Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beginning a new adventure

It's hard to believe it was around this time of year in 1995 when I first sat down with my oldest daughter to begin teaching her to read.  She was 4 years old at the time and eager to learn.  She already knew all her letter sounds, could identify the letter symbols and when we played a game where I'd say a word to her, she could tell me many of the letter sounds she heard in the word.  After several months of wondering what to do and having no idea how to teach her to read, a friend who had homeschooled for a number of years loaned me her own set of Sing, Spell, Read and Write and our adventure began!

She devoured the program and was finished with it and reading fluently within three months, about a month shy of her 5th birthday.  If I had wondered before then, it was clear that she wasn't a typical 4 year old, as she went from completing this program to reading at a 5th grade level.  It was like all she needed was someone to show her how the puzzle fit together and she would take over from there.

From then on it was clear that I would be homeschooling her, as the schools where we lived at the time didn't teach children to read until the first grade!  What would they do with a barely 5 year old kindergartner who was reading the Little House books?

And so the years have gone by and I've taught two other children to read and have homeschooled them (my son now attends an area Vo-Tech high school so he can major in computers).  Unfortunately I moved away from where the friend lives who loaned my Sing, Spell, Read & Write so was unable to use it for the next two children as it was out of my price range.

Now I've got my youngest, turning 4 later this month, behaving much as her older sister did.  She already knows all her letter sounds, can pick out the sounds of letters in some words, and knows by sight all the letters of the alphabet.  As young as she is, it's time to begin.  What amazes me...and humbles me...about this is that this is my daughter who was born 13 weeks premature and weighed only 1 lb, 12 oz at birth and was only 13 inches long!  According to her pediatrician (who is also a neonatologist), only 30% of babies born as early as she was have no problems.  In my daughter's case, she is one of that 30%, having no disabilities, no delays, no health issues whatsoever.  She is very small for her age, but that is not a problem.  She's about the size of an average 2 year old, but she doesn't let that stop her.

You'll note in the photos that she wears glasses.  While many preemies wear glasses due to a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), her vision issues are completely unrelated to her prematurity and are solely a hereditary nearsightedness.  She actually has better vision than her two older sisters who also wore glasses as preschoolers!

Anyway, back to our new adventure!  Last week I received in the mail an old edition of Sing, Spell, Read & Write, the same edition I used back in 1995.  The person who sent it to me asked me to just pay for the postage cost.  What a blessing!  Yesterday I began to teach my youngest daughter the first song in the program.  You'll note from the photo below that if you are familiar with current version of SSRW, there have been a few changes to the song.  But this is the version I used before, so I am quite happy with it.

I don't know if my youngest will learn as quickly or take off as high as my oldest did back in 1995.  That isn't important.  Right now she's eager to learn and having fun, so we'll keep moving forward as long as it's fun.  I'd love for you to join me in this adventure!

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