There is no lack of books, blogs, articles, magazines, and curricula that promises a mother success in teaching her child to read. I do not claim to present to you here today any brand new original idea but rather want to share with you a compilation of ideas and practices that I combined together from many great minds. And I want to show you how they have been working themselves out in our homeschool in a beautiful way. After going “whole hog” in this Charlotte Mason education, I knew that I wanted to teach my second daughter reading lessons in the Charlotte Mason way. I scoured every resource I could find that said it promoted Charlotte Mason’s way of teaching reading. There were many resources that I read, bought, and listened to before coming up with this user friendly all-in-one procedure list that I’m now using in our reading lessons. I read pages 199-222 from CM’s Volume One that speak about reading, listened to the reading episode (probably four times haha) from A Delectable Education, read all of the reading posts from the blog of Joyful Shepherdess, and bought Amy Tuttle’s Discover Reading book. But for my simple mind, I still needed it distilled a bit more. So I took aaaaaaaaall of that info and chicken scratched all of my musings into my $0.50 spiral bound Commonplace book as a reading “procedure”…an easy-to-read, steps-to-check off teacher plan for Sight lessons and for Sound lessons. Think of it as my written narration of all those resources I poured over again and again.
*Note–my “procedure” doesn’t include anything for pre-reading because my daughter was already able to recognize letters and string 2-3 sounds together.*
The following picture is what I refer to when we are having a Sight lesson. The “loose cards” that are mentioned in the procedure are simple cards I made on the computer of words from whatever couple of lines we are studying from our story. I printed about 3-5 cards per word so that she would have lots of practice when going on a word search through the loose cards. Sight lessons are just that…learning by sight. It was very exciting for this just-turned-six year old to learn in this way and then recognize the words when reading from her story. Here is a picture of my procedure list for Sight lessons.
Sound lessons are essentially “phonics” lessons. We use the list on the left margin of my notes to build words and practice them. Typically we do just one or two blends per lesson. She especially likes using her magnetic alphabet for that part of the lesson. Here is a picture of my procedure list for Sound lessons.
During our lessons, we do lots of word building. For this part of the lesson we use a
magnetic alphabet that has multiples of each letter. I tried to find a wooden magnetic set but was not able to find one identical to my plastic set…my OCD tendencies really appreciated one color for vowels and another color for consonants instead of a thousand colored letters ha! But truly any type of moveable alphabet would work. Thrift stores, Wal-Mart, and Dollar Tree are other places that you can often find them!
*Someone made me aware that the letter set I ordered is no longer available. Here is another set that appears to be similar.
I remember reading that at some point, the child would ask to write their new words on their own instead of mom being the scribe. I was quite surprised when she asked to do this so soon, but I let her and offered to take over writing should her hand tire. She is quite the artsy gal as you can see from the following picture. For her it is just not good enough to leave the letters alone…they must have a heart or a swirl or a colored in vowel haha!
And here is a short video of her reading the first two pages of The Little Red Hen in the Treadwell Primer which is what ADE recommended in their podcast episode as their favorite for beginning reader. This video was made on the day of her 6th lesson and we even had Christmas break in between! She had 3 Sight lessons and 3 Sound lessons and was off like a rocket! *And after I watched the video, I caught myself being too quick to jump the gun on correcting her on the word will * Back off, momma. Back off! Let the child own it…I could hear a little CM fairy whispering in my ear. Haha!
Now I’m NOT posting this to give you a gauge by which to measure your child’s progress, so please do not do that! I would never want anyone to feel inadequate or to feel discouraged in the progress being made in their home, but I’m posting it so that you can see what Charlotte Mason reading lessons look like. One day soon I’m hoping to make a video of the actual Sight lesson and Sound lesson themselves.
It has been a pure joy to have Charlotte Mason reading lessons with my sweet girl. Of course, I wish I had this with my first daughter, but I can’t go back in time, and I will not mullygrub over what was or what was not! I have to remind myself to be thankful that I have the Charlotte Mason philosophy now to guide me and move on without looking back with regret. Oh and one other thing I forgot to mention is that I really appreciate how the Charlotte Mason way of reading can be very inexpensive. Typical to CM fashion, she encourages a mother to use what is in her home. You could do these lessons with any living book in your home. You could do these lessons with any beautiful poem your child loves. There’s no need for an expensive reading curriculum! You just need beautiful literature, 10 minutes every day, an easy plan like this one and an empty lap for your precious little one.
Have any of you taught reading the CM way? If you haven’t, what is holding you back? Leave a comment below to tell me. I would love to hear your thoughts! And thanks again for stopping by!