I absolutely do not specialize in early childhood education. When I wanted to teach, I wanted them in high school. You know, at the age where they are fully housebroken, able to communicate, and have some reasoning skills. Since having Norton, though, I’ve found myself with an interest in some aspects of early childhood education. When dealing with his language delay, I had to learn things in order to help him and advocate effectively. But now? We’re starting to work on early reading.
I don’t read to Norton as often as Heather over at The Parenting Patch reads to Poppy. Some days I don’t read to him at all. Other days, we’ll read five or six stories. It’s whenever he comes to me with a book and says, “Read the story, Mommy?” Like most things we do, Norton has to set the tone and pace. If I try to set it, he rebels.
Most of our early reading activities surround Spot the Puppy books. They’re simple, fun books that appeal to Norton because he loves puppies in general. The language is simple; the illustrations are cute. In fact, Where’s Spot? was the first book recommended to us by the speech pathologists of Norton’s language delay playgroup that we added to our library. We started out using the book to get him to point to things. It started out with just getting him to point to the puppy, as Norton was never a child who would point to communicate what he wants. Then we started getting him to point to other things on the pages, like the boat, the bear, etc. Eventually, it progressed to him pointing to things and naming them, or counting the number of flowers on a page.
It only makes sense that we’d continue to progress with the same books that have been meeting his needs with every other aspect of his language development for early reading skills. One day, I decided to do an experiment. Norton knows his letters. He knows his phonics. A friend in another city has a son that’s a few months younger than Norton who is learning early reading skills at their preschool. So why not? I showed Norton the word Spot when we were reading Spot Loves His Mommy.
Then it clicked. He went through the book as we read the story and showed me “Spot” every single time. To check and make sure that it wasn’t just a fluke, we put the book down for a while. He ran off and played. We ate Rice Krispy Bats and did cool stuff. The next time we read Spot Loves Sports, he was still able to show me Spot on the page. We later progressed to his recognizing the word “Mommy” and will probably progress to “Daddy” later. It’s a start. Even better, it’s an early reading start that Norton is enjoying.
Did you teach sight words as part of early reading? How did you do it?