Saturday, January 31, 2009

Word Building: Lesson 1 (Part Two)

This post is intended to give an example, step-by-step, of an actual lesson with an actual child (mine!) using the Charlotte Mason method for teaching a child to read as detailed in Home Education. I hope to post a more concise version in Word format soon for others who may wish to try these CM reading lessons with their own children.

Punkin's first reading lesson was based on the "word making" lesson example on page 202 of Home Education. The lesson went fairly well, after a little practice; although, it did take longer than I had anticipated. Because of that, we didn't actually cover all of the material that Miss Mason recommends for the first lesson. Plus, I had put the list of words in a column instead of a row (as suggested), so I wanted to redo that step. Two days after that first word building lesson, we continued from where we had left off. It went well! :) Far smoother and quicker than the first day. Here's a recap (with Miss Mason's words in italic):

"Let the syllables all be actual words which he knows. Set the words in a row, and then let him read them off. Do this with the short vowel sounds in combination with each of the consonants, and the child will learn to read off dozens of words of three letters..."

Firstly, we did a brief review of the previous lesson. I placed the "at" card in the center of the book/table and gave Punkin a chance to tell me each new word as I placed different consonants in front of the "at". She did this really well, often not even pausing to sound anything out - she just pronounced the word. Great fun :) Then, fairly quickly, I had her make a few words at my dictation - "Put a letter in front of 'at' to make the word 'pat'", and so on. After this review, I brought out the newly typed and printed page with rows (not columns) of these words for Punkin to read off to me.

With the larger print, she read the words quickly. A few times she "read" the word incorrectly, but then corrected herself. I had wondered if perhaps part of the problem with the previous day's reading at sight lesson had been related to the size of the font. Was it the little font size that was goofing her up? Just for kicks, I printed a line of 'at' words in a smaller font size further down on the page, and then a line of much smaller font toward the bottom. (Note: the graduated font sizes are not mentioned in Home Education. I added the smaller fonts because I sensed that Punkin would benefit from exposure to them).

She had more difficulty with the smaller words, but after getting used to them, she read them fairly well. I pointed to each word in several different orders - left to right across the row, right to left, at random, but I made certain that Punkin understood that actual reading was always done from left to right, and we talked about that a little. After Punkin had read the entire page with only a few mistakes, I noticed that our lesson had gone over ten minutes again. I hugged her, told her that she did a lovely job reading, and we put things away for the day.

The word building lessons are going rather well, I would say. She's certainly jumping into three letter words far more quickly than her sisters had done with Phonics Pathways. The reading at sight lessons? Well, that's a different story. Although, I did have a big epiphany at the beginning of our second sight reading lesson that I think made a big difference :) More on that in my next post!

Thanks for reading!