Just Phonics

Teaching Phonics & Phonics Learning
  • scissors
    January 14th, 2009MarkReading

    How about getting RC Helicopter or robot toy to reward your child reading efforts. For kids that find reading a difficult task a reward may do the trick. My daughter was not fond of reading but I knew I had to do something to make her read more until she was fluent reader. At the same time I did not want to develop negative associations with reading so I tried not to push her in to reading book.

    Here is what I did:

    1. Set specific bed time story time 30 min. every other day
    2. Borrowed audio books from library or rental stores and let her listen to them just before she goes to sleep on the nights when I am not reading to her.
    3. Bought or borrowed books that we already had in audio format and those that she liked the most. By the way Junnie B. was her 1st favorite book.
    4. Allowed to watch 30 min of TV only after reading 1 chapter which is about 6-10 pages.
    5. Gave her RC Helicopter for reading 150 pages. Actually this idea came from my child. When she saw our neighbor was flying a remote controlled helicopter she said to me she would do anything to get it. I told her I would get this helicopter if she read 150 pages. It worked out very well.

    You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get rewards for reading. I knew if I would go to a mall to get this RC helicopter I could easily spend over 100 dollars. But because reading takes time I used this time to research my options on Internet. You can get 3 RC Helicopters (Intelli Heli) for fewer than 80 dollars or one helicopter for 23 dollars.

    I got her this package of three Radio Controlled Helicopters (it was buy 2 get one free) and she had so much fun with her friends. Earn reward first and then share it with others what can be better?

    I was so thrilled to hear my daughter telling her friends that she was reading really thick books and she got this cool toy because of that and now she wanted them to come over and play together.

  • scissors
    December 16th, 2008MarkMemory & Attention Training

    We all want our kids learn quicker, pay more attention to the instruction and be more organized and less forgetful. What we have to do is to help kids to develop their learning skills and improve their short term memory. Have you ever caught yourself saying to your child:” How many times I told you…” or “It’s so easy to remember and you manage to repeat the same mistakes over and over again?.”  I don’t actually say those worlds to my child I just patiently repeat what I said before many times. But deep inside it makes me sad knowing that MY child does not “work like sponge”.  Every child leans at different rate.  However I find if reading, for example, becomes a struggle then child can lose interest in reading books.  And interest is what makes us do better and learn more.

    Playing specific games with your children can help to improve their short term memory. It will help them with reading and with learning in general, and also these are fun games.

    Game “Johnny Went to the Market”

    1. Here is a short poem you read to your child: Johnny went to the market. Johnny went to the store.
      But when poor Johnny got there, he forgot what he went there for.
      Momma gave him a list. Momma gave it to him twice.
      And what Momma wanted was a big bag of rice
    2. Then say, “Momma wanted a bag of rice and carrots.
    3. Now your child repeats your sentence and adds another item, “Momma wanted rice and carrots and candies.
    4. Then it’s your turn to repeat and one item to the list, “Momma wanted rice and carrots, candies and a bag of potatoes.
    5. You can make it more fun by adding items such as elephants, snakes or helicopters
    6. Use complex words to expand your child’s vocabulary.
    7. Take it to a new level and name items that starts with c like cat, carrots, cookies, crocodile and etc.

    Game of remembering 20 words through making up the story. This game is an excellent way to train your memory no matter if your kid or adult.

    Here is what you need to play

    1. Make a list of 20 different words.
    2. Set a timer for 2 min. to go through the words and have your child to make a story using these words in the story.
    3. Things to remember. The more creative you get with your story the better your chances of remembering more words. So use your imagination. Make it funny, make it crazy.
    4. Have you child to retell a story and you will count the words from the list. This is how much score you get.
    5. Analyze words your child forgot. Ask him/her to tell you parts of the story with words they forgot.
    6. Another way to play this game to exchange lists of words and then tell each other stories counting each other words.

    With time you will see you are able to remember more words faster then you can increase number or words.

