Grab some coffee or tea.... this is one of my longer style posts.... (looking forward to many hints and tips from others)
When your child hits a wall, take some time to slow down and adjust on the spot. Every curriculum out there has these points in their journey.
I’m all philosophical this morning….
Remember in the MFW K program when we all were frustrated that the first letter taught was the letter “S”? Remember how hard that letter was to write for your students? You may have thought --- I’m switching to Handwriting without Tears because you know what --- we have tears using MFW. But, then you realized, that although the letter S is the easiest to say for phonics it is the hardest letter to form in penmanship. But with MFW K you are going to get a lot (and I mean a lot) of practice writing that letter S.
We didn’t stop learning new letters while learning the letter S. We kept going on and practicing it.
Same thing applies with learning phonics in the first grade. We don’t always come to a grinding halt when it is hard. As teachers we help our students with the hard parts while they are learning it. And we practice it over and over. Some days we practice the same lesson 2-4 times in a day. And we add in lots of games on the way. (the MFW 1st TM has easy to do games in the back of the manual). Some of us – look to adding in something from starfall.dot
It is ok to move along for a while in first grade. Sometimes we need to stop altogether and put it aside for a few weeks and take a break. That’s a subjective call on the teacher’s part and is based on too many individual factors to generalize. It’s also ok to introduce a few new things while waiting for that hard part to settle in.
From watching my own children struggle with learning how to talk (my learning delayed children), I have seen how the professional speech therapist and occupational therapist will do this same kind of thing. Yes – there is a point where you have to master a skill before moving on to too many things. But there is a balancing point in it as well. We sometimes jump ahead of our girls’ developmental goals when we see a “splinter skill developing.” That simply means that they have a skill that is otherwise ahead of where the rest of their goals are. and then some times, their therapist just says "take next week off and let it sink it".
We use that skill that is ahead of the curve to help re-inforce and teach the lagging skill. I could give several examples, but this is getting long and I haven’t given any practical help….
Ok: How to help move from MFW K to 1st so that in the early parts of the year, you aren’t pulling your hair out too much.
Realize that there will be bumps in the road and that’s ok.
Between MFW K and MFW 1st, let your child continue to practice reading CVC words. Your library probably has some phonics readers. Or if you are like me, you have some sitting around the house from used curriculum sales.
My library has various CD rom games to use (reader rabbit, jumpstart, etc. etc.). check out StarFall dot com.
Some people say their children struggle with consonant blends and wonder why MFW doesn’t spend a lot of time on it. My girls did not struggle that way. I have wondered if perhaps they just caught on to consonant blends because the consonants do not change the same way that vowels do. Once they knew blending c-v-c, cc-v-c didn’t seem like a stretch. But, perhaps that is something to just be aware of .
Does PBS still show Between the Lions? Fun show for early phonics.
David Hazell listed some ideas on this board recently with teaching phonics. Keep in mind, Marie and David’s 3rd child was a late reader.
So what do I do if your child struggles?
Repeat the phonic portion of a lesson 2-4 times daily
Consider returning to the K curriculum for a better foundation.
Teach 3 times a week with a review day in between.
Have Dad entertain all the kids when he gets home so you can isolate the slow learner with a one-on-one uninterrupted time in the evening for a final review or possibly teaching phonics entirely at that time. (That is what we had to do with our 3rd child who seemed like he would never learn to read at age 7. He not only learned to read but is among our best with academic scholarships to a major university. He also doubled his curriculum in High School and had enough credits to graduate by age 16. He is dually enrolled in College and will enter next year with 28 or more college credits toward his major.)
You see sometimes it is patience not frustration that wins the battle.
Please exercise caution from easily being discouraged when a child is not succeeding. Don't give up but press on in a gentle way.