Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In which my 4 year old earns Doritos. . .

Yep, I definitely compromise sometimes. And the occasional junk food reward for the kiddos for extra-notable achievements is one of them. This week is one of those times.

I started Hans on the Hooked on Phonics program in early October (easy to date, as we started the same day I had my first prenatal appointment for this pregnancy, but I digress with random memories. . . ) after he was showing readiness to sound out basic words like "cat" and "dog," and after he looked super-excited about the idea. Well of course enthusiasm goes through some ebbs and flows, but there was enough flow in enthusiasm the past 4 months that he finished the Kindergarten phonics set. . . and the 1st grade set. . . and the 2nd grade set. Yowzer! That means we're done with phonics as of today, and I have a reader! How did that happen???

A very proud little boy is going to be heading to the store up the street with Daddy in the next day or two, to pick out a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. He's been looking forward to those :-). He also got the same reward after finishing the K and 1st phonics sets. After he finished the Kindergarten box he proudly told me "Now I'm done with kindergarten"! Um, not really, Bub ;-). He also asked me a few months ago, "Mommy, when I finish phonics, will I be done with school?" Nope, plenty more to learn ;-). Ha!

I still stand by my "early reading is optional and young kids need activity and imaginative play more than formal instruction," but when your kid keeps asking for more phonics. . . it's a good idea to take the idea and run with it. One of the reasons I was interested in at least trying reading this year (besides that he seemed interested) was I was hoping it would make our Sunday worship services more meaningful to Hans, and easier to follow. The last month or so, as he's realized just how many of the bulletin words he can read (of course, he can't read all of them!), has supported that notion, and he is loving being able to read most of each hymn we sing. And he was pretty tickled to recognize the Lord's Prayer in the bulletin too, and read it in a whisper to himself with a grin. Too fun.


Stephanie said...

cool! What do the sets look like? I mean, what are they comprised of?

Susan said...

I was really impressed with the program. Each set (K, 1st, 2nd) is a box - approximately 10"x13", maybe, slightly larger than a regular sheet of paper? In each box is a progress wall chart with a path the kid puts stickers on, one box for each story and/or reader book. Then there is a workbook (one for kindergarten, two for 1st, and two more for 2nd) that is read-only, no need to write in it, so it can be re-used. The child goes through each workbook, and they are taught progressively-harder sounds and combinations, with a page to practice words for each sound (or a page for 2 sounds, depending). Then every few sounds there is a short story in the workbook, and every few stories in the workbook, there is a separate separately-bound "HOP book" that the child reads, that is a short story (starts with only 8 pages, graduates to 24 pages by end of 2nd grade) using words from sounds learned/practiced. I think there were a total of about 28-30 HOP books between all three grade sets. There are also audio CDs that you can play along with the lessons, but Hans becomes a zombie with electronic stimulation, so I save electronics mainly for occasional entertainment, not phonics :-). (Well, we have done some Starfall, but that wasn't his main phonics.) They also teach the child progressively harder "helper words," commonly used words, most of which do not phonetically-sound well. They start with simple ones like "to", "the", "and", and work up to harder sight words.

I managed to score the set new during a closeout sale, when they were updating their curriculum and clearance-ing the old. The new set retails for over $100 for all three sets together, and I got my set for under $40, including shipping.

I can bring it to Hannah's wedding if you want to look at it. Do you have a phonics program for Madeleine?