Monday 1 December 2008

To answer Julie's questions...

I am making a blurb book right now too, where did you get the $10 off coupon and when is it good till?
I signed up for their newsletter, the $10 off is finished but....
If you order before December 5, we've still got a little something for you – free shipping*
* To qualify for free shipping (up to $10), you must enter the promotion code in the shopping cart at time of purchase and complete your purchase in USD. Offer is good for free shipping up to $10.00 in value. Offer expires 11:59 PM PST December 5, 2008. Limit one-time use per user and cannot be combined with other offers. Not valid towards purchase of gift cards.
Promotion code: freeshipping

How old is your little one?
He was 3 in July.
I try not to compare, because I know it isn't right or fair on my child... but mine doesn't seem even close to reading... just wondering what you did to prepare him.
Well, erm, when he was about 22 months old he started to recognise letters, I would spell his name phonically when we wrote is name but we weren't doing any kind of reading/writing preparation. When I realised what he was doing I set to and made the sandpaper letters and phonics pouches and they have been on the shelf for him to use whenever he likes. He has always loved the phonics pouches and I try to mix up the items to keep it interesting. He has also always liked drawing so I wasn't surprised when he started to write letters too. He actually doesn't like using the sandpaper letters much but will trace the letters with a upside down pencil, the problem I am having now is that he sees a letter and copies it but doesn't always draw the letter correctly. 
When I was teaching I had a lot of students who had "education mama's" for mothers, the sort that dragged their kids to every class going and made them do homework all at the tender age of 3, I swore I would NEVER turn into an education mama when I had kids! It wasn't until I had Ebi-kun that I found out about Montessori and I am so glad that I did. By having the materials there, on the shelf, for the child to use IF they want to and IF they are interested made so much sense to me. I don't sit Ebi-kun down and make him do his work, he does it when he feels like it, sometimes he doesn't touch the language materials for a few weeks, other times he will get the same thing out two or three times a day.
Right now, he knows all his letters phonically, strangely enough, I have never 'taught' him any of the uppercase letters, he has picked it up by himself. He can write most of the letters by himself but with some he will ask me to show him first. It has all been very natural, he learnt the letters then started putting them together, he would write on his magnetic board a line on numbers then ask me what it says. He is just starting to learn hiargana too but that is daddy department, once he can read each hiragana letter actual reading will come quickly partly because he already 'gets' the concept and partly because Japanese is a phonic language and he doesn't have to worry about stupid blends and silent e and the such like.
My advice?
  • Read to your child a lot (use your finger to point to the words as you read)
  • Have materials accessibly for whenever your child has the urge to work with them.
  • Encourage them to spot letters where ever they are (Ebi-kun does this by himself) road signs, shapes his food makes, bubbles in the bath.
  • Have drawing/writing materials accessible so they can practice when ever they like.
  • If you don't mind them using the computer, introduce them to the Starfall site.
  • When they start putting letters together, get some easy readers, for a child to finish a WHOLE book by themselves really boosts their confidence.
I think that is it, if you have any other questions, you know where I am!


  1. Thank you so much...I appreciate you taking the time to write and answer my questions!!! I am planning on getting it done by Friday for the free shipping, that would be great!

    I have always been amazed at your son's drawing abilities, and love the blurb book you did about his artwork... and I am new to the Mont. way of teaching... Julie in AZ has been teaching me a lot!!! And I am trying to do this with my son who is 4.5 He just isn't that interested in much. He gives up really quickly and just loves his cars and trains. He hates crafts because he gets messy... so strange. And I notice he does better with things and feels like he is getting something when we do it together. I tried Starfall based on a previous post and he knows all his sounds, all his letters, but something doesn't match putting the words together. He was just randomly guessing. But he knows them all, just doesn't get the whole concept... not sure how to help him in that.

    Thanks again, I appreciate all your advice!!!

  2. I suppose each child is different. if he is into cars how about making labels for the different cars and trucks - if he is like Ebi-kun he probably has quite a selection. maybe 3-part cards with vehicles or something like that.
    Ebi-kun finally clicked with his numbers by doing the car parking game, he is not nearly as interested in numbers as he is writing and drawing.

  3. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I have a 4 year old daughter and she is begging to learn how to read. her preschool teacher said she is farther along than the rest of the kids in her class, but i have been struggling with how to teach her reading!!! Thank you, thank you for the Starfall site! I know she is going to LOVE it!

  4. I love your answer on reading! Esme at 20 months is interested in letters, but I'm trying to figure out the right balance between assisting versus pushing.


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