6 Signs Your Child is Ready to Start Reading

6 Signs Your Child is Ready To

Maybe you’re a new home schooling parent. Maybe you are a novice, but need a reminder. Maybe you have a young child at home and you’re just curious about it. When should you start, how do you go about it, but most importantly, is your child ready to start learning how to read? And what should you do about it?

After having two kids show very similar signs of being ready to read around a similar age (age 4), I have a list of helpful things to look for if you’re wondering when your child will be ready to learn how to read.

 

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  1. They love being read to. My kids aren’t quite the type who have their nose in a book at any available second (they are quite different from their mother in that sense). But, they love their bed time stories! They love curling up at the end of a long day and reading something with my husband or myself. It helps that we usually read the most comical and lackadaisical books we can find! Does your child love being read to at some point in the day?
  2. Your child has at least a mild understanding of what words are and what they do. Does my child think I am making this story up by looking at the picture? Or, did they find out that I’m not this funny and creative, they noticed I know the words to this story by this line of letters across the page. These are telling me what to say. (It helps to read The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak). Once they notice that, their curiosity is piqued.
  3. Asking how everything is spelled. Or as my youngest likes to ask, “What is car spelled? What is Minecraft spelled? What is poop spelled?” Followed by fits of laughter. They don’t really listen to or soak in how to spell these words, especially the bigger words they ask about, but spell it out to them anyway. Don’t think you’ll successfully quiz them later, and if you do, and they can tell you how to spell elephant when you told them once, quit reading this right now, and go write your own blog post about having a genius 4 year old. Seriously! But, they’ll keep asking you and you just have to keep answering them. You’re feeding their hunger for knowledge.
  4. They know some basic sounds to letters. I’m under the assumption that your child already knows the alphabet or most of the alphabet before you’re too concerned about this next step of learning to string the letters together to create ideas. And with some practice (at times when your child is ready and willing to listen, kids don’t have big attention spans!) they will start to remember and repeat what sound(s) a letter makes and they may even be able to sound out some small words here and there. (Note mama: you may tear up the first time your ‘baby’ sounds out the word car!)
  5. They start scribbling out letters and stories. They don’t look like words or letters, but your child is showing an interest in sharing their ideas in written form. They have made the connections, and perhaps are ready to start the slow and rewarding journey of learning how to read and write for real.
  6. This one seems a little obvious- but when you, as a parent or caregiver, get in your own head about your child’s education, whether you school them at home or they go to a school, you might not think about this detail. They say that they are ready to read!

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They may dabble in any one of these areas for different periods of time. They may spark up some interest today, and then they are on to something different tomorrow. Give them the time, give them the space, and try to always be ready and open to them with help in any of these areas. Be ready to spell cup, pup, dinosaur, or even poop. Be calm and have patience, you’re teaching them for life, but it takes So. Much. Time. So much time. Seriously, especially at this young, just getting started age, it takes so much time! So have patience, and remember- the day you plant the seed isn’t the day you eat the fruit.

When they show all of these signs (especially number 6), then you are ready to start the journey of helping them learn how to read. You still have a way to go. Just because your child is ready, doesn’t mean it will be easy by any means. A few resources that can help you on this journey are:

Books. Read all the books, all the time. The calm books, the fun books, and the funny books! Kids are always ready to soak up the learning when they think something is fun enough to pay attention to.

The library. This is one of your most powerful tools as a home school parent especially. Computers, a child area (in most libraries), your librarian just might become one of your best friends, and of course, the cheapest way to have a plethora of books at your finger tips with out needing a visit from Marie Kondo anytime soon. Ha!

Reading apps. There are paid apps and some free apps, you might even be able to download certain books from your library. Visit your library’s website to find out more. Almost anything you choose will be helpful and fun for your child.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This isn’t for everyone. I know plenty of people who just didn’t like this curriculum. But, my oldest and I personally LOVED it! It’s simple 5-15 minute lessons, some can go a little longer, but it depends on your child’s attention span for that day. And before you know it, your child is reading small stories and going around reading everything they can! (Time to find a shirt that doesn’t say, “Mommy needs a f@#&ing nap.”) The joy on your kid’s face when they read the first word in the curriculum is something you’ll never forget, and it just grows with sentences, paragraphs and stories! You’ll be reminded of why you wanted so badly to be a part of this journey with them!

Listening to these steps doesn’t equal an avid reader. It just means you have a child ready to start. I could dive deep on a different day all about having an avid reader, but I’m still learning about that while I take my oldest one this next part of the reading journey (He’s 7).  Lastly, once they get started the most important part of it all, after having patience, is practice with them. At least daily practice, for small increments of time will help them continue and expand on their journey. That’s all teaching really comes down to, initial teaching of an idea or concept and then slowly expanding on and practicing the idea in real life.

I hope this has helped you not stress so much about this first really big step in the journey of teaching your child to read. I hope you found some direction, a lifeline to grab onto after this first step to take teaching your children seriously. If you have any tips or tricks, feel free to discuss in the comments! I love to hear from other parents, and I LOVE talking about education, and teaching, and I’m always learning new things myself. Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but a village sure does help! Remember you are capable, you are right for the journey and all you need is the desire to do it!

 

Until next time friends!

–Ashley

 

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(This post contains affiliate links. All that means is, if you click and buy a product I recommend, I make a couple pennies at NO extra cost to you. I will NEVER recommend something I don’t personally use and LOVE and I will NEVER bombard a post with tons of links, this just helps me keep this blog going, and allows me to tell my husband, “HA! See, you CAN make money with a blog! Because he doesn’t believe me yet.)

