Sam Is Mad at Me: How to Teach Your Child to Read

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"Sam is mad at me."

"Sam is mad at me."

"Sam is mad at me."

Yesterday morning, I'm hearing this whisper chanted in my ear over and over. Lying in bed in the dark early hours of the morning, my five year old son, Trevor, is sitting up next to me repeating a sentence he read from his reading lesson the day before. He always tiptoes to my bed in the morning and snuggles with me for a while before we get up. My daughter does too. Today it seemed extra early though.

I go back to sleep. "Sam is mad at me." There it was again. I secretly watch him now. "Sam is mad at me." He says this in a tone like he's figured something out, nodding his head as he's saying it, resting his hands on his legs with his palms face up as if to say, "ah-ha!" I smile because he's reeling over his reading lesson, but I also wonder why. The kid had obviously been turning it over in his head for a while. I look at the clock. It's not even six yet.

"Sam is mad at me" happens to be the second full sentence he's ever read in his life. He was proud of himself and could sound out everything but the short "i" sound. Is he just astonished that he could read it? He sees me watching him. He looks me straight in the eye and says, "Sam is mad at me." I nod. "So I hear!" Throughout the day I hear it escape his lips a few more times.

Child Reading
Credit: apdk.

Anyway, last night, we sat down to do another reading lesson. When he got to the i's, he said quietly to himself, "Sam i-i-i-is... i-i-i-i-i. I know! it's iiiiiiiiii!!" It was in that little moment of glee that I realized what was going on. Sitting in my bed in the dark that same morning, he was having his own little epiphany about how to connect the dots of reading.

It turns out that last night ended up being the first night he could read everything, including sentences, without any help, as he finally remembered the "i" sound. I was proud, obviously. And he was so proud he fell out of his chair. Literally.

The lesson book we're using is pretty amazing. We're in 18 lessons. 20 minutes each. When we started, Trevor had no reading skills at all. I had no idea how to teach him either. Not effectively anyway. When I first saw the book, I had pretty strong doubts that it could actually work as quickly as the title suggests.

Long story short, if you have a pre-school age child, and want to teach them to read, the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is the the book to buy. It costs about ten bucks. You don't have to know jack about teaching. It gives you the exact words to say to your kid. If you follow the directions, it will work. But you have to be willing to follow the directions exactly. That's the key. If you're a rebel and want to make up your own rules, this is not the book for you!

Happy teaching All!

 

Kristin

P.S.- In case you are wondering, Sam is a cat, who is mad at his owner for taking his milk away. Trevor said that it might also make him mad if someone took his milk away too.

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