Phonics First

I didn’t know sight words existed until my daughter turned four. A mom told another mom, and I was eavesdropping, this:

“What? Your child doesn’t know sight words? She should know sight words at the age of four!”

That sent me to panic mode.

From then on, I began to look for materials to use to teach my child “sight words” to be able to read. But I also read “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” by E.D. Hirsch and I somehow was convinced I didn’t need to be scared in the first place for my four-year old YET. Good thing.

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Sight or Sound? BOTH!

From experience, I know being partial to and relying heavily on sight words instruction may not be good for my child. I don’t remember memorizing sight words when I was little!

What I know is that our teacher engaged us in class reading everyday. And we had to read together pages and pages of Henny Penny and other stories ALOUD. The reading material was reproduced on the board or written on Manila paper so that Mrs. Flores, my Grade 1 teacher can point to misread words on the board with her rod, errr stick. So it was that she read to us, and we read together as a class. Sight words skills just fell into place, I believe.

A reading expert named Hazel Loring wrote this:

“All of my teaching experience has confirmed my belief that directional guidance, inherent in the blend phonics system, is the key to success in teaching reading.” 

 

My Child’s Reading, So Far

Insofar as my child is concerned, who is a work-in-progress, she is reading wonderfully already (and I’m proud of her!”) and she has learned to use phonics to her advantage. How did she do it? Well — she sounds ’em out words!

I don’t discount the fact that many parents may think books about teaching your child to read can be quite expensive, ’cause they are.

If you like to buy SSRW books, go ahead! Bob Books are also wonderful! But I remember dreaming of having the SSRW but it will cost an arm and a leg (for me)!

And anyway, I don’t believe that I needed it really, because of the loads of free stuff and good deals everywhere! (If there is a freebie, or one I can get in the cheap, I will NEVER buy the expensive ones, even if I’ve got money to burn. But that’s just me. ❤ )

 

Phonics Book Published in the Philippines

So let’s go local. Yes. In the Philippines, National Book Store and Anvil got together to print a book entitled THE NEW Reading with Phonics by Julie Hay and Charles E. Wingo. This book is only 145 PESOS — talk about a good deal!

But wait till I share the merits of this book.

 

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Via the National Bookstore Online Shop.

 

The New Reading with Phonics by Julie Hay and Charles E. Wingo by NBS and Anvil is a wise choice for the following reasons:

1.  It’s a tiny book. It’s one-half of a short bond paper in size, and the slim title is very easy to handle by a kid, and to carry along in your tote bag, mama!

2. It’s nicely bound.  It won’t stay open when you lay it on the table as you read, but the binding is great and seems durable! Just cover it with plastic and you’re good to go. This one can be passed on to the next sibling!

3. It’s colored! The illustrations are fun! The layout is simple and intuitive and no-nonsense. I love books like these!

4. The leaves are smooth and glossy. Oh, thank God for a book that is aesthetically appealing and affordable at the same time!

5. The technique is great! It is phonics based and at the end of every lesson is a short but level-appropriate reader. For practice, you can buy readers for your child from Booksale or Chapters and Pages or Books for Less.

Just be careful to wait for your child to be ready to read the more complicated ones. Sight words knowledge will come almost naturally. Try sounding them out, too, why not?! When in doubt (since we are not Native English Speakers — listen to the Word from a dependable online dictionary.) You’ll be amazed what your child can accomplish when you follow this path.

But the most important thing is this: READ TO YOUR CHILD! The more natural approach in mixing phonics and sight words instruction is reading to him. Soon, he will make connections with sounds and sight and boom! A child who is frequently read to will be soaring with you in reading before you know it.

SO BE THERE WHEN IT HAPPENS! AND SCATTER BOOKS AROUND THE HOUSE SO SHE CAN HELP HERSELF WHEN SHE WANTS TO READ MORE!

If you want an entirely FREE resource, check out this site by a generous educator! He’s got GREAT (I’m jumping here!) resources you NEED to check out BEFORE YOU BUY ANY BOOK to teach your child to read.

You might find out you don’t need to buy any book when you find out the AMAZING FREEBIES he’s got organized for you. Mr. Don Potter’s website is AMAZING, do check it out and PRINT HIS BLEND PHONICS MATERIALS OUT! Potter, by the way, had this to say of Loring’s Blended Phonics method:

Loring’s method is taught from the chalkboard or overhead. Students learn to blend the sounds of the letters from left to right, one after the other. They do not see the whole word at a glance; therefore, they are required to look at each letter in proper sequence. The blending is done in this order, for example “bat:” b+a = ba, ba+t = bat.” Dr. I. A. Beck calls this “sequential or cumulative blending.”

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If you want to buy THE NEW Reading with Phonics book you can buy online from National Book Store here

This is not a sponsored post, mamas. 🙂 I just love promoting local publishers and free resources online, that’s all!

 

 

Good Old

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I know, the effects are WONDERFUL in new movies, but hey, let’s set that aside for a while.

Yesterday, I had to tell my child that what she considers “new” things (whether stories, toys or ideas) have been lifted/patterned/inspired by/from the old, so the old is just as important (and in many ways, more important) as/than the new.

Just go to the website of Project Gutenberg and browse their “Children’s Literature Bookshelf” to see what I mean. Here’s a link.

We were watching Jungle Book and we were debating on whether the new version is better for watching than the old version. I explained to her that the story by Rudyard Kipling is pretty much the same in both the new and the old.

