Dolch List to the Rescue!
Do you try to teach your child to read, but are met with resistance? Then I have good news for you: Peer pressure is on its way. While we usually view peer pressure as a negative force that lures children into unwarranted behaviors, there is an upside. Let me explain.
When my son fought my attempts to teach him to read the Dolch List (sight words) and phonetic words, I spoke to his preschool teacher. She told me “he just wasn’t ready, not to worry.” So I eased up and focused on individual letter sounds and spelling his name.
When he started kindergarten, he only knew a few words he’d picked up from educational programming—right in line with most of the children entering his class. Well, except for those seven children who walked in the door reading at a first grade level. Wow, right?
Nothing like a little peer pressure to do the trick. Oh, and a set of “rainbow words” packed with Dolch list and phonetic words that his teacher slowly introduced. The goal is to go through all of the colors of the rainbow until you reach the pot of gold.
As a volunteer for my son’s class, I was fortunate to receive a most rewarding assignment: Teaching children to read. Well, actually I began by testing children on the Dolch List and phonetic words. All of the children started off “in the clouds,” then made their way through each color of the rainbow as they mastered each set of words. My son soon became aware of where his name lay on that big rainbow board compared to his classmates.
Each night, he studied hard. I remember how challenging those words from the Dolch List were because they cannot always be sounded out like phonetic words. He would get stuck on words such as “with” and “where” until he memorized them. Yet, he persevered and within a matter of weeks, he was in the pot of gold. Granted, he embodies a competitive spirit that pushed him through that rainbow.
Other children, sadly, remained in the clouds. So instead of testing them, I taught them. We played games like bingo. I’d have children place a marker on the words as I called them out until they had every “red” (or orange, yellow, green, etc.) word covered. I also did a memory game using two sets of “red” words and challenged children to flip matching cards until they had all the words matched. Slowly, these children inched their way through the rainbow.
Looking back, I believe that a bright rainbow board on my son’s bedroom wall would have provided the incentive he needed to facilitate early reading. It’s easy enough to make from construction paper. Then, make flash cards in each color of the rainbow using the Dolch List and phonetic words listed below. Happy Reading!
Pot of Gold! Offer a special outing or treat when your child reaches the pot of gold.