D. has been quite interested in reading and writing lately, which I am thrilled about! He is sounding out every word he sees and is excited to decipher text he finds around him throughout his day. When a child shows the interest, it is time to jump! I assure you there will be many, many mistakes, on the part of the child, and the parent during this learning phase. The child should really feel comfortable to make mistakes, and to learn through trial and error. English is very difficult! Imagine how hard it must be for a child who learns that a letter makes a certain sound only to find out, well... it does... only if it doesn't fall after this letter, or at the end of a word, or by a vowel... there are so many "buts" and "ifs" that it is overwhelming to teach, much less to learn! When learning to sound out words and taking those first steps into reading, tread lightly, and allow the child to set the tone. It is best to use positive reinforcement, and to really clue into the child's signs of frustration. If the child becomes the slightest bit frustrated, its time to go do something else.
I decided to try to do something fun to support his interest with his very favorite subject... Cars, the movie. I wanted him to be in charge of this pajama project, and rather than assign popper words, or site words, or a specific blend, I just let him work on words he is interested in, and wants to write, even if they are not quite "on level". No pressure here to learn, just to have fun!
We began by printing out pictures we found on google images... for D. it was cars, but it could be all the princesses for a girl, or whatever the child is "into".
Then we cut them out, and before moving into flash card mode, we played with the cars a bit, sorting them first by color, then by type, (fast, small, 4x4s...). D. loved this!
this is him examining all the cars
fitting into categories
Then, we glued each to a card. He picked what color cards he wanted them mounted on, and it was always funny to hear his reasoning for picking a color. "Oh, Francesco should be on black, because he is fast as the fastest tires, and tires are black, so he should be on black, mommy. "
He is actually playing with these cards, and is really making the associations between the words and the cars that he knows and loves. It was easy to just mention the blends we encountered along the way, without drilling the concepts. There is plenty of time for subtle exposure, which will solidify these skills over time. So... when your child shows the interest in reading... JUMP, but not too high, and don't run too fast! If you do, someone could get hurt! :)