My 4-year-old son has been working hard on his early reading skills and things have started to click. As a baby/toddler he didn’t like to be read to and wouldn’t sit long enough to get through one page of a book. He was completely opposite of my daughter who would sit through book after book as a 1-year-old. I had to teach him slightly differently than my daughter, but the foundation was the same. Now that reading is starting to make sense, he is finally interested in hearing complete books. In this post, I’d like to share how I taught my kids their phonics sounds and how I introduced them to reading. This particular Creative Escape was a learning adventure, but my son and I had a relaxing and fun time together.
Simple Tips for Early Reading
I have always thought, if children can learn what animals say at an early age, they can also learn what their letters say.
I decided to introduce my children to their phonics sounds as little babies. I did it in a casual way and always followed their lead.
The most important thing was to listen to how my children were responding. You can’t force early reading! If they aren’t ready, take time off and try again in a few months.
My Son’s Way of Learning to Read
Since my son wasn’t interested in being read to, I had to find a different way to continue teaching him. One activity that we like to do together is reading signs. I point out signs when we are out on walks. When we are out shopping, I point out different signs and words. When we are at the doctor, I show him words on the posters. There are signs everywhere!
Our Sign Reading Creative Escape
My son and I were needing to do something different and fun. Before I went to bed one night, I thought of a way that could help celebrate his new interest in reading. I decided to take him on a “Sign Reading Adventure” while my daughter was still at school. I took him to the HyVee Grocery Store and he was very excited. I thought it would be helpful to see the words on the signs and also see the real items on the shelf. We spent most of our time in the fresh produce section. He walked around pointing to ALL of the signs he could find and he read them aloud. I would say, “What does this say?” Sometimes I would have to ask him what the first letter said, which then prompted him to figure out the rest of the word. We had a great time and even had some of the HyVee workers and customers briefly join in on the fun.
We read cereal boxes, baby items, snack foods, and the fruit and veggie signs.
Sign reading made my little guy hungry so we picked up our afternoon snack right there at HyVee. We didn’t buy any other necessary items. This might seem like a total waste of time to have to go back another day, but that wasn’t the reason why we were at the store. It was our Creative Escape time!
Guess what I was thinking about during our Creative Escape adventure? I was ONLY thinking about what section I wanted to bring him to next in the grocery store and finding good signs to read. I wasn’t thinking about ANYTHING else and it felt really good to put all my other stressors aside for a moment. I felt like we were the only people in the store. I was completely focused on him and I think he felt the close bond as well. It felt really good to be connected in a creative, educational, and fun way.
On the way home, my son was trying to read the signs on the restaurants and stores too. I asked my son if he liked our reading adventure. He said, “I LOVED IT!”
When we have a million things to do, taking an hour to regroup and doing something in a completely different and creative way can give you joyful feelings and the energy to tackle your next task!
Below is your Creative Escape Card to share! I bet there is someone out there that would love to go on a Creative Escape adventure with you! All you have to do is text them this card and say, "I could totally use a Creative Escape." What are you doing in the next few weeks?
This photo was taken in my kitchen! I filled a water balloon with water and blue food coloring. I tied a black string to the top and had my husband hold the string and pop the water balloon with a needle that was attached to a long black stick! It took many tries to capture the water balloon popping and I had a bit of a water mess to clean up. It was worth it!