Thursday, 18 October 2012

Phun with Fonics

I don't remember learning to read. I have vague recollections of the Ginn books from school, in a "run, spot, run. Spot runs" sense. I remember I liked the purple books (because they were purple) and having to read

Dirty British coaster
With a salt-stained smokestack
Pushing through the channel
In the mad March days
With a cargo of roadrail
Iron ware and pigs lead...


I also remember that other children who were struggling had the Bangers and Mash series. They always looked more appealing because they were full of monkeys.

When The Bear started school, I wasn't sure what to expect. He had learnt, in true Bear form, his letters that very week. The Bear acquires skills in a very systematic way - he can't do something, won't do something, and then will do it with near-accuracy seemingly at random. It's like his brain doesn't process something until it can do it properly. He walked late, at 16 months, on holiday visiting some of my family. They made(!) him walk that first night, and then he could do it. No awkward, wobbly toddler - he was walking. He potty trained in 3 days. The second of those three I took him to Leeds. Yes, we had the occasional accident in the first 3 months, but they weren't often.

So, I realised that learning to read would be something of a novelty - that he would have to work at it, slowly, regularly. It was to be a learning curve for me, too - I am not a natural teacher. I lack patience. Whilst the primary schools I had worked in Up North did active teaching (because reading at home, in many cases, didnt't happen), it was clear from the offset that The Bear's school very much believed that home paved the way for learning. A great sentiment, but...eek.

The approach seems a bit slapdash at the moment. We get 2 new books  every other day to read at home. They've been a mixture of picture-only books, parent-led reading (where the child reads a repeated sentence throughout the story) and, in one instance, the sort of book I vaguely remember - simple words, mainly phonetic, that (almost) tell a story.

I'm also thinking about joining one of the Reading Eggs online learning schemes. We had a free trial a few months ago and he loved it. There just seems so much to do at home, and the little voice in my head keeps asking what would have happened had I returned to work - where would I have found the time for all of this?

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