How to Teach Your Child to Read

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Many parents want to begin teaching their child to read, but don’t know where to start.

Yes, children do learn how to read in school. However there are many reasons why you should begin now at 3-5 years old to teach your child to read.

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First, your child enters school prepared and confident. School is so much easier when a child knows what to do.

Another reason why you should teach your child to read before they enter school is that you can understand what their needs are and what they still might need help in.


Reading is a process, so children need time to practice their skills. At school, children don’t have a lot of time to practice one skill before it is time to learn a new skill.

As I was looking for a complete reading curriculum, I found Learn to Read. My children already went through the Reading the Alphabet curriculum and I was impressed by the detailed information and lesson plans. Reading the Alphabet is good for 2-3 year old children who know their letters and letter sounds and are ready for a relaxed approach to read.

Learn to Read is a curriculum for beginning readers (4-6 yrs old) that teaches reading and spelling through common word families and beginning sight words.

Related: Teach Your Preschooler to Read for Free

4 Reasons Why I Chose Learn to Read:

  • Created by a reading specialist & homeschool mom
  • Easy to use
  • Detailed Lesson Plans
  • Variety of Activities

It is important to understand that only learning sight words is not knowing how to read. Sight words help young children gain confidence and begin to understand that words have meanings.

 

However for children to truly to learn how to read, they need to know the sounds that each letter makes. Once your child knows their sounds, they need to start putting the sounds together.

Most teachers begin teaching word families, which are words that have similar endings. For example, the –at family includes the words: cat, hat, mat, sat, etc.

Teaching word families allow children the ability to master one word family at a time, then gain confidence in their reading. As they learn more word families, they increase their reading ability.

The way that Learn to Read is set up it teaches different word families in each unit. It also includes sight word review in each lesson.

  • Unit 1: short a word families & short a review
  • Unit 2: short o word families & short o review
  • Unit 3: short i word families & short i review
  • Unit 4: short u word families & short u review
  • Unit 5: short e word families & short e review
  • Unit 6: short vowel review

Note: Learn to Read is sold in individual units, but if you plan to work with your child through the summer or continuing homeschooling through kindergarten, the bundle is a better deal and saves $12. The bundle pack also contains extra activities for children to reinforce the skills.

How to Use Learn to Read:

Each lesson includes a 5-day lesson plan. Since my twins are in extracurricular activities throughout the week and I follow a more relaxed schedule, we are doing one lesson for 2 weeks.

This also helps to ensure that your child really knows the skill, instead of rushing to the next word family.

How I Use Learn to Read:

1.      Introduce word family of the week

I use my alphabet foam letters to go over the word family. (What does a say? What does t say? Put the letters together. Then say this is the word family that we will practice this week). Learn to Read also includes word cards to practice the word family if you don't have alphabet letters.

2.      Use the cards to make new words (c-a-t says cat), etc. Add the words to pocket chart. (This is an activity to play throughout the week or two that you are going over the lesson.)

3.      Choose two reading activities per day

Each lesson has sight word activities, writing, a short reader and more that focus on the specific word family.

I try to limit activities to no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Also, it is a good idea to switch from a “worksheet” activity to a hands-on activity to keep your child engaged.

In our complete preschool homeschool schedule, I switch from a reading activity to an activity from our current theme.

4.      During your bedtime story or read-aloud time, point out the words in the word family. Say, “Do you see (at)? Point to it. Read the word.

Overall:

Pros:

COMPREHENSIVE! I mean, it has everything that you need to teach, review, and reinforce each word family.

Fun activities- my twins favorites are the

Works for struggling and special needs children- even if your child is in kindergarten or first grade and needs more assistance, Learn to Read is a good review for them.

Cons:

The only thing I don’t like about Learn to Read is there is no complete year plan. I would love a complete day to day schedule for a 9 month plan, or a 12 month plan.

This would make it easy to know exactly what to do for each day. However, since all families are different I understand that it is written to be flexible to incorporate into your day.

This is mostly because I don’t want to create my own.

Reading Tips:

Reading is a daily practice.

Be consistent and patient.

Take your time. Reading is not a rush, if your child is tired, stop.

Additional Resources:

Youtube videos for each word family: Just search “-“ word family

Starfall.com- games for each word family

Learn to Read is a comprehensive and affordable reading curriculum to teach your child to read. It is a simple way to teach your child to read. Even if your child only goes through a few units, they will be more prepared for school.

 

What other questions do you have about teaching your child to read? Leave me a comment below!

How to Homeschool Your Preschooler for Less than $100

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Are you getting ready to homeschool your preschooler? With so many curriculum choices, learning styles, and Pinterest ideas; it might be hard to decide on what exactly you are going to do with your preschooler at home.

