Friday, 26 July 2013

Word Recognition

Whoo-hoo! The girl is on the road to reading! Whoopee!
She's late as compared to Sonshine but okay, better than never.
Babydoll learns better with hands on activity, she is not particularly good at just looking at flashcards. Sonshine could learn both ways which made my life really easy & that also meant he learnt alot of words in a short time. No repetition is needed for Sonshine- just showing him the words once or twice and they stick in his head for good. Whereas for Doll, she takes a longer time and she needs repetition.
Now a word  about toddlers being able to read. I know there are experts who say that it is impossible for toddlers to learn to read and even if they can it is just memorising & they may end up being poor readers (especially if they learn by sight and not phonetically).
I don't know about that neither am I going to debate with the experts. Who am I to? I am only a MOM. But I reckon that if the toddlers can 'memorise' pictures say of an apple, plane or shoes and identify these pictures, I don't see why they cannot do the same with words. I mean, people accept it when the toddler can yelp 'bear!' on seeing a picture of a bear. But they cannot accept it when the toddlers do the same for words. I know English words are phonetic and not pictorial like Mandarin but still, it is an image, it is a form of symbol, a picture. So I don't understand what is so abnormal about a toddler reading.
And for the 'dire consquences' of reading by sight, well, I don't know either. But Sonshine learn by sight-mostly (and so did I), and he is far from being a poor reader. However, i would admit he doesn't spell very well on his own. So, I would buy the pro-phonics argument when it comes to spelling but not reading.
Anyhow, i wrote too much. I started this post to share the activity i used to help Doll read.
I discovered she learns faster and better through matching games. So, I set this activity up for her. (Before I go on, do note that the child should be able to identify the colors before working on this word recognition activity.) For a LONG time, she didn't and couldn't read the two words. But, recently, she could recognise the two words. It was an overnight phenomenon!
I wanted the words to edge deep into her mind and kept going through these words over and over and over and over again until I was sure that she can read. When i say 'sure', I mean she can instantly read out the words to me even when she sees the word on different mediums, be it one cards, books or my own writing.

Once I was certain, I then moved on with a new word. Again, using the same activity.
I let her match the red and yellow first ('cause she knows them) and the new word 'blue' the last- so there is no way she can get it wrong. With one lesson, she instantly recognised 'blue'.

And I repeat the same with the remaining words.
The other day, we had an impromptu play using Duplo blocks. I wrote the color words on a board, she read on her own, pick up that particular colored block and aim before throwing it into the basket. She had a lot of fun with that & it also serves as a feedback to me that she knows her words. :P

The moment she could read those words, she also suddenly took to flashcards like a fish in the water. These were the cards I flash to her (over a LONG period) and she finally recognise them.
I try to make it a game. I gave her our animal toys and have her match them to the cards. And just to make her think, I also gave her Mandarin cards to match to the English words. She could do it, possibly because each time I read a mandarin word, say 狗, I would follow up with an English translation, here I'd say 'dog'.
Yes, I admit, I am very eager for Babydoll to read. Why? Because I feel reading is the basis of most, if not all, skills. Once she is able to read, it will unlock many doors for her & it will enable her to acquire knowledge, yes even Math. Sonshine learnt alot of Math concepts just by reading books. That's why I wanted to get reading out of the way so that we can move on. :D That said, neither did I push nor force her to read. I only expose reading (through books, cards & activities) to her but did not made it like it was do or die. Anyhow, I am excited! YIPEE!!


  1. Babe, each time i read your updates, I get motivated once again to work hard on prep-ing activities and materials for my lil one. But it's so so tough to time manage! any tips? Am already terribly tired by the time i come hm from work. not forgetting those chores and cookin.

    1. I know, it's tough right? I also struggle to juggle believe it or not; these days I find no energy to create learning materials for my kids. However, a quick tip- try to make use of household items that's readily available. If you need to make word cards, get some cards & write on them with red markers- it's quick & easy. Recently, I've been relenting to buying those learning materials that's in the market. I reason that I rather pay to save me more time- there are some that are not so costly (under $20). I find the sg motherhood forum BP have some quite awesome deals (tho made in china) products too. I hope I'm helping!!

  2. I am with you on sight reading! I never learned phonics (who did, in our time?!), same for my Big Bee, who is a very advanced reader by now. In fact, Little Bee, who learned mainly phonetic reading, is a slightly slower reader, which is why this reinforces my belief in sight reading! Even phonics is not great for spelling because a lot of more advanced spelling rules are based on sight reading too. 3 cheers for advocates of sight reading!

  3. Yay!!! I'm so glad someone else is with me on this! And it's coming from you ( one of the smart mummy bloggers I know), so you just make me look so good! Hee hee.

    Oh! I always thought phonics help in spelling but I know it can't take one very far. Some words just can't be spelled by using phonics (like when silent letters are involved). So, once again, I'm going to ditch phonics & move on with sight reading.