Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zoya Learning to Read!

If you've been following this blog for some time, you'll know that I love all things from the Preschool Prep Company!  You'd think they're paying me to endorse them, but really, I just love their products and curriculum for Zoya! If you click on the "preschool prep" label or put it into the search feature on this blog, you'll see I used the Preschool Prep programs as a basis to teach Zoya her letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.

Just like the other concepts, the sight word program has DVDs and flashcards, and little readers that you can purchase. There are 3 DVDs each with 16 sight words presented on each DVD. The sight words are chosen from Fry and Dolch sight word lists (research-based most frequently read sight words). We started by watching the first 4 sight words on the DVD and using the flashcards to practice during the DVD and after and in between watching the DVD. When she mastered those 4 words, we moved on to the next 4 and so on. As you can see the flashcards have a black-print word on one side and then a "character" word on the other side. Zoya starts by becoming familiar with the "character" whose name is "play" for example, and then transfers it to the black-print word. I love that way of teaching it to her! Once we got through the first DVD, I used only the words presented on the DVD to start pairing 2 and 3 words into phrases. For example, I'd put 2 word cards side by side to make it say "I play." Very simple. Then I'd add another word to make it say "I play that." The little readers that came with the program have all the sight words from the first DVD as well as other words. I made flashcards for the words that were not on the DVD or in the flashcard pack to teach those as well.

Slowly I started adding more and more words to make the sentences more complex. I pair word cards and picture cards to vary the difficulty of the sentence. As Zoya masters the words, she no longer needs the picture side of the cards. In some of the videos you can see she still flips the word over to remind herself of the picture on the other side. This is a great strategy because it teaches her to use picture cues to decode and recall words, which is a great reading strategy for young readers. I took sentences right out of the little reader books and formed them using word cards. After Zoya got better at this, I transferred her to the actual book, reading the same sentences. She is so proud of herself and I'm so proud of her! My sweet girl is newly 4 and already beginning to read!

In my experience teaching children with special needs, I find children with Down Syndrome do very well with sight-word based programs to use as a foundation, and then, if they're able, to progress to a phonics-based approach.

I love letting Zoya use different "pointers" to read her sentences, such as the princess star wand you'll see in one of the videos.

Here are some videos of my big girl READING!!

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(My favorite one)

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I can't wait to hear Zoya read to me more! I just love her sweet voice!

12 comments:

  1. You know that this is awesome, don't you? I was thrilled to watch her. I love the process that this builds. The thing I like best is that she isn't waiting for you to give her the word, she just turns that card over. What a great great great problem solving skill! SHE looks for the answer instead of waiting for someone else to do it for her. Wow!

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    1. Problem Solving has always been one of Zoya's strengths! She figures out a way to solve the problem no matter what! I love that she tries on her own before asking for help. But it's also a double-edged sword because she is SO fiercely independent and doesn't want my help when she actually needs it sometimes LOL! Big things in her future, I'm sure of it. So proud of her :)

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  2. Absolutely amazing!!! What a smart little girl who is taught by a smart mommy!!

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  3. She is amazing! Good job Zoya! Very proud of her.

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  4. Whoa! This is brilliant! I had some learning disabilities as a child and didn't read until I was 11 as a result - I'm quite certain I would have done better using this system! Brilliant!

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    1. Awesome to hear how hard you must have worked to overcome your challenges! Yes, I think this system could help many kids!

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  5. (Oh! and way to go Zoya! Great reading!)

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  6. AWESOME ZOYA!!!!! Sarah, this is amazing to watch! I can't believe how focused and motivated Zoya is, especially for just having reached 4 yrs!! You say, "Good job, Zoya" and I say, "Good job Mama"!! :) Love it!!!

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  7. O...M...G!! Sarah....I have chills, a huge smile and intense admiration for you and Zoya! These videos are fantastic:) I was wondering if I could share your blog name with a group called Morning Travelers? They are a local support group for families blessed to have a child with ds:) Recently a woman posted about her 2 year old recognizing many letters and she was asking for guidance on a reading program. I think everyone in the group would LOVE to see these videos.

    Have a great day and once again, your children are too precious for words:)

    Susan from Boston

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    1. Yes, most certainly you may share the blog!

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  8. Congratulations Zoya! We at Preschool Prep Company are so proud of you and we loved watching you read! Keep up the good work.

    Kathy Oxley

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  9. Absolutely wonderful Zoya. You're doing a great job reading. I love watching you read. Izzy thinks you're doing a great job too! She was all smiles watching your video.

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