My little Busy Bee is three and a half so I’m not really worried about reading just yet, but I want him to be paying attention to language. When he turned three we had his speech evaluated and learned that his brain processed whole words not individual sounds, he didn’t even hear the individual sounds. Basically, “cat,” “act,” and “tac” all sounded the same to him. One of the things that really helped his speech, in addition to a wonderful Speech Therapist, was learning the sounds the letters made. When he first heard the individual sounds his eyes lit up. It was like all of language suddenly made sense. He just sat there with eyes wide for about 10 seconds while he processed it all.
I have looked into a lot of methods and have decided I want to at least start with a phonics approach to reinforce his speech progress in addition to the other typical benefits often mentioned when discussing phonics. In a while I am considering using Phonics Pathways with him, but don’t think he’s developmentally ready for a sit-down-and-learn-to-read program just yet, so I’m holding off on that for the time being.
In the meantime, here are a few online games and programs that will get him thinking about the sounds and tying them to the letter forms.
He really loves ABC Mouse. They have a huge variety of games and activities that span a wide range of skills and ability levels. Playing for a little bit every couple days taught him all his letters in a few months, before he turned 3! There are parental controls to set what type of content you want your child to do as well as the difficulty of the activities.
Reading Eggs is an online program that teaches phonics through games. You buy a subscription and can play the games while your subscription is active. When subscribing you also get a discount on their e-books that coordinate with the games.
Teach Your Monster to Read
Teach Your Monster to Read is free! It’s also in British English, which makes the pronunciation a bit sub-optimal for us. But it seems like a good program & Busy Bee really likes the games.
Progressive Phonics is another free program! It is a series of books you download and can print that you and your child read together. You read the words they haven’t learned how to sound out yet and they read the (larger printed) words they can. I like that this program uses fun stories with real things going on. I love the idea of phonics readers, but really, a story using only a few words can only be so thrilling. This program is fun because they are real stories and you do it together.
Have you had either good or bad experiences with any of these programs? What are your favorite reading and reading readiness games or programs?