Well Monkey has begged for it and pleaded (and has shown ALL the readiness signs for about a month and most for months) so we're starting to teach him how to read. We're taking a break completely from themes and letter of the week because I want to focus ALL of our time and attention to teaching him how to read until we start his preschool curriculum in the fall. So what are we using?
A bunch of introductory readers (I'll post each that we read along our journey)
I See Sam readers (this is an excellent link. My parents got our children these books for Christmas. They're the books that *I* learned to read with back in Kindergarten just under 20 years ago. A print shop printed them for them and laminated the covers all nice-I have quite a soft spot for these books and the use of phonics.)
And our main book: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Along with: Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day
and Alphabet Bob Books, Prereading Skills Bob Books, Kindergarten Sight Words, First Grade Sight Words, and the rest of the Bob Books.
So today we completed lesson 1 of 100 Easy Lessons. Monkey can now recognize "mmmm" and "ssss" in words and helped me read one of his books and sounded out the m's and s's in words. He then read most of "I See Sam" (book 1 of the I See Sam series). I read it with him-he read the words at the same time as me. 100 Easy Lessons encourages to only use the book but Monkey really wants to be able to read HIS books so I want to incorporate appropriate readers while we use the book. I'm VERY big on teaching phonics along with just a handful of sight words ("is", "an", "at", etc) so they can learn how to build on to those words they see all the time.
The first lesson has the child start writing. I HAVE to go get some big lined paper this week so we don't have to use my not-so-nice lines (using a straight edge but I can't ever get them very parallel!). He grabbed the pencil left handed (we've thought for a while he would be a lefty!). I don't know how to correct his hold-he kinda holds it like most left handed children start out-grasping with his whole hand with his pinky down. I had to help him trace and hold lightly otherwise he was all over the page. I'm not so sure he's ready to write but the reading part came very easy for him and I really feel he's ready for it. I think he'll have to have extra help for the writing though.
Monkey was quite proud of himself and wanted to read a bunch of books. I read his Alphatales A, B, C, and D books and Bob Books AB and CD books. He "helped" me "remember" the sounds of those letters. I'm so happy that he's so excited. I know him though and know he's like me and will get frustrated at some point when it gets tough. We'll keep going though (probably take the rest of the day off or whatever) because I KNOW he can do it and I really feel like he's ready. I knew we had to bite the bullet today after he got upset when he was "reading" his books alone in the hall by his room and he didn't know what they were all saying (though he can "read" all of Hand Hand Fingers Thumb by himself we've read it so many times)