Greetings! I’m Laura, and I hold a TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners) certification.
Alongside being a proud mother to two incredible daughters, aged 8 and 5, I’ve ventured into the fascinating world of teaching them to read.
If you’re embarking on the journey of teaching your child to read, I completely understand the mix of confusion and overwhelm that can accompany this process.
And it’s even more daunting when you notice your child isn’t progressing as quickly as expected.
My quest: The Beginning
When my eldest daughter began her reading journey at school, I had diligently covered all the necessary steps and even gone the extra mile. She could identify her name, knew various letter names and sounds, and could pen down both uppercase and lowercase letters.
I wasn’t worried; this preparation seemed far more than many other children had received.
Additionally, I encountered the prevailing advice: “Don’t teach her too much, or she might get bored at school.” Perhaps you’ve heard that argument as well—it’s a widespread belief, even among educators.
I genuinely believed that learning to read at school would be a smooth ride. Oh, how naive I was!
As formal reading instruction commenced, my daughter began bringing home endless lists of words she was supposed to memorize. These lists seemed never-ending, and the task of memorization wasn’t engaging or effective for her learning.
According to her teachers, these words were deemed too complex to sound out phonetically. However, I often looked at the lists and thought, “Not all of these are irregular words! Many of these words can indeed be read phonetically.”
So, what were these lists of words? They were the Dolch Sight Words—a collection of the most common English words, compiled in the 1930s and 1940s by Edward William Dolch through an analysis of children’s books from that era.
My quest: Disappointment
My disappointment with the system grew. It seemed to heavily rely on the whole language approach with a smidge of phonics instruction. While I couldn’t fault the school for using this approach, I wasn’t impressed. My child wasn’t enjoying the process, things weren’t progressing as they should, and everything seemed centered around memorization and guessing.
It’s no wonder my daughter became bored and frustrated quickly—this method of learning to read can be quite draining for young minds.
My Quest: Full Research Mode… On!
This dissatisfaction led me down a path of extensive research on effective ways to teach children to read. Given my Spanish background, the whole-word concept was unfamiliar to me. In Spanish, the whole-word approach for learning to read simply doesn’t exist. This drove me to delve deep into the subject and try various techniques.
I have an educational background on writing and communications (Degree in Journalism) and I have always love everything that has to do with languages, so I was determined to understand the underlying logic of English reading instruction.
Sharing the Knowledge with other Parents!
I have learned so much about the different ways of teaching children to read, that I felt that I had to digest the information and share it with the world…
Because when you discover an approach that resonates with your child, you can turn the tide and facilitate their journey to becoming fluent readers.
As your child progresses through a method tailored to their needs and decodes words with increasing fluency, accompanying them on this reading journey becomes incredibly gratifying.
Regrettably, the conventional approach doesn’t suit every child. In fact, it’s said that many children learn to read despite the system, rather than because of it.
For many parents and children, this journey can be fraught with frustration. However, I want to assure you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
If the standard approach doesn’t resonate with your child, seek out alternative solutions that align with their learning style and needs.