And on its third or fourth run (the Bare Necessities song already ruining my concentration in the kitchen), she argued that she needed to watch the movie (again) to be creative (’cause she was going to draw something), and my wise self was quick to hand her the book from our shelf to end the argument.

I love homeschooling because I get to be so close to my child as to address her questions when I need to. (*wink)

Here’s the thing:

Just like any meticulous parent who’s got an old soul, and see a good reason for it, I don’t want her to grab the newest trends without thinking. Many of us are being programmed actually to take what’s new over what’s been written or made years before on account of the criterion of AGE alone.

Likewise, I am careful she won’t be caught in the trap of buying new stuff when we have an older version (say, of books) no matter how updated the freshly pressed ones may look for commercial purposes.

I was preparing her for a lifetime of learning, actually, and literary appreciation, and creative pursuits. Wells of ideas for any endeavor flow steadily from classics. Just check out Project Gutenberg and you’ll know that the old are still good and a plus for a frugal mom like me, they need not be purchased.

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The old is constantly given new garb, so don’t be fooled! If you have a good printer, you can print the books of Thornton W. Burgess and save money. You can also print readers, phonics sheets, etc. and other books that interest you or at least read them in ebook form if you don’t want to print them out.

So why defend the old? (Not everything of the old needs to be defended, though, but only the good ones! Choose wisely!)

As a Christian mom, I want her to see the beauty of good, old things, and in this category is the Word of God. The latter can be read afresh and anew daily regardless of how antique it may seem to some.

God’s faithfulness is new every morning to His children, and through the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is new every day and is valuable to us TODAY. God still accomplishes His salvific work through His Word as we speak.

That last one was really the point of the conversation, really.

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Isaiah 55:10-11

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 

 

Of Traitors and Criminals and Bibliophiles

I feel like a traitor, peddling books from outside my country to my fellowmen. I sell preloved books you know, and I get them from thrift shops. And here’s what’s worse — it’s what parents are looking for. There are people like me.

You see, I love classics, living books and other books that are excellent but are not listed among booklists as either living or classic (or what have you). So I stock up on such books. I also hoard workbooks like those from Evan Moor. And quite recently, I’ve been scouring titles written and illustrated by Racey Helps, Hans de Beer, Shirley Hughes, Arnold Lobel, Leo Politi and Jill Barklem, to name a few.

At a time when people are suffering from a different kind of identity crisis never before experienced in the present magnitude (Are we Kapuso or Kapamilya; Red or Yellow) and more children in the private schools speak English confidently while their public school educated counterparts smart-shame them (I have evidence) for their funny tongue, my action is treason.

I do believe though that a healthy balance is not atrocious to the cause of my nation, although I feel like I am not doing anything to do my part as a Filipina mom. I look at my shelf, and lo and behold, so many books are by those wonderful writers from the West that if there were a war between titles in my house, my Filipino books will suffer bitter defeat in their homeland.

How Are We So Far?

So what to do, what to do? I have to address this issue once and for all! But first, the reasons why I sometimes find it easier, or more practical and convenient to get imported books more than the books of our Filipino authors. These are my observations as a bibliophile with regards to workbooks and textbooks ONLY and if you don’t agree, enlighten me please.

  1. Aesthetics – Imported books win in this regard, generally. Yes, I say that with sadness.
  2. Content – We are doing great here but some books are still low on the quality so no, we don’t win here yet.
  3. Price – Hmm, well, I saw a newsprint textbook that costs 1,300 pesos and I couldn’t quite get why. Do you have any idea why? Booksale, Chapters and Pages and Books for Less have good books as cheap as 30 pesos… 😦

So there, that’s just my unsolicited and amateur assessment. But wait…

I was looking for good textbooks for my child last weekend when I saw a workbook made by a local publisher and it just blew me away. A spark of hope was lit. Yay! So I’m looking forward to more books that are big on aesthetics and content while easy on the pocket.

Great Read-Aloud

Meanwhile, let me just share that Mr. Robert Magnuson’s Duck and Croc series from Anvil are great. My daughter loved them to pieces that I had to actually rescue them from impending obliteration because she took them to her bed and literally slept on them for like a week.

The rhyming words of Magnuson’s book are especially appealing to my beginning reader and the illustrations are awesome too, that I wish there more of Duck and Croc’s crazy adventures to see print in the near future. An added bonus is a character lesson tucked in every book which you can discuss with your child during a teachable moment.

By the way, let me just share that I dislike Filipino authors’ titles landing on bottom shelves almost hidden from view, like you can actually see them only when you bend to pick up something you drop on the floor.

The Big Reveal

What follows is a big reveal, you know, and I’m sharing this to prove my point that I am still very loyal to my Filipino writers and illustrators whom I look up to.

So anyway, I saw these Duck and Croc books displayed in NBS on the bottom shelf and since I already have the latest three from Mr. and Mrs. Magnuson I didn’t buy anymore. I just helped myself with the hero complex and dislodged other books at the middle shelf and put the Duck and Croc and other books from Hiyas and Lampara and the like where they are supposed to be just so children can see them at eye level and parents can check them out without straining their backs and necks.

Well, I hope my love for my country is a justifying circumstance, if my activism is a crime!

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Here, let me show you the wonderful autograph Mr. Magnuson made especially for my daughter.

Duck and Croc’s Magnificent Race by Robert Magnuson