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Wow! My last post was about my Accidental Birth that went way back last year in June. It is going to be almost a year since the last update. How time flies! My only hope is I’ve done something productive and beneficial in the eyes of God, insyaAllah.

Anyway, this post is solely intended for sharing. All good things comes from Allah and the bad comes from myself.

We have been quite lax with our firstborn since Ali came along and our deepest desire right now is for Umar to read as soon as possible. Why do we want him to read at such a young age? We think age is not a concern. Both of us just strongly believe that with reading, he will enter a whole new world of endless possibilities. Just recently, Umar has shown interest reading on his own without any prompting from us. He attempted to read words he saw on a decal in a taxi and I thought to myself that we must have done something right. So I just would like to share some of my thoughts and the activities that we did with him to start him reading.

A little background about our darling Umar is that “learning corners” does not work for him. His learning has to spontaneous, anywhere and everywhere. I have scraped learning corners. (Also because I’ve turned into a lazy mom haha…) In this post, I am also sharing templates which I printed for him. You may download them for your own use. 🙂

1) Reading

We started reading to him even before he was born. We don’t have any specific genres for him. One thing for sure, we did not get him any alphabet books. We read to him long stories, short stories, magazines, newspapers, menu, signboards etc. I would think he enjoys reading because he would gladly forgo his screen time the moment he sees me at the other side of the living room starting to read to his brother.

2) Sight words

We have almost every object in our house labelled because I want him to have print awareness. It is with these sight words that I got him to recognize the first letter of the word. When reading to him the word, I would emphasize the first letter by saying  “p-p-p-pictures” instead of just “pictures” . The arabic sight words also helps me to learn and relearn.

3) Pick words from his favourite book

We picked books that he likes and from the book, we chose some high frequency words, printed those words and pasted them on our wall. With the words on the wall, we will play games for him to recognise the words. We will use phonics to read out most words. Why most and not all?

Because words like “shoes” cannot be read with phonics.

How long should the words be on the wall?

We have no clue. Sometimes it’s there for MONTHS. Hahaha. Depends how motivated you are I suppose. :p

Top picture: That set of words has been there for almost a month. If you noticed, there are some stickers on it. We played games with the words as well by asking Umar to paste the sticker to the correct word. 

Bottom picture: I figured in order to save paper, we laminated 10 A4 size papers so we can recycle the set of papers after we are done with the set without printing. P.s. noticed he has his share of scribbling too. 😉

4) Pick 2 or 3 most used words in a story book to do phonics while reading

 One of his favourite book is Hat by Paul Hoppe. In this book, the word “hat” is most frequently used in the story. So every time I come across the word hat, I will slow down and say “H-a-t. H-a-t. H-at. Hat!”

Of course, there are days when he dislikes me slowing down. I will, then, scrap the phonics part and just read to him. Afterall, getting him interested in reading with me is more important than him knowing how to read at this moment. 🙂

5) Wheel of Words

We have this wheel pasted on our door. It’s his go-to station as spinning the wheel seems to be so fun to do. Best of all this wheel can be edited.

Download the wheel template here.

  1. Print the wheel on A3 size paper (the bigger the better.)

  2. Cut a long strip of paper around 9cm in width (long enough to clip to the center of the wheel)

  3. Laminate the wheel and the strip of paper so you can reuse it.

  4. Using a penknife, cut a hole in the middle of the wheel as well as the strip of paper.

  5. Fasten the wheel and the trip of paper with a paper fastener.

  6. Use glue dots on the strip of paper to paste on the wall of your choice! 🙂

Initially I had written “op” on the blue piece of paper. Umar used a tissue to wipe it off and wrote that. I have not started him with any form of writing. So initially I figured he was just scribbling “op” again. When I went “m-o-p” he said “No, Ummi! it’s ‘m-o-s’.”

Yes, it DOES look like “os” definitely. I was clearly underestimating my own child. :/

6) Flip-the-Flap Word Book

A very simple book that allows you to an array of words without it being too intimidating for our little people. Its small and we bring it anywhere and everywhere.

Download the flip-the-flap template here.

Download the cover page template here.

We really had fun together creating this book. We even agreed to name it “Fun with Words”.

I used strings to bind the book together. I tried those ring binders. it doesn’t flip really well as much as string does because string makes it taut tightly together. 

Top pic: This is how it looks like with each alphabet having a hole in the top-center. I purposely had the vowels in different color as I wanted to introduce the difference between vowels and consonants.

Bottom pic: Another cover page just for the fun of it. 😛

7) His Involvement

I find that by having Umar involved and asking him how certain things should be makes him interested in the subject. Whatever I do, for example, choosing words from books, words for the Wheel of Words or Flip-the-flap book, I got him involved.

I let him pick words that he would like to see in print. At the same time, since young people are really impressionable 😉 , I will suggest words to him.

For the Wheels of Words, I let him choose some letters he would like to see on the wheel.

For Flip the Flap book, we actually sat down together and chose a cover page picture together. (No prizes for guessing he chose a picture of the Avengers)

How he is involved does not matter. His involvement could be as small as having him pass the paper to me before printing and allowing him to watch me painstakingly laminate and cut them. Sometimes, I will print an extra piece so he can cut and laminate as well.

8) Cooking and Baking

He likes to be involved in ANYTHING I do. I thank God that I’m not much of an extraordinaire baker or cook. I always refer to recipes – books or online. For baking especially, I let him “read” the recipe book as well as labels on the measuring spoons with me as we go through it. Words as simple as “cup” or “teaspoons.”

9) Relevance

His current dig is Avengers. If you ask him “What is your name?” chances are he will answer you “Iron Man” or “Tony Stark”. LOL

As Iron Man analyses his enemy by quickly reading information from his high-tech mask, I took the opportunity to stress to him the importance of reading if he wants to be Iron Man.

Another is sports. He loves sports. Every team wear jerseys with names printed behind. When he watches a game of soccer or basketball, I will ask him how to tell which person is your friend if everybody wears the same jersey. So i told him the purpose of the name at the back of the jersey is for him to recognise his friend. (Ok, don’t slam me for giving incorrect info to my kid. LOL!!! My main intention is for him to see the relevance of reading.) So for him to do that he must know how to read.

We tend to take the same route almost everyday to my mom’s place or to his school. So we will see the same signboards almost everyday too. As we drive, we will point out words and tell him why we need to read the signboards.

10) Recognise, Acknowledge, Reward … and continue to Dua

Initially, when I hear the word “incentives” it immediately screams “toys, spent more money”. However, later, I realized, it isn’t. It can be as simple as a book which you made with him and keep a constant record of the words he can read. Acknowledging it by directing his attention to the book and how much effort he has made till this day. Reading three-letter words might be easy to us but tough work for little people like them. Of course, reward them with lots of kisses and snuggles (and maybe sometimes, an episode of Avengers or two). 😉

Download template for the recording book here. 🙂

Here is the list of instructions how to print the template into a book format on MAC. 🙂

It is not a dictionary. It is a vocabulary book than anything else.  But you get the gist! 😉

I didn’t want to let him scribble in the book but I suppose he was too excited having an “Avengers Dictionary”. After all, it is better that he takes pride in the book and takes ownership of his learning.

Of course, not forgetting continuous Dua to set the intentions right.

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