In my post, 4 easy steps to homeschooling your preschooler, I talked about the basics of what your homeschool might look like.

This year I will be homeschooling my twin 4 year olds starting in August.

wow, I love this preschool homeschool curriculum on a budget! This is great for preschool activities at home.

 

One thing that I did not want to do was to spend time on the Internet searching for quality printables that actually taught the skills needed for my children to get ready for kindergarten. Although there are a lot of “cute” printables, they aren’t actually functional.  So I created my own flexible preschool curriculum.

Here are my low cost curriculum choices for homeschooling my preschooler:

Reading:

Since my twins can read, we will be focusing on more in-depth skills. Learn to Read is a complete reading curriculum that includes 6 full units, and each unit focuses on a specific word family. Each unit includes 4 lessons that last five days each. Each lesson has 25 or more activities that focus on the word family.

Learn to Read is a great resource for children who already know letter sounds, and some sight words, since they will be combining the sounds to actually read. Learn to Read teaches beginning readers how to read and spell through common word families, sight words, and short vowel sounds.

I will be using the entire bundle, since I plan on continuing it through the summer. The bundle also saves you $12, than buying each unit separately.

However, if you are on a budget, each individual unit is available for purchase as well. I think that you could go through at least 3 units comfortably through the school year, and your child will still be well prepared for kindergarten.

If your child is not ready for Learn to Read, Reading the Alphabet is a simple curriculum to use to teach letter sounds and some sight words. It is free or $12 (for a complete download with tons of bonus activities)

Math:

Our preschool math curriculum will consist of all of the kindergarten readiness skills needed for kindergarten, as well as fun activities from KinderStar and my preschool curriculum.

Preschool math is very hands on and includes skills such as counting up to 20, which I will be using grid games to practice. In Preschool Star, there are created 2 grid games for each unit to practice counting up to 10, and up to 20. Grid games are great independent practice once your child knows how to count.

I have also included number recognition and tens frame practice in my preschool curriculum.

Science & Social Studies:

We will be doing thematic preschool units so Science & Social Studies will be incorporated into our weekly book choices, printables, and activities for each unit. For example, in the Apples unit, we did a fun experiment where we saw the effects of liquid on apples.

Writing:

Handwriting and fine motor skills practice are also included in the preschool curriculum. Before kindergarten, preschoolers should be able to write their first and last name. A great way to practice is when you are doing work with your child, start requiring them to write their first name on their paper. Once they are comfortable, you can start teaching them their last name.

Kindergarten Readiness Skills:

There are so many other skills that children need for school such as social skills, emotional skills, and practical skills. In my KinderStar course, I include a 90+ page Parent Activity Guide that includes activities to practice each of these skills.

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My Complete Curriculum Plan

Learn to Read $48 (also available in individual units for $10 each)

Preschool Star- 20 Printable Theme Units $35

KinderStar- Kindergarten Readiness Skills $27

Supplies:

I usually get all of my homeschool resources for free using Swagbucks. Since I am trying to be more minimalist and we will be moving soon, I won’t buy as many books and instead check them out from the library. Be sure to reserve your library books at least a week in advance, so that way you will be prepared for the next unit.

Related: Library Hacks Every Mom Must Know

On my preschool curriculum page, each theme has a list of suggested books to read during the unit. Those are just a few of the books, but of course you can read more. We usually read at least one book a day.


With my Swagbucks gift cards I purchased:

Folders (1 for each child)

Backpacks (when we go to storytime & crafts they can put their “work” in them)

Washable Paints

Smocks (these are a necessity!)

Playdough (because for some reason there is never enough)

Alphabet Stamps

Throughout the school year I will also get what is needed for each theme as I earn more Swagbucks.

Remember, homeschooling your preschooler does not have to be expensive. Be creative and think of ways to cut the costs. The most important thing to remember is to teach your child the skills he needs to excel in kindergarten.

What will you be using for your preschool homeschool curriculum? Let me know in the comments below.

Grab my free Preschool Homeschool Planner so that you can plan the perfect preschool activities at home for your child.

 

How My Daughter Started Kindergarten at a 2nd Grade Level

Although I was a teacher for 10 years, I never could quite understand the need for the district to constantly label children and put them into groups. It always was about academic or behavior. I thought our goal was to help all children succeed despite of what label they were given, so I never paid attention to a student’s label.  In second and third grade, that I taught, it was easy to see which children weren’t at grade level.

But imagine my surprise when I found out that kindergarten students could be labeled as well. Just think for a minute, a child can be behind in their first year of school!

As a mom, I definitely did not want my child to be labeled behind in kindergarten. So I started to figure out what skills she would need to succeed in school. Although we think that it’s just learning colors, and the alphabet, it is much more than that.

