Learning to Read - Wellsville,KS

Updated on June 16, 2010
E.L. asks from Smithville, MO
15 answers

Need some suggestions on working with a 6 year and teaching them to read. What are some good starter books? Are there any games? Do flashcards work? Just need some advice on helping a slower and struggling reader. He does know a lot of words, like: the, and, is he, she, and so on, however really struggles with reading sentences.

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answers from Honolulu on

In my daughter's school, for Kindergarten and 1st Grade, they are taught "sight words." Each level of words, being per their age/grade.

It is called "Dolch Sight Words."
This is what schools use.

Here are some links for it:

to work on words with him... don't overwhelm him.
Just work on a 'list' of about 5-8 words. It also takes repetition and then practicing 'reading' something with those words.
It is also part phonics... sounding out the words, and memorization. "Remembering" sounds and how a word is read.
It takes consistency... and working on a particular set of words, repeatedly until he "masters" it. THEN when he masters a set or words, then, go on to another set of words. Gradually building up... from there.

I would ALSO, use a marble composition book... and per alphabetizing it and the pages... write words in there that he masters... for each alphabet... thereby, he will be making his own "dictionary" of words that he knows. It provides incentive and a reference for him to easily look through, as he learns more words.
THAT is what my daughter's Teacher's did. Each kid, had their OWN "dictionary" of words, that they wrote into their composition tablet. And then that way, the words are all organized into ONE tablet for easy reference... versus having to try and remember everything and the words being scattered all over the place or you forgetting which flashcard word he knows or not and having to keep track of it mentally.
AND, by having him write his mastered words into the tablet, he will also get added practice of how to 'spell' it.

all the best,

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answers from Portland on

My grandson loves www.starfall.com. Appealing, interactive, and the student can choose the appropriate level of challenge.

Let me say that the parts of the brain that make reading and other verbal skills possible develop at different rates in different kids, and boys' brains often lag in these areas, sometimes till they are 8 or even older. And sometimes brains are challenged by dyslexia or other problems.

I hope you will find ways to support your son's progress without discouraging him or making him feel like a failure. I tutored at risk kids in high school for a few years, and it was sad to see how many otherwise bright and capable young people were still carrying the burdens of early academic "failures."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

The children in my sons class that needed
extra help with reading did razkids.


My son did not do razkids so I am not sure
how it works but all the parents and children
that used it LOVED IT.

What I like best and what really worked
for me and my kids is sitting down with these books from
Walmart called (Step into Reading).
Or you can go online and see more of a selection



Your little one will be reading real soon.

Best wishes.
= )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My 4 y/o started reading with the "I Can Read" Books. We check them out from the library and he loves them.

He learned his sight words with the "Slap the Sight Words" game and rhyming with the "Rhyming War" game.

Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Some very sold advice so far, but another way to look at this ... I wouldn't choose books FOR him. I would choose books WITH him. Or let him choose. There's much to be said for buy-in, an actual eagerness to read what's in front of him.

Also modeling. Let him hear you read and having him follow along. A lot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I am wondering if he is in school? If he just finished Kindergarten, was he behind the other kids, and what did the school offer? What did his teacher suggest?

If he was taught with a a "whole langauge" method and is having trouble with what he has tried so far, then he might be one of the kids who needs an alphabet phonics based method or an orton gillingham based program. Some children can learn to read with whole language that depends on them being able to pick up the individual sound symbol relationships and learn the rules later, but some need to learn in a more systematic, synthetic, anyalitic (take it apart and put it back together) cumulative fashion, from the very begining.

If you think he is having difficulty with sound symbol relationships, have him tested for dyslexia, and find a tutor that can give him an orton gillingham program if you can afford it, or request that your school provide it through an IEP or 504 program.

If a struggling reader needs this program, then they need it, so find out for sure why he struggles. Evaluation is the only way to be sure.