    Music Training

    Another great way to improve your child or for that matter even any adult memory is playing musical instrument.  When you playing musical instrument your brain activates a numerous channels at the same time. This is what gives your brain tremendous practice on regular basis. This is an excellent way to stimulate and keep your brain young and active.

    The good news is you don’t have to be a musician, have inclination for music or have a “music absolute ear”. No you have to own an expensive musical instrument.  Fortunately there are other ways to enjoy playing music without getting into learning boring music theory. There is a computer program called Piano Wizard that makes learning music a child’s play.

    It has over 1000 songs that you can practice. All it comes to hiting the right note at the right time. Different levels of difficulty will  allow even 4 year old child play Beethoven making first few years of playing piano all but fun. In addition it builds a solid foundation for traditional music instruction when moving to the next level of difficulty.

    Piano Wizard is absolutely fun activity for the whole family since you can get to choose songs from virtually any artist.  It is great and inexpensive way to both enjoy playing music and give your brain good exercise. Just imaging how much you have to pay in tutors fee just realize that your child has lost interest in music. A lot of kids and adults have to be force to practice long hours to see at least some results.

    • For more information and to take a look at demo video for Piano Wizard to see it in action

    Visual art lessons

    Taking art lessons has proved to bring many benefits beyond just painting and drawing skills. Abilities that students pick up in art classes help them in many ways that are not always obvious. Young artist are trained to pay attention to details, to focus and be patient – the same skills that benefit all walks of life.

    Since getting fluent in reading may take a while – concentration and patience are great qualities to succeed.

    In addition some art schools offer specially developed program for young kids where art lessons are divided into several parts: painting, drawing, sculpture to keep kids motivated and focused.

  • scissors
    November 10th, 2008MarkReading

    Reading becomes frustration and struggle when child finds reading too difficult. When you suspect your child has a developmental delay there are different ways to re-discover reading and gain your child’s interest for reading.

    Here is what you can do

    Introduce your children to talking books; find their favorite titles for them to listen to while looking at the book. There are different places you can go to get books on tape. First you can try your local library just to see if your child likes it, then you can also visit a store that has audio books for rent or for sale, and finally you can get them from book store or order them online.

    My daughter’s obsession with audio books started with one Junnie B. Jones audio book that came for free with a kid’s meal from Wendy’s and now we own the full collection of CDs and books both in English and French. She liked it and I borrowed everything I could from the library. Too bad they did not have all of the Junnie B. audio books so I rented them from talking audio store.

    I bought an inexpensive MP3 player for my daughter and she can listen to her stories whenever she wants. But what excites me the most she ask me for more books all the time.

  • scissors
    November 5th, 2008MarkReading

    What can you do to help your child enjoy reading? Here is a few ideas that you can use to encourage your kids to read.
    1. Teach your child to read.
    2. Let your child see you read.
    3. Read aloud.
    4. Encourage your kids to read aloud to you and to each other.
    5. Ask your children to retell for you the stories they’ve read.
    6. Have pre-readers “tell the story” from pictures.
    7. Help your children evaluate stories.
    8. Connect stories to children’s lives.
    9. Encourage identification with characters.
    10. Make connections between books.
    11. Share with your family from your own reading.
    12. Recommend beloved books.
    13. Own books your child will want to read.
    14. Go to the library regularly.
    15. Take books with you when you travel.
    16. Suggest practical reasons for reading.
    17. Send kids to books for answers to their questions.
    18. Help your children find books that encourage them in their interests.
    19. Provide a home environment conducive to reading.
    20. Use TV wisely if you must use it at all.
    21. Increase your child’s real-life experiences.
    22. Work with your child’s teacher.
    23. Expect great things for and from your kids.
    24. Recognize differences among your children.
    25. Take delight in words and let that delight show.

    Try to reward your child with something he or she really wants. Read our recent post to get some ideas: RC Helicopter: Reading for Rewards