Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, January 06, 2006

100 Easy Lessons -- Lesson 4

Noogs continues to show interest in doing her "schoolwork", so we've progressed to Lesson 4 of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, as well as chapter 3 of Stuart Little. I'm enjoying the lessons, because it's giving a structure to our morning -- something we've lacked before. And I've gone ahead and bought the book, so that we don't have to keep renewing the library's copy. (Plus, I know that at some point, someone is going to write in it or spill something on it.)

Yesterday, Noog unexpectedly balked at putting sounds together. She'd enjoyed making "m" and "s" sounds, and learning "a". However, when it came time to read "a" and "m" together ("am", of course), she was indignant and insisted on making each sound separately. I didn't push it, because each new lesson is followed by a review lesson. This morning, we did the review and it didn't seem to bother her anymore. She doesn't put the sounds together smoothly, and I don't think it has really dawned on her that she's reading the word "am", but that's okay.

The end of each lesson involves writing sounds. She enjoys making "m", but has trouble with the "s". I found I have to tear a page out of the lined school paper notebook I bought for her and just give her one page a day, because otherwise she'll write on every page of her notebook. You can't limit the artistic muse, I guess.

Here are my thoughts on 100 Easy Lessons, so far:
I'm enjoying the brevity of the lessons, and the clarity of the instructions in the book. I read the introduction pretty thoroughly to get a feel for what I was about to do, and everything seems to be laid out fairly neatly. I was worried at first about the orthography, but then I recalled my time studying Old English -- at first the vowels were marked as to long and short sounds, and the easier reading selections were all printed that way. As your vocabulary grew and the selections became more difficult, the vowels were printed as originally written, and you used context and your knowledge of the vocabulary to properly translate the word. Makes sense.

The authors of the book want the children to learn to write "a" as you see it here -- with a crook up top and a litte ball below. Noogs doesn't like this, and knows that "a" can be written either like that or in the more simple fashion with a circle and a line next to it. That's how we've been practicing it in our writing exercises. Outside of calligraphy, who learns to write "a" in font-style? Seeing as the authors use their own orthography for other letters, I don't see why they couldn't have used the simpler "a", unless it's just that that's not how it's printed in most books.

We tried reading a bit of "Green Eggs and Ham" with its famous opening salvo: "I am Sam. Sam I am." She could sound it out, but didn't quite connect the sounds with words. Well, give it time...


Anonymous said...

I'm going to order that book. Have you read the "Bob Books"? If so, what do you think?
I can get "Free Shipping" if I order something else (I'm such a sucker) and they've kindly suggested Level A of "Bob Books".
The cost of shipping is probably less than buying another book. But another book is better than paying shipping, right?

Amber said...

I have this book on request from the library now. I'm looking forward to taking a look at it.

How well does your daughter know her alphabet? Is it necessary to know the whole thing both verbally and on sight in order to start the lessons, or is learning that included in the course of the lessons?

mrsdarwin said...

Rhonda --

I had never heard of the Bob books, but in the Amazon reviews for 1900 Easy Lessons, several readers mentioned that they had used them. I'm kind of curious, and may check the library for them. I remember that my mom used the Faith and Freedom readers for my younger siblings, but their main attraction (if you want to call it that) is their unremitting Catholicism. My siblings found them very dull, as I recall.

And I threw in a book on Trappist ales for Darwin to bring my shipping up to the Super Saver point, which is silly because I was using a gift certificate anyway. But the shipping is FREE!

mrsdarwin said...


Noogs knows her alphabet fairly well and can identify all the letters, but I don't think it's necessary to know your letters beforehand with this book because it's focused on teaching the sounds that the letters make. So instead of learning that the letter is "m", the young scholar learns that the sound that symbol makes is "mmm". The first four sounds are m, s, a (as in "as"), and e (as in "me"). We learn "e" tomorrow!

Due to Mommy's careful coaching during reading time, Noogs already knows that "A" and "I" are words as well as letters, so we don't seem to be having any confusion on that front when reading stories together. I'm taking the obnoxious tack of making her sound out the one or two words that she knows when when we come to them in books: as, a, I, sam. We haven't had any confusion with the stand-alone "a" vs. the "aaa" sound in words.

Oh, and in the comment above, that should be "100 Easy Lessons", not "1900 Easy Lessons". (After the first 500 lessons, you'd think they would start getting harder.)

Anonymous said...

I used the Bob Books with my boys and they loved them...sort of silly sometimes which appeals to little minds. They are the first books both of my boys read.

Amber said...

Thanks - I got a copy from the library today and I'm going to read through the beginning tonight. (that is, if I can tear myself away from my computer!) I started looking through it a bit in the library and I like how much help they give the instructor. Perhaps I'll give it a go with my daughter tomorrow morning.

bearing said...

About the putting sounds together:

This is apparently a developmental skill --- a child isn't capable of it until she reaches a certain level of neurological maturity. So if she doesn't "get it" for a while, just be patient. It may literally be "unteachable" until she is a little older.

The term we used to explain it to my son, which worked pretty well, was "slide." "Slide the /a/ into the /m/" or "Slide the /a/ /m/ together to get /am./"

I recommend the work of Diane McGuinness for an idea of the state of reading research today.