This morning SA asked me to read Big Red Barn to him. I looked at it and decided it would be a great book for his next reading lessons. While I can't claim to have put a lot of thought into this decision, there are a few reasons why I think it will prove to be a good choice:
1. It has a good mixture of short, three-letter words and longer words.
2. It has a bit of repetition, but not so much that it becomes boring.
3. It is interesting and fun for SA.
I have written before about using Charlotte Mason's approach to reading. To summarize our process here,
1. I choose books or poems that are interesting and fun for SA to read.I believe this summarizes the heart of the Charlotte Mason learning-to-read process. She gives specific examples of reading lessons in Volume 1 of her Original Homeschooling Series that are very helpful. I don't slavishly follow the mechanics of her process, (using loose letters and words) though I do this occasionally. Most of the time, I simply make use of a notebook.
2. He learns the words of that book by sight so that he can recognise those words anywhere he sees them.
3. We base our phonics lessons on the words he has learned by sight.
My intention with this series is to give a concrete example of a reading lesson in our homeschool. It may be appropriate to note here that SA knows all his letter sounds and can sound out three-letter words quite easily. He reads some words quite confidently. For this reason, we started by finding out how much of the book he could already read. (I am starting to think it may be helpful to keep a notebook of all the words he knows so far. For now, this works, though.)
SA and I read Big Red Barn together. I allowed him to read the words he could. Any time he hesitated, I smoothly supplied the word. I did not prompt him to "sound out" anything at this point. This read-through was simply to find out what words he already knows so we can focus on the ones he doesn't.
When we were finished reading the book, I pointed out to him how many words he already knows, and that it would be pretty easy to learn to read the whole book. He didn't say anything, but I'm pretty sure he's interested and looking forward to being able to read the whole thing.
Words He Already Knows: (He reads these words confidently, without hesitation.)
These are the words that need to be learned by sight:
(He is able to sound some of these out, but there was hesitation when we were reading through it, so they need reinforcement.)
Now that I look at it, that looks like a long list! I will start at the beginning, working through the book in order. As he can read the words, he will be able to read that portion of the book. Every other day, we will do phonics lessons related to the sight words he learns. For example, I anticipate teaching him the words great, green, and field by sight in lesson two. Then the next day, I'll make up a phonics lesson using the "gr" beginning blend. (Why choose that particular phonics lesson? I won't use "great" to teach other "eat" words, because "eat" usually sounds like "eet," not "ate". We have learned about "ee" before, so I won't go through that now. "Field" uses "ie" to say the "ee" sound, but the same combination can be used to say the long i sound (pie), or even the short e sound (friend). If he was familiar with the meaning of "wield" and "yield", I would teach him those words in connection with "field," but since he's not, I won't focus on it right now.) As you can see, my plan is highly individual to my own son.
As I usually do, I will feel my way along, deciding what to teach as I go along. This time, though, I'll blog through it. Maybe this will give me some insight into my own process.
Big Red Barn Reading Lessons 2 and 3
Big Red Barn Reading Lesson 4
Big Red Barn Reading Lessons 5, 6, and 7
The Awesome Mystery of Growth in Reading