I have said many times how much my children LOVE books. I read several times a day out loud to them and my kids “read” on their own. But now Samuel has been writing letters, referring to people and items by the letter the word starts with, and actively working on sounds of letters. For this child led Momma, that means it’s time to find a way to teach my child to read.
Royal Road To Reading
Early Childhood Reading Program
I have always been the kind of person to listen to what works for other people. That’s what brought me to the Montessori Method. When a method works for over a century, it seems like a good way to keep doing things.
While looking for a program to teach my children to read, I came across several books and tons of blog posts. But I didn’t feel empowered to teach my children with that information. Kids are so impressionable and I have an underlying fear of messing something up. (I know I’m not the only one.) Then I found Age of Montessori’s Royal Road to Reading program with instructional DVDs and all the learning activities!
This program was created by two teachers that have been teaching children to read for over 40 years. They developed the Royal Road To Reading program just for parents (and teachers) like me. Their way of explaining and teaching their methods is so simple and understandable, I feel a little silly I didn’t know this before.
The program focuses on how children learn best, with hands on lessons and fun games. Repetition and reiteration helps children to feel confident in the phonics they are learning and ignites a flame in their natural inquisitive minds. I cannot wait to walk you through the DVDs and materials that come with the Royal Road To Reading program. I know you will feel the same kind of confidence and empowerment to teach your children to read that I now have after working through this program.
Royal Road To Reading is broken down into 3 DVDs. The picture above is from the website (click the picture for more information) and describes what you will be helping your child learn.
Part 1: Vocabulary
I know my social media is splattered with pictures of my children reading and writing. After watching Part 1 of the Royal Road to Reading DVD I felt much better about our early reading routine. Mary Ellen Maunz (one of the creators of the program) makes it very clear that early reading starts from birth, or even in the womb. As a parent, you have the ability to shape your child’s love for reading from the first day of their life.
Avalyn (2) is very interested in vocabulary. She loves to ask what words say, inquire the names of items she may not know, or show off her skills by singing the names of objects she sees. This is a sign the me we can start using more focused games to help her develop her vocabulary.
The Part 1 DVD is accompanied by a 48 colored photo cards that are divided into three categories: birds, animals, and modes of transportation. Samuel (4) started working with these 3 part cards seconds after I took off the wrapping. He has already mastered the skill using 3 part cards, but was happy to demonstrate how to work with the cards.
Our first lessons was to help Avalyn with animal vocabulary. From the example given in Part 1, I created an easy lesson with 6 figures we already had in our home. The cards are the color photos provided with the program. She did so well with this lesson.
The goal of this lessons is to teach by teaching. If a child does not match a set correctly, you can simply reteach the item using the 3 part lesson. There is no reason to tell the child they are wrong. The parent has the ability to demonstrate the correct answer by reviewing the names of the items they are working with.
Next, I presented a lesson using just the vocabulary cards. These cards were also provided with the program. At first I gave Avalyn to many cards and labels. She was getting confused and it was easy to see she wasn’t concentrating. So I adjusted and gave her just 3 set of 3 part cards. What an amazing difference! She worked with this lesson, uninterrupted, for the next 20 minutes. Just beautiful!
Part 2: Sounds and Letters
Part 2 video is where I took copious notes. I know Avalyn is not far from diving into sounds and then letters. I feel like I have not had the materials and understanding to really help Samuel with his interest in reading. I am so glad to share with you a little about Part 2 of the Royal Road to Reading program.
Part 2 comes with tons of great materials and I hope to give you a quick view of many of them here. The video breaks down the importance of phonemic awareness and the relationship between letters and sounds.
Without getting into a long discussion, I know our world is cyclical and we have moved from teaching phonics to just teaching word recognition and seem to be getting back to teaching phonics. When I was taught to read, I was taught with just word recognition and really struggle with some of my reading. I was happy to have this discussion with my grandmother and she shared that she was taught with just phonics. It really is fascinating to me and I would love to talk with you more about it on any of my social media.
