Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crazy English Language!

I am so proud!  Laurence's reading is really taking off.  He has always loved being read to, and there have been days when we've done it for hours on end.  Now he's able to read quite a bit on his own, and will read anything and everything he can  -- books, greeting cards, cereal boxes, street's amazing to see.  As his reading ability improves, I'm finding myself having to rack my brain for those long lost rules of reading.  He's caught on really well to the silent e making the vowel long, vowel blends, that tricky letter "r," some of the silent letters, and so on.  Others rules are a little tougher for him, such as "c" being hard at the beginning of a word but soft inside a word (unless followed by "k," of course!).  He often confused "c" and "s," and "b" and "d" -- common mistakes, I have to assume.  I have no idea if I'm teaching him the rules in the right order, or if there even is a right order.  I used to tutor a 50-year-old man when we lived in Illinois who was reading on a first grade level, but I remember very little about what to teach when.  My friend who's a kindergarten teacher encourages me and helps me work thru the snags, and also says I'm on the right track, so I'm grateful for that (thanks, Gina!).  

As much as I'm loving this, it's also reminding me how frustrating and complicated the English language is.  Once I work through a rule with Laurence, we almost inevitably stumble upon a word that just doesn't obey.  And he catches them...and challenges me!  The past few days we've been working on the "gh" sound ("ff") at the end of a word.  You know, "rough," "tough," "cough," (which doesn't rhyme, by the way).  Just this morning he was reading and came across "through."  He worked the complicated "thr" consonant blend just fine, and proceeded to follow our new rule, thus uttering "thruff."  See?  I rest my case.  I had to correct him and watch the pride on his face disappear, but encourage him all at the same time.  For once "just because" really did seem like the best answer to the question, "But why?"


  1. Thanks for the shout out! You ARE doing a great job of teaching him and the fact that he remembers all of these rules you are teaching him at this age is amazing!

  2. I know you're a good teacher, Jan. Thruff and thruff.

  3. Context clues baby. Teach him how to use context clues on top of what he's already doing and he's golden.