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A Nonfiction Column
By Jeff Shelby

Easy Readin'

My daughter started kindergarten last month and it feels a bit like I've re-entered kindergarten as well, as we've been doing "homework" and projects and really starting to learn things. Preschool was a great introduction to school and the social aspects of school, but I can really see the learning process taking shape in her little head now. And her favorite thing to do is read. Now, she can't read entire books yet, but we are moving forward pretty rapidly, not just because her mother and I believe it's the single most important skill she'll learn this year, but because she LOVES it. We have flash cards and word games and easy readers and every time she can put together a new word or sentence, you'd think she just won the lottery.

I went searching for a few books to help me supplement the process (and to make sure I don't goof anything up) and here are several that have been great additions to pushing the reading process forward:

Mommy, Teach Me to Read!: A Complete and Easy-to-Use Home Reading Program by Barbara Curtis

I was resistant to purchasing this book at first because I felt like the title should include "Daddy" and I'm overly sensitive to things like that, but after I looked at the book, I decided I could overlook that one flaw. I'm glad I did. The methods are all based in the Montessori teaching philosophy, but I think they work well for anyone looking to give their kids a nice introduction to reading basics. There are lessons for kids as young as two and they steadily progress all the way up to kids in kindergarten. A really simple, really effective primer.

Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day by Sidney Ledson

This book was a little expensive for my tastes, but worth the money. Doesn't provide a whole of lesson type instruction, but reads more like a how-to book. The information about introducing phonics to your child is particularly helpful and easy to follow. The phonics information will also be helpful for kids that struggle with memorizing the so-called sight words, which brings us to...

Sight Word Readers: Learning the First 50 Sight Words is a Snap! by Linda Ward Beech

My daughter has developed an early love for flash cards and memorization, which is funny, because I know I was resistant to those things as a kid. But she can't get enough and wants to add a new word to the flash cards every night. The sight words are linking words or words that simply show up regularly when reading - me, my, you, go, etc. This book gives you 50 common sight words and memorizing just half of them will allow your child to read a good percentage of the words in early readers.

Happy reading!

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