Tuesday, August 14, 2012

July / August updates

Beach week:
At the end of July we spent a week at the beach with my family, to celebrate my mom's birthday. We had a great time and A and D did very well. They loved the beach, seeing dolphins, riding bikes, their first boat ride, ice cream on the boardwalk and especially the rides at Fun Land. They got along well with their cousins. They did fine when the week ended and it was time to go home. It was a wonderful week.

Literacy lessons:
When we got back from the beach, camp had ended and I started daily literacy lessons with A. We practice phonics, spelling and sight words, read many little books and do lots of drawing and writing. I'm using a lot of materials from ReadingA-Z, a site I used as an ESL teacher. I've said before that it's very important to lay a foundation of oral language before attempting literacy. I think 3 months in the USA was a good time to start literacy lessons.


  1. Great tip on the site! I'll have to check it out. I'm glad they had fun with their cousins and got to do so many fun things! Ice cream on a boardwalk is just so....summer.

  2. I just checked the site...I'm overwhelmed. Not being a teacher, I don't really have any idea where to start. Maybe you could do another post with some basic steps for those of us who are completely clueless to all this? Right now, I'm just reading to Ayub, and trying to point out letters. So far, he recognizes "A" and "snake." HELP!!

    1. Hi Kristin,
      I was lucky in the A already knew the alphabet when he came to us. We started with attaching sounds to letters. We used a whole lot of ABC books (I went through 3 branches of our county library getting ABC books). We focused on beginning sounds for about a month - not lessons, just reading books and pointing beginning sounds out as they came up. We also did work on "phonological awareness" - e.g. What word do the sounds (sounds, not letters) /c/ /a/ /t/ make? and What sounds do you hear in the word "cat?" The goal is to get the kid to break a word into sounds. Once you've done that, you can attach letters to those sounds.
      What has made this a lot easier is that A is ready. He's not always the most confident or willing student, but he CAN do it. D, on the other hand, is not ready. I wonder if part of it with Ayub is just his age. Have you tried alphabet songs? D likes those.

    2. Oh, and I forgot to say, always use words that are part of his oral vocabulary when you're trying to teach him to read. Sight words will be HARD - it's been weeks and A still doesn't recognize the word "the" because it holds no meaning for him - so think of those as a more long-term goal, we just do some flashcards and/or a game every day and keep it very low-pressure - if he doesn't know a sight word within 2 seconds, I just tell him what it is.