Literacy is one of the subjects deemed ‘most’ important after all being able to read and write is fairly essential even just in day to day life. In Schools it is tackled intensely straight away since the logistics of managing 30 odd children becomes slightly easier once they can read and write independently. Fairy had the full on School approach and left at the end of year 3 and she wasn’t fluent as a reader or writer and probably more importantly she was completely put off by it. So our literacy approach was pretty laid back, I read to her, we visited the library often, I encouraged her to write when there was a real purpose for doing so such as writing a birthday list, thankyou notes, letters to cousins etc. But we put aside anything that would look too ‘Schoolish’. She now reads for pleasure and enjoys writing, spelling has evolved naturally. There are a number of resources we have used and loved and will use again most likely with Bean. The only difference with him is that I shall be watching for that sensitive period more closely with him and using it to its full advantage using Montessori materials and approach.
1) Audiobooks – brilliant for car journeys and as home educators we are often in the car heading somewhere. My guys are very active so this is a great time to get through a good chunk of a story without them feeling that they would rather be retrieving a football from a tree!
2) Library – we love to visit our library weekly when we can and stock up on books, they don’t always all get read but I think its a good habit and keeps the library used and often we discover things there like a free show/book club that they all enjoy.
3) Reading Eggs – all three of mine enjoyed using this program early on which begins with simple phonics lessons and gradually builds. You can try out a free trial. There are now free literacy programs that I would probably opt for instead, please see below.
4) Teach Your Monster To Read – We only dabbled with it briefly since my biggies are beyond this now but it looked pretty good. Starting with phonics and progressing up it is a two year program not dissimilar to reading eggs but free which is always a bonus!
5) Toe by Toe – a great simple book to use that helps identify any gaps from sounds up. My daughter brought this home from School and I am sure many would find it dull but all three of mine have happily worked through it and enjoy seeing the ticks build up and reaching pages they didn’t think they would ever manage. Superhero and Mermaid continue to use this.
5) Muriel Dwyer – a brilliant concise guide on teaching your child early reading and writing. This is the approach I will take with Bean. It is very logical and simple to implement and doesn’t require vast resources/photocopying etc. If you are someone who feels overwhelmed looking at literacy schemes and guides and love a Montessori approach this is probably for you.
6) Reading Reflex – another useful book with everything included – photocopiable resources and clearly laid out steps.
7) Bravewriter – I have dabbled with this in the past and we have enjoyed ‘poetry teatimes’ and ‘movie wednesdays.’ I have looked at the Jot it Down program and used some of the single issues of Arrow. I really love the idea behind it all and will be using this again this year with Superhero and Mermaid. I have just invested in the Writers Jungle which I have ummed and ahhed about for probably a couple of years. I am only a few chapters in so far but I have to say so far I am impressed and would say it is worth the expense. When I have finished it I will blog about it in more detail.