The Pre-School question. To send or not to send? Everyone has their own opinion, and everyone has their own circumstances. I went to pre-school. I never ever in a million years thought my child would not be in pre-school at age 4 and a half. But, that's just the way the cards fell, and I'm actually totally okay with it! No matter what your opinion is on the matter, you can always find ways to educate your child at home, or enhance the education they're already receiving elsewhere.
Ivy is ready to read. But, since she's not in school, no one is teaching her. I guess that's my job! I actually teach dance at a pre-school once a week, so I asked the 4 year old class teacher what I should be doing with Ivy at home for kindergarten preparedness. She was sooo helpful. First, she told me that pre-school is about socialization. So, make sure Ivy is in social situations. (She gets all the free dance classes she wants through my work, goes to library story time, and is at church multiple times a week- CHECK). She said I could also have Ivy start with tracing some letter, number and shape worksheets, which she gave to me. Then she gave me a list of Sight Words. I thought to myself, "yeah, right." How in the world could Ivy possible read the word "two" or "because"? Here is the sheet she gave me:
After looking at it, I came up with an order that I wanted to introduce to Ivy
(cause I'm a control freak like that)
Here are the 7 steps we took in learning these sight words:
1. Create a space to do your sight words
Each morning after breakfast we cleared our dining table, and sat down to learn. It was the same place every day, and signaled it was time to do sight words.
2. Set a realistic pace
I introduced about 4-6 words to Ivy each day. I created my own index cards and introduced them in the order above. I also wrote the next day's words in a different color, just to help differentiate what was new that day. Some days she was super on it and hungry for more words, other days all we could do was review words from past days. You know your child and their limits. You have to be able to "read" your child and then instruct them accordingly. (At this point, we only went through the 2nd column, because then I moved on to non-sight words, ending in -ab, -ad, -am, -an, etc. I'll do another post about that later. We will go back to the 3rd and 4th column at some point.)
3. This is about memorization, not sounding it out
The teacher inside of me wanted to explain everything about every word to Ivy. But with sight words, now is not the time to do that. Hold out a card, read it, make her repeat the word. Move on to the next word. Keep doing this with your 4-6 words for the day until they can say them on their own. Sometimes making them spell it helps to reiterate and remember it better. Tip: before learning new words review the words from the days prior so they feel like they are already succeeding, because they know those words. Also, make sure you mix up the order, otherwise they might memorize what comes next, instead of the word itself.
4. Make it into a game
Ivy liked to put a bunch of the cards out face down, flip them over herself and read them. She felt ownership in that she was in charge of this aspect of her learning. I would also put two cards out, and ask her to point to a certain word. IE: "Point to the word 'she'."
5. Pull out the difficult words to review at the end
If your child continues to struggle with a certain word, help them say it, then put it to the side, and review it at the end. Don't spend too much time making them "get it." You and the child will be frustrated. Ivy still struggles with "who," "my," and "and." Your child will "get it" eventually-- so don't you get discouraged about it!
6. Make Connections
The learning doesn't stop at the dining table where we do our sight words. When you are out and about, look for the sight words you're learning. Kids love to see that these words are actually used in every day places.
I got these Hello Kitty "learn to read" books at a garage sale and we've been reading them at night for probably the last year and a half. When we started sight words, I took them out and showed Ivy where her sight words were in the book. She loved making that connection.
7. Advanced: Make sentences!
If your child is ready, they might want to try out reading some sentences with their sight words!
Here are some examples:
"he is out"
"I see you"
"who are you"
"she is two"
They also get a kick out of making their own sentences… even if they make no sense, haha.
I hope this helps if you're in a similar situation to us! Kids love to learn, and as parents, God gave us the privilege of guiding them through this journey called life. Even if you don't have time to sit down and write out words on index cards, you can turn almost anything into an opportunity to learn! A hug = a lesson in love. A drive = time to talk and sing. A walk to the mailbox = a glimpse into nature or a talk about driveway safety. Make every moment count!