Tuesday, August 4, 2009


It's been a while. Things have going from high to higher gear in anticipation of our soon to be born baby and we really haven't had much time to do any lessons. It is unfortunate, but my daughter is still able to play Starfall.com and even brought some words and letters to my mom's house (she babysits for us) yesterday. I feel bad about not making the time to teach my daughter but I'm pretty worn out these days. Hopefully we'll get a good lesson in soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crisis Diverted

I asked my daughter today if she wanted to play school tonight and she enthusiastically said yes! We had a very good session and her confidence seems to be at an all time high. She remembered the 'R' that was introduced last night and learned tonight's new sound symbol with ease. The next one is 'S' and she already knows it so that one should be easy too.

She's getting much better at sounding out the short words. Tonight she looked at each letter the first time and then started saying the sounds faster and faster without looking back at the words. This was done on her own. She even said once that she would try to say it faster. I think she's starting to figure out how the sounds blend together. Very good day!

Uh oh!

Last night my daughter was only half-heartedly interested in playing school. We played and introduced the 'R'. She already knew the sound so it was easy. She wasn't crazy about reading last night either. I thought it might be because she was tired.

This morning I asked her if her stuffed animals were ready to play school tonight and she said she didn't want to play. I sure hope I can turn things around with some new games. Sigh!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Moving on

Well the 'I' troubles continue. My daughter can not remember the sound for anything. I've decided to move on to the next letter/sound symbol and continue to work with her on 'I'. I don't want her to get frustrated and discouraged.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Games for Reading

I decided that it would be cool to add a little variety in our school game so I set out to see what ideas might be out there. I stumbled across Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read by Peggy Kaye. The book offers over seventy different games using things that are readily available in most households. I placed my order and plan to give it a full review once I receive it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tiring weekend

Not sure if I mentioned this but my wife is due to give birth to our second child on August 7th. We've been working on getting things in order so the weekends have been packed with last minute preparations. As such, we have been slacking on the school game.

We did do a little review. My daughter is having trouble remembering the sound of 'I'. It seems there's not a whole lot of words that begin with 'I' so for some reason she's just not associating that letter with the sound. She's also starting to guess. I told her that she should just tell me that she doesn't remember and I'll help her. I'm sure she'll come around. Usually she picks up on the letter sound within two days but I guess this one is a bit different. She's wanting to learn another letter but I want to make sure she knows this one before continuing. I may just have to move on and keep reviewing this one to keep her from getting bored.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nice dinner

As expected, we did not have our regular session today. We enjoyed a nice dinner with my sister and my brother-in-law. We did, however, read a few words before bedtime. I asked her if she wanted to read one more and she said "No thank you. I'm too sleepy". Funny.

I'm planning on working half a day tomorrow so hopefully we'll have time to get a good session in. Up next is a new sight word along with another letter (or sound symbol as we call them).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another long session

We got a late start tonight but ended up playing for a while. My daughter had trouble with the 'T' again. It seems she forgets that one every now and then. Not sure why. We introduced another letter tonight which she locked on very well. She was able to read 'TUB' and 'BAT' without help. She told me she was too tired to continue so we called it quits. I'm pretty tired myself.

Tomorrow we're going to my sister's house for dinner so we probably won't get a session in.

So much for that good mood!

I went in my daughter's room this morning to find that she was wide awake and very happy. I told her that I was sorry that we hadn't played school the night before and that we would definitely play tonight. She said 'Can we play now?'. I was already late for work so I told her it would have to wait. She didn't like that at all. Smiles turned into tears and my wife was not too happy with what I had done. Oh well, lesson learned.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Computer problems

I got back home today to find that lighting had wrecked havoc on my two computers. My office computer was at the BIOS screen and I was able to resolve that quickly. My home theatre pc, however, was not in good shape. It would not boot, didn't beep, no video, bad news all-around. I spent about an hour and a half working on it before finally getting things working again. Long story short, not much time for school tonight.

I showed her the 'G' again and she was able to identify it. I'm thinking she's got a decent handle on it now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm impressed

Tonight we had a very long session of school. My daughter sounded out and piece together about ten words. She stumbled on 'CUP' thinking it was 'CUT' but she understood once we sounded it out again. I think she was guessing but the ending sounds do sound pretty close.

I introduced the 'G' and she told me that it looked like the 'Cuh' sound symbol. Pretty perceptive. She had a bit of trouble with the new letter as she was getting it confused with the other letter's sounds. I asked her to grab the letters that sound like 'Huh Uh Guh' and put them in her Word Whammer game. I then asked her to sound it out and she did. She sounded it out again and said 'H-U-G. Hug. Hug?!' She was very excited and read the word without any help and without the word ever being practiced. She was proud of herself but probably not as proud as her dad was!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No school today

We had a lot going on today so no school. I feel somewhat guilty about it but hey, we can all take a break every now-and-then right? My daughter watched some educational shows on PBS so I guess all was not lost!

We did visit my sister today and we brought along a paper with her uncle's name on it. She read 'PAT' for them. They were impressed. My wife reminded me not to go crazy showing people as we don't want people putting her on the spot and making her uncomfortable about reading. Sounds like pretty good advice to me. We've got a good thing going.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Door handles

Today we went to the hospital to visit my cousin who just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. We had a good visit and were saying goodbye when my daughter ran up to me saying 'Daddy, daddy, come and see' . She grabbed my hand and led me to the door. She pointed at the handle and said 'Look! Uh and Puh'. I looked down and sure enough, embossed in the door was the word UP! Bingo!! She's seeing letters everywhere now. On the way out I showed her PUSH on the water fountain. She knew three of the four letters! This is really cool!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Word Whammer

The Leapfrog Word Whammer came in today. My daughter loves it and I think she'll get a lot of use out of it. She puts the letters in it and then sounds them out. When she turns it on it says the word and then sounds it out for her. It plays a little song and then sounds the word out again and says the word. Very good reinforcement.

