Reading is the gateway to independent learning.
“Mom, what does that sign say?” will become “Mom, that sign says ‘Stop!'” when the boys learn to read.
“Mom, what do roly poly bugs eat?” will become “Mom, I just read what roly poly bugs eat!” when the boys learn to read.
Reading is also a challenging skill to teach. There are so many rules, and teaching the logic behind all these rules to a 6-year-old can be frustrating and tear jerking.
Enter sight words.
Joe gets frustrated when he doesn’t get something right the first time he tries.
When he gets frustrated, he gets angry.
When he gets angry, I get frustrated.
And when we are both angry and frustrated, there are tears…on both sides.
So, in an effort to keep learning as frustration-free as possible, we constantly try learning in different ways.
Joe loves Legos, so I grabbed a bunch of blocks, a fine point Sharpie and a list of Kindergarten sight words.
I wrote sight words on both sides of the blocks and called Joe over to play a word tower game.
I asked him to pick up a block and read the word. If he got it right, it went on the tower.If he got it wrong, it went back in the bag to be tried again later.
He loved it! He was having a blast building the tallest tower…and then it fell over and crashed.
All. Over. The floor.
His lip trembled and his eyes filled with tears.
And then, suddenly, he smiled.
“I’ll build a town instead!”
He picked up the blocks and started building houses.
We went through over 150 words, most of which he was able to read after one or two tries.
He was excited…and what’s more, he was engaged.
He’d found a whole new way to play the game, and not a single tear fell.