Wow, this really helps me teach my daughter to prepare her for kindergarten readiness! This is so easy for preschool activities at home and for my preschool homeschool curriculum.

Children should know skills such as:

Reading

Alphabet

Colors

Social

Emotional

Fine Motor

In my Free Homeschool Preschool Planner, I have listed all of the skills that preschoolers needed.

Plus, if your child doesn’t go to preschool then they might miss out on all of the necessary skills to prepare them for school.

So my plan with my daughter was simple, work with her by playing learning games daily. Every day we would play a learning game even if she didn’t understand it. The more that I played with her, the more she learned.

We would do counting games, letter games, and alphabet games. I also taught her social skills such as sharing and being polite. Although many parents focus on academic skills, the behavior skills are equally important for academic success. Children who are well-behaved do better at school, even if they aren’t as high academically. Why? Because well-behaved children know how to listen and follow directions. They are easier to work with and really want to succeed.

By the time my oldest daughter started school, she was already advanced. Since I made learning fun, she was excited to go to school. There were no tears on the first day of school. She was able to easily adjust to being at school all day. Even to this day, she will be in 3rd grade this fall, she continues to be two grade levels ahead.

Once I had my second daughter, I knew I had to repeat the process. I would spend time playing academic games with her and making learning fun.

Here are her STAR test scores:  

Kindergarten Reading: 4th Grade Level   

Kindergarten Reading: 4th Grade Level   

Kindergarten Math: 2nd Grade Level

Kindergarten Math: 2nd Grade Level

Anything you do is easier if you have the confidence, and by working with my daughter I was able to give her the confidence so she could go to school and excel.

This is why I created the KinderStar Course. I wanted parents to be able to help prepare their children for school. Even if your child is one years old, you can start working with him.

In the KinderStar Course I have included:

90 page Parent Activity E-guide, this includes activities for each skill necessary for kindergarten success

15 Video Modules- you will see how I use these same techniques to teach my three year old twins

100 Sight Word Cards- that will help your child learn how to read

46 Printable Worksheets- practice tracing and writing the letters of the alphabet, as well as learning shapes

Activities: Alphabet puzzles, rhyming cards, and number clip cards

 

Everything is downloadable so you can get started today.

The early school years are key predictors of future academic success. This is why it is important to begin teaching your child at an early age.

10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Preschool Amazing

This post may contain affiliate links.

I love these tips on how to have preschool activities at home. This will be perfect for my preschool homeschool curriculum.

 

School will be starting soon! Are you excited for your homeschool preschool or worried that you won’t be able to do it?

Relax, you got this. Homeschooling your preschooler is easy to do, and you can make it an amazing and fun experience for you and your child with the following tips.

1.      Create a Plan

If you aren’t sure here are some tips on how to homeschool your preschooler. After you have created your plan, adjust it as needed. Homeschooling is supposed to be flexible and fit the needs of your family.

I know for myself I don’t want to have to create brand new themes each week. So I am doing a relaxed approach, and am only doing two themes a month. This gives us time to really go through the theme, and enjoy it.

2.      Have a Daily Schedule

If you don’t have a schedule, I have one in my free preschool planner. Think about how many hours of the day you will homeschool, as well as what days of the week.

I will only be homeschooling three days a week, for about 3 hours a day. The other two days of the week we will be doing extracurricular activities.

3.      Treat it like School

I don’t mean that it has to be rigid, but treat it like a learning experience for your child. Remember the reason why you are teaching your child, and work on the math skills and reading skills for kindergarten.

4.      Plan Your Homeschool for Your Children

Remember that it is your homeschool. It is your homeschool so plan it for your children. When I chose my preschool themes, I chose things that my twins are truly interested in. For example, my son loves construction and our area is constantly building, so it will be an easy theme to teach for me.

 

5.      Plan Extracurricular Activities

In order to have a great homeschool preschool, include extracurricular activities for your children. Think weekly library storytime or craft activities.

The parks and recreation center usually has free and low-cost activities to join. My twins will be doing a cooking class, swimming class, and soccer.

This will not only give them the chance to socialize, but also practice gross motor skills which are important for preschool development.

6.      Decide on your end goals

At the end of preschool, your child should be ready for kindergarten. If you aren’t sure of what your child needs to do to prepare for kindergarten, get my free preschool planner which tells you all of the skills that you need to practice on.

7.      Incorporate Field Trips

Think of simple places that you can go that relates to your theme. Besides the library, there are many places in the community that are free to visit. Even a trip to the post office can be a field trip and you can talk about mail, packages, and sending a letter. I also like seasonal trips such as the pumpkin patch, picking fruit, etc.

