13 answers

Learn to Read Materials

Hi. My nephew is 4 years old and will begin kindergarten next September. I'd like to buy him a toy or dvd that will help him learn to read in a fun type of way. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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My favs when the kids were in pre-school were the Leap Frog series. I think it was the Letter Factory, then Word Factory. There's even one for math. They tought them the sounds of the letters and really helped them to sound out words

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Good old fashion books! My 4 y/o loves Dr. Seuss. and can read along with me now. words are repetitive.
DVD = Leap Frog, Meet the Words, Super Why are my 4 y/o favs. readrocket.org. is a great on-line site too.

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I like, Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons by S. Engelmann. It is the SRA Distar reading program adapted for parent-child use at home. IBSN 0-671-63198-5. Mr. Engelmann is the originator of the direct instruction model of teaching that is a best practice all over the nation in schools.

The book is set into short scripted lessons that teach phonics and word decoding skills, it moves from simple to more complex. Even if only used in the first lessons it will give any child the beginning skills to use in school.

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Well, I'm old-fashioned and believe the best way to learn to read is through books! Of course that means that the child must be surrounded constantly with little language games, especially fun rhymes which teach phonics, games while driving of picking out letters on license plates and signs, etc. If the child has that kind of background, along with plenty of story reading, the first simple book, like "Cat in the Hat" will open up the magic world of reading, and if the child is a natural, that will be that. You will have a reader. My mother, who was a first grade teacher, deliberately did not teach me to read prior to first grade (back then there was no public kindergarten where I lived) because she didn't want me to be bored. However, I had a lot of the kind of enrichment I mentioned, especially lots of rhymes and poems. I also got armloads of books from the library every week. We didn't have Dr Seuss, but many others, like "Millions of Cats" were wonderful and followed the same principles. Consequently, when she told us the words in the little "Alice and Jerry" pre-primer on the first day, I could read the whole book, and never stopped from that day. Actually, every child in her class of 45, during war time, with great personal upheaval in their lives, learned to read.

By the way, "sounding out" can be the death of good, fluent reading! A certain amount is fine, but you don't want to read by sounding out every word. You cannot follow the story that way, and comprehension will suffer, and reading will be artificial and NOT fun! As I mentioned earlier, rhyming is a great way to learn phonics. Phonics lessons can be separate -- like "The fat cat sat on the mat." Once the child gets the idea, he or she will be able to quickly recognize sound clusters and will not need to laboriously sound everything out.

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Anything in the Jump Start series is really great

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my kids, from 2 years old, love their "Leapster."
its very fun and educational... even my 3 year old son can play it by himself and he learns a lot from it. It grows with the child, and till this day, both my kids still use their Leapster and like it.

As Riley and the other respondent said, Starfall is great (my daughter's Teachers recommends that site too. And just plain ol' reading to him, or reading along with him... is very important.

Sound out the words etc., and through using "sight words" and phonics... a child will learn the sounds and how to say the words.

All the best,

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Leapfrog has about a bazillion things that help with letter recognition, learning letter sounds, etc. One of our fav's was a refrigerator magnet series that had all of the letters. When you put a letter into the frog, he sang a little song about the sound that the letter made. At 4, he may already know the letter sounds, but that would be up to you to assess. Check out leapfrog stuff

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My son absolutely loved Word Launch. It hooks up to the T.V. Very easy to use.

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It's free... all you need is a computer

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