Review day today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sight words??

If you scroll down to where I started this blog you'll see that I'm not crazy about sight words. Well it seems this program uses them to but it seems like there's a good reason. Today we introduce 'thE' to the program. They state that they don't want to confuse the student as the 'th' sounds different than the individual letters 't' and 'h'. Makes sense so I'll run with it. Everything seems to be working so why not go with the flow?

I will say that I wish there would be a better laid out lesson plan but I guess the way things are just fine as the results are very impressive.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Letters everywhere

Not much time to post but I wanted to comment that my daughter is seeing letters everywhere now! She's pointing a T's and P's on stop signs and also spotted the P on the PBS logo. Fun times.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More review and a great breakthrough

Today we went over the last letter learned again. She's still having trouble with it but I know she'll get it with more practice. Speaking of practice. It seems that our word reading practice is starting to pay off. She was able to sound out 'CAT' on her own today and then realize that she read the word 'CAT'. Her eyes lit up and I could see that she really thought it was cool. She read a few more words with a bit of difficulty but she was able to read 'PAT' just fine. Pat is also her uncle's name so she though that was especially cool!

Friday, June 26, 2009

New letter

I was able to add another letter today after reviewing what he had already learned. She had a difficult time remembering this one. She asked me several times to remind her what it was. It's kind of funny how she latches onto some but not others. She is really getting good at sounding out the old letters and is keeping the newer letters pretty close to her tongue as well. I'm very pleased with her progress.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Starfall

Seems like I can't keep my kid off of Starfall.com . I've got no problem with that at all. I found a good deal on a kid sized mouse and keyboard. I've placed my order for that as well as a Leapfrog Word Whammer game. This toy is really cool as you can build three letter words and it sounds them out phonetically. Should be a nice supplement. It also uses the same letters as the other Leapfrog game.

I've introduced the next letter. I'm going to refrain from listing the letters in the order that they are listed in the book. I'm doing this only to keep from getting the author upset with someone releasing a step-by-step description of their method. I'll mention the letters learned and words read as we go along though. Nevertheless, she really likes this new letter and seems to know it quite well. She's locked in all the other letter sounds too so she seems to be doing quite well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I've been doing some searching for other phonics resources and stumbled across a really cool website geared towards kids. I found a fantastic site called Starfall.com . The site has lots of flash 'mini-games' based on each letter. I let my daughter click on the letters she already knows and play the little games associated with them. I only let her play a little while and of course she begged for more.

We did another review session and she's getting better with distinguishing between the two trouble letters. Words still are not making much sense.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Letter of the day

The letter of the day today is 'C'. My daughter was able to sound this one just fine. She was able to remember the sounds for 'U' and 'P' too, but when I showed her 'C' again she got it confused with 'U'. I can see how this can happen as they both look very similar in an arial style font. I didn't push her so hopefully we can overcome this.

A friend at work told me about the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set game that he had purchased for his daughter. He said that she knew almost all of the sounds for all the letters. I thought this might be cool so I bought it. I plan to give my daughter a letter magnet each time she learns a new one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's next

Today we started on 'P'. My little one enjoyed this session as well and was able to recall the 'U' sound. I showed her how to put together the sounds to make the word 'UP' but she didn't really see how they connected together. I'm sure this will come in time.

Time for a review

My daughter is CrAzY about playing school. She literally begs us to play. This is a good thing. I've read that you should always leave the student wanting more when you quit. This makes them want to do it again later without getting them tired on the whole thing.

My daugther is still having trouble figuring out 'C' from 'U'. I've decided not to move on to the next letter until she can do this well. I went over 'UP' again and introduced 'CUP'. She doesn't really get what's going on with the words. I'll just be patient and keep bringing these up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 1

Today's the day. I printed out a large 'U' on a piece of printer paper and a few on some large index cards. I told my daughter that we were going to play school and that she should get her friends (stuff animals) together. We set up the learning mat (a throw blanket) and started our lesson. I followed the directions in the book and everything went EXACTLY as the book said it would. My daughter really enjoyed herself.

Throughout the day I would remind her about the 'U' sound and she would repeat it to me. Hopefully everyday will go as smoothly as this one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First impressions

I've been reading the book for the past few days and found that the introductory chapter does a pretty good job at selling the system. I know that this is all part of the set up so hopefully it will be able to deliver what it promises.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Read it now?!

Amazon sent me an email stating that I can start reading my book online if I only pay a handful more dollars. While I am a very frugal person, I'd really like to get started so I plunked down the money and I now have access to the full book. Pretty cool. I'm going to start reading it during my lunch break today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Teach Your Child to Read

I'm the proud father of a three-and-a-half year old little girl. She truly is the apple of her daddy's eye. She is very perceptive and has a very broad vocabulary. My wife and I do our best to introduce new ideas and words to her. She has quite the imagination as well.

I, like many of you, saw the infomercials about teaching babies to read. I purchased a book title How To Teach Your Baby To Read (The Gentle Revolution) by Glenn Doman. I attempted to work with my then one year old on learning sight words. The premise behind site reading is that through repetition the student would be able to learn any word shown to them. While this may be true, it also stands to reason that a child may learn the word 'CAT' but would have no idea what 'RAT' or 'BAT' would mean. It didn't take long to abandon this approach.

Fast forward two and half years to today. I did some research on phonics based programs and have decided to give Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day by Sidney Ledson a try. This book seems to fit what I think would be a better approach at teaching reading to my daughter. I've ordered the book and can't wait to get started.