Monday, 23 July 2012

July update on reading and writing

Well, it's been a long time since I posted on here, but education has been continuing, mainly with our customised letter of the week and lately about the Olympics. Iona's reading is coming on, if not in leaps and bounds at least a little: she likes watching Alphablocks and has been enjoying reading Letterland books that we've been borrowing from our home education group. She is now able to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with a little reminder of how to do it, although she currently enjoys messing around and being silly so much that she will often deliberately read it wrongly just for fun. The other day Daddy was so concerned that she wasn't reading as he thought she should (he was initially unsure about home education) that he bribed her with the promise of sweets if she read some words out to him, and surprise surprise she did fine!

It's been hard to think of activities to do with Iona to encourage her reading and writing, apart from reading to her, given her current awkwardness and attitude of "I do what I want to do!!". Today she was enjoying watching Abadas, when I had a brainwave: I wrote "fox", "bat" and "hippo" down one side of a piece of A4 paper and "Harry", "Ella" and "Seren", with hand-drawn cartoons, down the other. I then made sure that Iona knew what the different characters were and asked her to join them to the types of animals they were. She managed this with no help at all, showing that she was at least able to read "fox" and "bat" ("hippo" could have been guessed by being the last one done).

Iona has been slower to try writing, but lately has been writing some letters quite deliberately (as opposed to a few weeks ago noticing that shapes she had drawn looked like letters!). (Interestingly, considering how many children have trouble with p, b, d and q, one of the letters she has been writing correctly is "P".) At the end of last week she decided to make an Asda sign:

The 2 middle lines say "Asda" (AC) "is Open" (OP) and "Asda" (AC) "is" (I) "Closed" (C). I must say I was really impressed, as it was the first time she's actually attempted to write anything.

Iona's drawing is also coming on well, with her drawing a very realistic snail this morning.

Apparently the picture on the right is the snail coming out of its shell, while that on the left is where it's gone back into its shell. Unfortunately when I gave her my very impressed honest opinion she got quite cross with me for liking it!!


  1. Thanks for stopping by Homeschool Super Heroes. Like the photos on your blog.

  2. Thank you. Hope I can come by more often.

  3. Hi,just hopping around the blogring and saying hello.
    Having helped two children learn to read and write it sounds like Iona is doing fabulously. None of my kids read till they were about 7 but before then I just played i-spy, we spotted words in books (like a word of the day), We watched TV shows like alphablocks, look and read etc. They just one day read and you wonder how that happened.

  4. Thank you for your comment. It's good to get that encouragement in a world where children are learning to read at school by 4. My husband's been a bit worried about Iona's reading but I think now is accepting that she's learning to read at a good speed really. I remember I didn't start learning to read 'til I was 4 and when I started school at 5 I was the exception 'cause I could already read the Peter and Jane books (this was the early '70's)!
    I like your idea of a word of the day. We currently do a different letter every fortnight, and Iona really enjoys thinking of words starting with the current letter that we can learn about.

  5. I think Iona is doing really well, and I completely agree with the previous comment that children will suddenly start to read when they are ready. And I just wanted to say that the Asda sign is absolutely brilliant - I love it!

  6. Just hopping round the ring too :D

    Be encouraged ~ you're little girl is doing just fine! I have 8 children, 7 currently of school age and all reading, but each one has learnt differently and at a different pace to the other. My 5yo son has self-motivated and self-taught, mostly using Reading Eggs, but he knew some letter sounds VERY early on and was beginning before we even discovered R/eggs. He's a first in my family. My 7yo has also learnt predominantly through R/eggs, but faster due to a later start (age 6 ish). They are only about 10 lessons apart now though! My nearly 9yo daughter has struggled the most so far, and I suspect is dyslexic, but even she is getting there now ~ just more slowly than any of my others have. My older children... some were quick starters then tailed off their enthusiasm, others were slower starters but are now my keenest readers. It will happen and it's not worth frustration and tears, so if it ever looks like it's heading that way back off ~ I learnt that one!

    And writing ~ she's doing fine with that too :D

    Don't allow yourself to be 'conformed to the pattern of this world' too much. We do structured HE in our home, but, over many years now, I have learnt to shape each child's education around them and their needs (as much as possible) rather than around the expectations of 'onlookers' and 'well-wishers' (who are all too often 'meddlers' and 'critics' in disguise!). Listen to Iona and go with HER flow ~ it's the path less travelled, but certainly the happier one for those on it!


  7. Hi Angela, I too taught myself to read with Peter & Jane before I ever got to school!

    My mum was a primary & secondary school teacher before she became a SAHM to look after my two sisters and myself, and she's always been very encouraging in our Home Edding endeavours - we've been home edding for 5 years now, and are currently numbering 6 children (no 7 due in January!)

    The two eldest did go through infant school, the eldest juniors too, and learnt to read while at school. No 3 son learnt at home, all were properly, fluently reading between 7 and 8 (as in, for pleasure, chapter books such as Harry Potter and so on), and no 4 son (currently 6, and a very beginner reader) seems to be following that pattern too.

    That switch from learning the alphabet and recognising and spelling out some easier words to it really taking off and fluently reading seems to just happen, when they're ready - psychologically speaking this can be any time between about 3 and 9, usually.

    So Iona seems to be doing fabulously from where I'm standing!

    I don't know if you've come across any of John Holt's writings on education yet? I found his 'Learning all the time' book extremely helpful when it came to understanding and trusting the development of spoken to written language :-)

  8. p.s. I found teachers both current and retired to be among the most interested and supportive of our home education, plus they are very restful, often, to talk to - they've seen 100s of children rather than just 1 or 6 or whatever, and therefore know perfectly well that it will all work out in the end in most cases!

  9. Thank you both. Yes, I am trying to follow Iona's interests and wishes, although with a vague structure over the year, just to give us some inspiration for topics to look at. It mostly works well, apart from her tendency to put off doing things I suggest until "tomorrow" (probably something she gets from her mum)!
    Yes, I read some John Holt when I did my PGCE in teaching adults, about 20 years ago. The tutors were very keen on him, and I got "How Children Learn" at a charity shop. I think I'm more into his stuff now than I was then.
    Thank you for your encouragement.