Now on the to fun part! I want to share a couple lessons I did with Samuel after watching the Part 2 video.
Rhyming with Objects
Samuel loves rhyming and I was so happy to learn from the Part 2 video that rhyming is an important part to understanding phonics. The video refers to it as phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the most important predictor to be sure your child is able to read. After hearing this information I knew Samuel was ready to test his abilities with some rhyming games.
I started by giving him a rhyming game with 6 sets of rhyming objects we had in our classroom. He loved it!
First, we reviewed what the objects where. I didn’t realize how important this step is in learning until I watched the videos.
Next, Samuel worked on placing matching rhyming objects. I worked from the exact example in the video by demonstrating how to do one or two sets then asked him to work through the rest. (Avalyn was so good to watch this lesson without interrupting!)
Then we “told the whole story”. In the videos they ask the children to review all the rhyming sets by going through each of the sets and reading them as if they were a story.
Rhyming with Pictures
The next lesson is rhyming with pictures. It makes it a little more tricky for children when we move to two denominational cards.
We played this game just like we did with the objects. Samuel really loved it and we have played it many times since.
Beginning Sounds with Objects
I was amazed at how well Samuel did with this game. I know we have been working on letters and sounds, but I didn’t have a good measure to evaluate his progress until this program.
This lesson is pretty simple. I found three objects with different beginning sounds and focused on the beginning sound while presenting it to Samuel. I was sure to emphasize the beginning sound by holding that sound longer. For example we have /M/ milk that I made sounds like mmmmmmmmmmmilk.
Find the Sounds
By recognizing the beginning sounds, Samuel was ready to play a fun game called find the sounds. These cards come with the program and were so inviting.
The object of this game is to place a marker, we used some of our pirate treasure as our markers, over the pictures with the same beginning sound as they key picture. Samuel loved this game so much he wanted to go through all the cards at one time!
Part 3: Words and Sentences
I know this 3rd DVD will get used quite a bit. My children are not to this phase of their reading yet. I would not have known that without watching part 3. I’ll have to watch this a couple more time to be sure I’m confident with my teaching.
Since we have the full Royal Road To Reading Program, Part 3 comes with 244 learning game cards: 144 word pockets, 32 pictures and labels, 24 verb commands, 24 common sight words, 17 sentences and pictures, plus 27 pictures and labels for selected phonograms. My kids have been so excited about these materials that I have had to put them away in our classroom closet to be sure we can focus on the sounds and letters. The materials are so inviting and beautiful. The pictures are clear and the quality is wonderful. We will get many years of use out of this program.
I feel kind of bad to know I may have been pushing my children in areas they have not been equipped to go with their reading. I know now I need to work with them on vocabulary, sounds, and letters to ensure they have success and confidence to move to words and sentences.
By watching this video I now know the end state. What we are working toward. I know Samuel needs to be more confident in the beginning sounds we learned about in Part 2. Avalyn need to expand her vocabulary and start with sound recognition.
I also know now that I need to buy specific materials to ensure their success. I need to have a movable alphabet with vowels that are a different color then consonance. It would also help to have a small mat for the kids to work on the table while they are building their words and sentences. These items I can look for now so we do not have a delay when my kids are ready to move to the next stage in their reading.
Part 3 helped me to understand that I need to work on my handwriting! Sheesh! I never really through about how bad it is and I know my kids watch me. My goal is to practice my own handwriting so I can be the good example my kids needs when we start working on their writing.
The wonderful thing about having this program at home is I can take the pace of my children. There is no set deadline to meet and they are the ones to tell me when they are ready to move on to the next step. This is child led learning at it’s greatest!
I am so excited to share with you what I have learned from Royal Road To Reading. I know you will love it and will leave you with one more link to be sure you don’t miss the opportunity to feel confident in your ability to teach your child to read!
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