Further thoughts on reading

Further thoughts on reading

Practice, practice, practice!

Practice makes perfect, and there is no where that this is more true than in reading. One of the most frustrating periods of learning, for both the kids and the teacher, is when the child understands and can implement the major reading rules but hasn't yet mastered them sufficiently for fluency. The length of this period varies between children, which is why the early school years results in classes with reading abilities all over the map.


With my kids, I focus on reading for 60 to 90 minutes a day, although further practice sneaks in throughout our regular learning. We spend about 10 minutes reviewing rules or going over new ones, then my son launches into word work. In a classroom setting, you could have word work stations for the kids to rotate through, but in our small homeschool we use plastic tubs on a shelf.

On Pinterest and teacher blogs, you can find a million free word work activities, but we have settled on a few favorites. I try to rotate in something new every few weeks to keep it fresh. For reading and word activities, we have a scrabble like game. I made letter tiles with craft foam. My son uses the tiles to spell words. Each letter is only worth one point, unless he tries to spell words from a special word list, such as days of the week, months, number words or color words. Those letters are worth two points. For every 100 points he gets to pick something from a treasure chest.

We also have the writing work tub. It holds a stationary set so he can write letters (we even have a tin can mail box to “mail” the letters. I actually mail those written to real people, from family members to Astronauts and authors). We have a supply of handmade mini-blank books for writing our own books and we also have fancy pens with colorful ink for basic writing practice.

Word work takes up to 30 or 45 minutes some days. We also spend at least 30 minutes actually reading. He must read to me or his brother for at least 20 minutes, and read to himself for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on his stamina that day and the difficulty of the book.