The good news is, he is only 6. You should be dilligent and get him the help that you know he needs, and find out for sure exactly what that is!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Have your tried the BOB books? It's a series that gets progressively harder - introducing new sounds/blends as they progress. You might feel like he's just memorizing them because they are pretty simple - but that's the first step!



answers from Kansas City on

This website has lots of great resources...



answers from Kansas City on

Bob Books are wonderful. Also with my son I use a program called All About Spelling. It starts off by teaching letter sounds and it is a really great program.



answers from Kansas City on

Try BOB books...you can get them at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. My son is 4 (almost 5) and that's what we're using.



answers from Wichita on

He struggles with sentences because he doesn't know the sounds the letters make. Martha knows her stuff and asked you some good questions. Because your son is young, you need to start at the beginning. In Alphabetic Phonics, a curriculum that teaches dyslexic children how to read, we begin with the alphabet and phonological awareness. Just because a child can sing the alphabet doesn't mean he knows it. You should ask your son to say the alphabet to you w/o singing. We use block capital letters to teach the alphabet. In the phonological awareness part, the ability to rhyme and distinguish rhyming from non-rhyming words is important. Children should be able to do things like replace the sound "t" in tall with sound "b" and say ball. I'm guessing there is some place in KC you can get some help with all of this, but I don't know where. Reading Readiness is a curriculum based on AP that parents can take instruction in and then teach their children. It would enable you to teach your son the sounds and address the things I've mentioned above. I would call FUNdamental Learning Center in Wichita. They should be able to direct you somewhere that's closer to home to get help. That's where I got my training in AP and RR. 316-684-READ (7323)


answers from Kansas City on

I home schooled some of our kids and taught the last 3 to read. Not only did they learn to read but it was so fun and rewarding to see them suddenly start to read. We used material that taught phonics and it just went so smoothly from sounds like 'b' and 't' to 'th' and 'ch', etc. and they can read well after this. If you are interested in the material you could e-mail me but it is home school curriculum. You could buy the flash cards and first books and go from there. It takes going over the sounds like you did the alphabet to keep it in their memory but otherwise very easy.



answers from St. Louis on


It sounds like you have a lot of good suggestions. I wanted to add that I know children I would consider above average in intelligence who didn't catch on to reading until 2nd grade. This is still OK. Kids learn at different paces.

Wordless picture books are also literature. Your child can make up the words as he goes along and it is considered a literacy activity. He can also create his own books and read them to you. Have you tried labeling items around the house? Sometimes this helps with word identification. Literacy activities can also be writing in the sand or with clay if your child is a tactile learner. Playing word bingo or letter bingo can be fun. You can make up your own cards based on your child's skill level and have him try for a coverall. I have seen people do games with magnets, fishing poles, and letters and/or words. You can make letters and words out of food like pretzel or cookie dough and bake it.

The important thing is figuring out what motivates your child. You want to keep things interesting and build his confidence without frustrating him.

As many said learning the sounds of the alphabet is good. Our district uses a zoo phonics to teach this in Kindergarten. It is using animals and body motions to learn the alphabet and their sounds. This is good for those kids who learn by using their body. I didn't find a quick guide on the internet but here is a youtube video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy7EkOQhPQk

Have you spoken to any Title one Reading teachers or Reading Recovery teachers in your public school district? I know it is probably hard to catch them over the summer but they are also great resources.

If you are not feeling overly creative, this website has literacy materials http://www.abcstuff.com/ This looks interesting. http://www2.abcstuff.com/cgi/Web_store/web_store.cgi/cart.... It is a box with cards with many ideas of different literacy games to play.

Good luck,



answers from New York on

Talk to your child's teacher. There are a list of site words (the words you listed are on it) that include 100 words that kids should know. For us they wanted the kids to know by them by the holiday break in first grade.

For some kids teaching the word families really helps. For example: start with it, what happens when you add an "s".

Flash cards do work, but there are better ways.

Take out the old toddler board books. The ones that have a word and a picture or just one sentence per page. You can also try the "I Can Read" books. They have different levels so children can work their way up.

Also, just reading any book to your child helps them to learn to read. Also, I found that my daughter did not respond well to me "teaching" her to read. She did much better with someone else.

Good luck.



answers from Columbia on

Hi E.,
You’ve had some great ideas on reading so far but I’d like to go a bit further. Many children do learn using a traditional approach to reading but others don’t have the same kind of success with a phonics approach.

Children who are more visual, hands-on learners need strategies that work more appropriately with their learning style. These are smart kids who happen to have brains that work very quickly so methods that allow them to learn in the same way are most successful for them.

You can check out my website at www.onpointlearning.org for more information, if you’d like.

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