Your child is still learning even if they aren’t at home.

8.      Plan for Fun

Remember that it should be fun. I plan painting parties, we use playdough to learn our sight words, and in general I just try to make our learning time fun. Although we do printable worksheets, I want the overall learning experience to be fun for my twins.

In my ten plus years of teaching, I noticed that my students always learned more and were more engaged when I made it fun.

So sing a silly song to practice counting, make up silly words that rhyme, just have fun!

9.      Schedule Downtime

Don’t forget to include downtime in your schedule. Give your child time to play independently and explore. I am not always “teaching” my twins, instead I give them the freedom to play and create their own games. Even if they were at a traditional preschool, they would get time to move freely from each center area and play by themselves.

      10.  Connect with other Moms

               As a stay at home mom it is sometimes hard to connect with other moms. So when you are out at storytime or an activity, take the time to connect with other moms.  This will help you not only socialize your preschooler, but also make homeschool preschool fun for you as well. I love being able to connect with other moms and share the joys and struggles of mom life.

 

Preschool activities at home should be fun and engaging for you and your child. Use these tips to have the most amazing preschool year for your child!

4 Reasons Why You Must Prepare Your Child for School

Even if your child is only one years old, it is very important to NOT wait until she turns 4 or 5 to prepare her for kindergarten.

Studies show that the first five years of a child’s life is critical for brain development so it is important to begin to teach your child at birth. Even when your child is in the womb, you can begin to read to your child. Once your child is born, you can give him an academic headstart by doing developmental appropriate activities and continually advance your child as they get older.

Kindergarten is not how it was when you were a child. It is not even the same that it was 10 years ago! With ever-changing academic standards, new laws, and school district policies; it is imperative that you teach your child at home so they will be prepared for school.

Wow, I didn't even know that kindergarten readiness skills was so important! I'm going to make sure that I do preschool activities at home with my son to prepare him for kindergarten readiness assessments. pinning for later!

 

There are four main reasons why you must teach your child before kindergarten.

1.      Preparation is key for early success.

When your child enters school, they will be in a brand new environment with other children and a teacher. It is important to prepare your child for their new environment so that it won’t be a traumatic experience. Many children cry and have a tough transition into school (preschool or kindergarten) simply because they don’t know what to expect. You can prepare your child simply by getting him used to sharing and interacting with other children at the library, playdates, or other child-friendly outings.

2.      Avoiding unnecessary labeling of your child.

As a former public school teacher, I saw many children that were labeled or diagnosed for one reason or another. Many schools have assessments that they use at the beginning of the school year to determine where a child stands academically. This child can then be labeled behind or needs improvement, because they aren’t on the same level as the rest of the class.

Unfortunately, even when the teacher provides lower work for a child, the assessment is still standardized, which means it’s the same for everyone. So the child who doesn’t pass the assessment will always be playing catch-up because they are behind. You can begin to work with your child so they are ready for school. Your child doesn’t have to know everything, but if they have background knowledge of a topic, once they are introduced to it, the lesson will be easier for them. For example, a child that knows most of his sounds will learn how to read faster than a child who doesn’t.

3.      School has a lack of one on one time with students.

No matter how good of a teacher your child has, it is impossible to sit down and work with each child one by one every day. Kindergarten classes range anywhere from 20-27 students, sometimes without an aide! Each child has their own needs and abilities, and the teacher has to figure out how to reach them. Not to mention that if your child is not at the level of the majority of his peers, he will have a hard time catching up in a large group.

As a parent, you can work with your child to make sure he knows what he is supposed to know. There are so many things that a kindergartener needs to know from math skills to reading skills, that is imperative as a parent you expose your child to these skills.

4.      Build Your Child’s Self-Confidence

I don’t know about you, but I feel great whenever I am doing something that I already know how to do. So imagine how great you child will feel to enter school, already knowing the alphabet, letter sounds, and how to count?

To develop a positive attitude towards school, it is first necessary to build your child’s self-confidence. Even if she doesn’t fully know everything, she will feel comfortable with the knowledge she does have and be able to better perform in school.

These are the four main reasons why you should definitely teach your child before kindergarten. This is what I did with my oldest two girls, and they have excelled in school ever since. I work with my preschool twins daily, and at three years old they know almost 100 sight words, can count to 30, and can do simple addition and subtraction.

In my KinderStar Course I show you exactly what you need to do in order to prepare your child for school. KinderStar includes a 90-page Parent Activity E-Guide, which gives activity suggestions for each kindergarten objective. It also includes 15 video modules where I show you the same activities I do with my twins, that will show you how to teach your child. I also included printables so your child can practice their new skills.

Learn about KinderStar now.

How do you prepare your children for school? Leave a comment below.