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The letter poem
How to teach your child to read

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You can actually teach the letters in any order. However keep in mind that teaching the child the song a b c d e f g
is for him or her just a song. It does not identify the letters in a meaningful way to relate their shape to their sounds.

I decided to teach my children ( I eventually had four) using very high frequency letters first. After we did about 8 we'd combine those 8 into all possible words they could form and so I wanted to leave z, k, x for later.

The letter poem I invented took about a year to introduce to a 3 year old since we only did a new letter every week or so and then added it to the group. We stopped periodically to review also, and to make up words with letters known to date.

huh is for house
muh is for mittens
puh- pretty flower
suh- snake is bitten.
wuh is for waves
tuh for train tracks
ruh - round the corner
ah - apple stacks.

buh bump on bottom
cuh is for curl
duh is for doorknob
guh - long-haired girl

nuh- nail got bent
ih - it jumped up
eh - egg fell open right into a cup
oh is for octopus
uh- under umbrella
fuh has a funny top. He's a strange fella.

juh -just a jet's tail
kuh - kite on string
luh is for ladder. You climb it in spring.

vuh is for very good
yarn with tail you see
zuh is for zigzag you draw when you feel happy.

x is for crossing the street where you've been
quh is a lady with long dress, a queen.

The words to read

I realized that a crucial part of teaching my children was to pretty well guarantee them success by making reading easy and logical. It was my job to expose them at first only to words which matched what we had learned, so I only showed them ones where the letters made the sounds we had studied. We did not at first look at any words with silent letters, with odd combinations like sh, ph, ch, tion, ing. I purefied so to speak the language to make sure my kids learned how to sound out and all that they had learned was right. With the letter poem on the left and carefully going through the language, I was able to give them skills to read, with success, about 600 words. (eg pat, sam, hat, log, erica, umbrella)

It was only when we had finished the entire alphabet and the logical combinations for words that my son looked up at me one day and was sad that we had run out of letters.

I realized then we had to go on, and I invented stories about games the letters played. Crazy huh chased suh around at a party and liked to grab her and shake her (sh says sh for shake). Crazy huh grabbed cuh and they went around the room pretending to be a train saying chug chug chug (ch says chug, ch)

I invented stories about how the little letters grew up. b got a new bump, B. h for house got a new chimney, H. In this way the kids learned not just the capital letters but a logic behind their shape so they were now memorable.

I invented stories about how at a big party of letters the littlest ones felt ignored and started to cry out for attention. When candies were being given out, if a letter got in front of a little one, the little one might get passed over so ah yelled out 'Get out of the way, ay". Little e yelled out "It's me-eee". ih yelled out' Hi- I"
oh yelled out "Hello-oh-oh" Uh yelled out 'How are you?You?"
And in that subtle way I had not just told a new sound those letters make - a,e.i.o.u- but I had given a logical reason for the shift.

I then went on to explain by logic why other letters made new sounds sometimes - how y twisted around to sound like i, how c liked to twist and turn in play to say s etc.

Over the course of about 3 years we went through nearly all of the language and by age 5 when my four kids entered school, they all entered able to read. It was probably the best gift I every gave them, next to love.

I named my course 'Anchors and Sails'. We give children anchors of love and affection. We give them sails when we teach them to read.