I am watching my 5-year-old learn to read. It is a beautiful, simple process. I have not “taught” her, she has not had formal lessons, no forced X amount of minutes she has to spend practicing daily. I read to her. Lots of books. Books she picks out; books I think she will like. I read in front of her. I read aloud things as I am typing them for her. I spell words out at her request.
The thing that has helped her the most is computer games. She likes to search for games herself on the app stores. For a long time, she would ask me how to spell something (like cat or baby). Then she would remember those words. She then began to like playing some games that had words to read as a part of the game. She could figure the game out without reading, but eventually she wanted to know what it said. I would always help read it, but sometimes I was helping my other kids, or she just didn’t want to get up. So she has started sounding it out.
I didn’t even know how far she was along in this journey. Today she called me into her room to ask for some help reading a word on her dragon game. She pointed out all the words she had already read. “Mom this says green fairy, and that says boss, and this says rock, but I can’t figure out this word after rock”. So I asked “what did you think it was when you tried to read it?” She sounded out the word and I repeated what she sounded out and she put it together. “Dragon! Oh okay! Rock Dragon!”
I don’t know who is more proud.