuss – having read these many times before, he could at least work out the words.
About 3 months ago, I had thought to try reading Roald Dahl to him and got ‘James and the giant peach’. We were going to go to a park to play and then read and I took the book along. He sat paging away at the back of the car. When we stopped, he said he had read the first two chapters. I wasn’t so positive, so asked him to tell me what he had read. He gave me a brilliant synopsis. I couldn’t believe it.
What I love is, he has no fear – if he can’t read a word, he guesses and moves on. Sometimes I’ll tell him the difficult words, other times, it doesn’t matter – I’ve learned he gets the context and is enjoying the book and that is what is important.
Well done, Zaccie. I’m so happy for you and so proud of you.