The girls love books! They love to read, they love to be read to, they love to pretend they can read and make up stories for the pictures...
They are chapter books about a little girl in preschool who gets into allot of mischief. The girls would sit there reading and suddenly burst out laughing. I decided to see what was so funny, so I started reading them to the little girls. And those girls sat through the entire 2 hours, listening and laughing through these books!
Those who cannot yet read are well on their way. One of the girls (who is in third grade, and 9 years old, but still didn't even recognize the letters of the alphabet) just put all the letters of the alphabet in order with some cards at her counseling appointment! The tia is charge of the reading program was sooo excited to tell me that! She should be proud because she is the one who taught Mira the alphabet.
Playing Memory is a good game to help prepare to learn to read. You learn to recognize and memorize.
I was on Renee's blog again (http://bakersdozen.typepad.com) and came across another idea which I adapted with what I have. She has these Montessori sandpaper letter cards. Each letter of the alphabet was made from sand paper, and the idea was for the child to use his index and middle finger (the two fingers you use to hold a pencil) and trace the letter while saying the sound that letter makes ("Buh" for B). So smart!
Then I colored them in (in the same colors as the alphabet chart I made so they could see for example, the red Aa just like on the chart, or the blue Pp, etc.). I don't have sand paper here, but I did have some glitter glue I brought for card making. So I carefully put the glue on each of the letters, and let dry. Then I had the idea of writing the letter in the corner along with the lower case or upper case equal, to help them know it goes together. They turned out really cute:
I hope this helps put the letters and sounds in their memory! In my opinion, once they know the alphabet, teaching them to read is a piece of cake. It's trying to teach them the letters that is hard! In the schools they are taught by repetition. The teacher shouts "A!" and the kids repeat "A!". The teacher shouts "E!" and the kids repeat "E!". So they can say all the letters, but if you put the letters in front of them and ask them to find the letter "S" they look at you clueless. It's hard, but I know God is giving us ideas and we are already seeing them "getting it".