I rarely write about the formal bookwork we do here at home. While I'm not worried about how well my children read, our adventure into reading is important to me. My son is a very strong reader, and he doesn't need to be motivated to read on his own. I often find him reading in the morning, before he's even saddled up to the table for breakfast.
Jaelyn is just learning how to read. She has a pretty firm foundation under her. Our first small steps on the road to reading included saying letters by their sound and not their name. We also had an alphabet placemat that listed the letters and pictures for each letter. Any time that Jaelyn showed interest in writing, like creating birthday cards, she would bring out her placemat and we would help her write the words. If she was writing "love", we would say the letter sound ("lllll"), then refer to the picture on the placemat ("like 'leaf'").
Somehow, we took a jump from these first steps to her trying to read on her own. We've used several sets of books so that Jaelyn has some choice in the books at her reading level. We started out with Bob Books, which are short, fun books. For the beginning reader, there are very few words on a page, the words are easy to sound out, and they give that thrill of success because the whole book can often be read with little stress. We also used Dick and Jane books, because we liked the repetition - once she sounded out a word, she could read it several more times in the same story. Lastly, we've been using Primary Phonics books and the accompanying workbooks. The workbooks introduce the new sounds and the books bring it all together.
Lately, I've been noticing that Jaelyn is mixing up her "b's" and "d's". I'm not pushing the panic button, but I wanted to find a way to reinforce what each letter looks like. So today, when she mixed them up, we talked about it. I wrote "Dad", and I told her that the bumps on the letters face one another because dads and their children look at one another when they talk to each other. Then I drew faces on the "d's" to show them looking at one another. Jaelyn surprised me by sharing a rule that she learned in kindergarten. First, she drew a big "B", then she drew a smaller "b" inside, and said that the small "b" was a baby inside the big "B". So, now she has a couple of tricks to keep in mind when reading and writing.
Going forward, I'm going to look into a few Waldorf books to see if there are any stories and pictures I can share with her to help her integrate everything together.