I Write; Therefore I Read!
© Beverley Paine, 2004
From a 'language experience' point of view, reading is considered to be a 'conversation' with an author and writing is a recording of oral language. Learning to speak, listen, write and read are integrated aspects of language development. One way to encourage reading and writing is to help your children record stories about themselves. If your child is very young you can scribe as she dictates. I used to encourage my children to draw a picture, either in their "I can" book, or daily diary, or of a special or recent event, and then I'd scribe the 'story' below the drawing or painting. Sometimes I'd need another piece of paper! I wrote the words exactly as they said them, usually in lead pencil. Even non-readers seem able to spot a different word if you automatically correct their diction! Read back what you have written and make corrections, guided by their judgement.
It's important to keep the story in your children's words so that they have ownership and can recognise their story as they learn to read. As you write, tell them what you are doing. Explain that spoken words can be translated into letters of the alphabet. Sound out some of the words if they seem interested, especially beginning and ending sounds.
Choose simple topics to start with, such as "what is the scariest thing that ever happened to you", or "who is your best friend, and why". My children loved recalling episodes from their lives and embellishing them with fantastic details. Stories about pets and friends featured largely and make a wonderful record for when they become adults and parents themselves.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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