Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learning to read

I was about 3 maybe 4 when I started to have some interest in letters and how to make words. The Montessori preschool my brother and I attended had this giant felt board that I loved to fill with three letter words, you know CAT, PAT, HAT, RAT. It seemed so huge back then to put letters together, sound them out and like magic, words were formed, like I invented spelling.

I was sure that Mae shared the same drive for reading that I had at her age when she began to write her name and asked me to spell words so she could write the letters- some backward, all smashed together, and of course separated by exclamation points (I guess I've been doing it wrong all these years.) So, last week her teacher sent home a list of "star words" that they have been learning in class. These are not the three letter, all sound the same words that I thought she had mastered. Oh no, they had to go and teach the children real everyday words like A, AN, IS, HERE, and THE. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to teach a child to read and spell the word THE. It doesn't sound how it looks so that's out of the question, and really have you ever thought about what THE means. Webster's dictionary says it's a function word. I'm convinced it's function is to confuse my daughter because she is having an awful time with that word. The word HERE she figured out right away. My husband taught here to do it in three parts HE, HER, then HERE. That she understood, confused the hell out of me, but made perfect sense to her. With that in mind we've been trying other ways to pound these words in her head because like it or not these words can't be avoided. So now when these words appear in print we ask her to read them to us and that seems to be helping, but the flash cards still bring a blank look to her face.

Today her class will review (test on) these words and then send a new batch home for us to lose sleep over. Yippee, can't wait til 4-o-clock.

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