How To Start The Cash Envelope System

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Allow me to take you back in time… Not too far, just a few months. Lets start right at the beginning of the year. As most people do, I set a couple goals for myself and my family for 2019. Among those goals was having at least $1,000 in savings. That was it, just $1,000. I wasn’t even sure if we could manage that. To sum up a long torrid affair with over spending and not thinking straight when it came to money, we haven’t been able to save up much of anything since having kids. Kids are expensive, you go broke in ways you never really realize when you grow your family. The way we handled and thought about money before becoming a larger family no longer worked for us. We just thought we were broke. That was all there was to it. But as we would make changes and change jobs and get raises, we continued to find ourselves just as broke as the year before. We couldn’t figure it out. Even though more money was coming into the house, we seemed to feel no changes in the financial boat. More money coming in always seemed to equal more bills, or finally being able to catch up on things that had to be neglected when we were broke, we kept giving money lies and believing every single one of them.

We tried a few times over the last few years to implement the cash envelope system and the first two tries failed. Like, really failed. The first time around I didn’t even tell my family, I just tried taking out cash for some sinking funds and keeping them out of sight. But since I didn’t communicate it with my family, the spending trends continued on just as before and, in less than a month, I gave up. Last spring we tried it as a family, we used actual envelopes, and, I can’t even begin to tell you how many envelopes we used in our first week. It had to have been at least 15 envelopes! And for some reason we had them in weird increments, like a 5 for this, 10 for that 15 for something else. As you go along you might find that useful, but for a first go around it gets so complicated that we, once again, just gave up.

By March of this year I had had enough. I was pissed off and tired from arguing about money, I wasn’t understanding how everything looked so great on paper, but when actually going day by day with out budget it just wasn’t working out to where we had even $20 to stick into savings. Something had to change. Seriously change. We have goals, and honestly, most of them shouldn’t feel as out of reach as they did at the time. So we went back to the drawing board, we got serious and we got real with each other (in a kind way). We’re now on month 3 of using the cash envelope system, we’re able to save money every month, and we are really starting to see where our money goes!

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Here are my tips for starting a cash system that will work!

  1. Don’t over complicate it. When we tried this method last year, we had just too many categories. We had a clothes category, my husband had a beer category, a fishing category, I had a category for each hobby, we had one for food, one for non food items, this that and the other thing. It quickly became too much work to a. go in and take out the money in the exact increments I needed, and b. Actually sort those increments in to the right category. Now we have four categories: Groceries, fun spending, boys (kind of like an allowance), and extra/eating out. We have all the budgets set up into increments of $20, and we split the fun money between my husband and I. I can get this money out right at the ATM since I want all $20’s and it take less than a minute to sort into my categories. Easy Peasy.
  2. Know and expect to fail along the way. I’m on my third attempt (first successful attempt) and I know I probably could have done this all along if I hadn’t given up each of the other times I tried. This time around we have had fails, we’ve had things that we thought would work in March that we don’t do now in May (like using cash for gas, when we usually like to just pay at the pump). Be willing to really look at the fails and see where you can make changes and then try try again!
  3. Watch your savings grow! Its awesome momentum! That $1,000 goal I had back in January? I met it in my first month of using this budget! You can record the amount you have in savings at the start of the month and then again at the end of the month, write a blip about what came up during the month that held you from your goal, or just gladly watch that amount start to really grow!
  4. Give yourself a small incentive. We have also done bigger incentives. But give yourself a goal that you want to save for. The first month My husband bought a smoker (bigger incentive) right now he’s saving up for his hunting trip. My goal by the end of this month is to fully pay off our Best Buy card before the interest hits in June from purchasing our stove and fridge.
  5. Know what you’re saving toward. Were you too afraid to really make something you wanted to do your goal? “I really would love to take the kids to Disney, but there’s no way I’ll have the kind of money.” “I would love to buy a new vehicle with cash, but that’s just impossible!” Now that you’re able to save up a little money, have some goals in mind so that you know what you’re saving toward.
  6. Reassess every single month. Once you get it all put together and know what you want your categories to be and for how much, reassessing it each month doesn’t take too long. You might just look it over quick and think, “Yep, it’s still working.” or, you’ll know that you need to make a couple adjustments, “I keep going over on my grocery bill, I need to make a little room to stock up on some things to help cut spending later,” or, “I’m almost ready to buy a house I just need a little more money saved up, where can I cut some spending to make this happen sooner.” It could also be, “I use my debit card every time I get gas, I think I’ll cut that out of the cash budget since I don’t really go over my amount, and I don’t need the cash for it.” Go through and make sure the shoe is still fitting.
  7. Slowly work the numbers down each month. Lets say you want to spend only $500/month on groceries for your family. But the last few months you’ve been spending closer to $800/month. Slowly take that $800 and cut back a little each month to help you really see what you should be spending on groceries. This is also why reassessing is important. If you’re always under or over on an amount, then you can clearly see where you can start cutting back and making the numbers you hope to use really work for you.
  8. STICK WITH IT! Don’t just try it once and then think it didn’t work for you. You really need to try it over a couple months to give it a chance to work for you!

Want to know how to set up the budget needed to figure out your numbers for the cash system? Click here.

Want tips on how to save on your meal plan and in the grocery store? Click here.

Have more questions about budgets, running the home, or keeping some money in your savings account? Leave a comment below or ask me on social media!

Until Next Time Friends!

–Ashley

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