Monday, January 9, 2017

Dolly: 12 Months before Primary One

The dolly starts Kindergarten 2 (K2) this year. Her last 12 months before she starts Primary One.

Being the year-end baby, she is barely 5-year-old. Hence she is one of the shortest in her class. Looks like she will continue to be one of the shortest for many years to come, until she hits puberty.

Academically, I know she is more than ready for Primary One in 2018, which is also why I considered briefly recently to withdraw her from kindergarten this year.

She finds the school work very boring, especially the English and Math lessons. And I can understand why.

She is already reading Roald Dahl books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG and Matilda (supposedly meant for age 8 - 12) by herself. In fact, she has read nearly all the Roald Dahl books we own, except for James and the Giant Peach.

Right now, she is reading Pinocchio (Puffin Classics) by Carlo Collodi, a 272-pages book meant for age 10 and above, and actually understanding what she is reading! There are occasional words that she may not know, but she will always ask and seems to remember once we explain.

However, the English lessons in school are still teaching the kids to read the one-line-per-page readers and she is required to sit through the sessions. Though I do not expect the teachers to make exceptions for her, but I wish they know how to stretch every child's ability instead of just following the curriculum.

During their free reading time in school, she is also not allowed to bring books of her own to read, but has to read the books that the school provides in the classroom library and she told me she has read all the books in the classroom library many times because every page contains very few words. So I totally get her frustration.

The saving grace is at least she thinks she is learning something from the Chinese lesson. And she will miss her friends too much if she does not go to school.  Hence, it is status quo for now.

Luckily, she will get all the stimulation and stretch she needs from the weekly Bright Minds Lapbooking class that she attends, in which she will get weekly opportunities for team work, discussions, presentations and creative writing activities etc.

In the meantime, I have also resumed our Chinese learning at home. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I am just going to use the same curriculum that I used for the boys when they were in K1 and K2. It was effective enough to lay the foundation for lower Primary Chinese, saving them the need to attend Chinese enrichment or tuition.

One new area that I will introduce to Dolly soon is Lapbooking in Chinese! The focus will be on oral communication, listening comprehension and word recognition. I cannot wait to begin with her and I know she will enjoy this as much as she enjoys her weekly lapbooking class.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shirley, do you mind sharing how you managed to get your kids to read well at such a young age? Besides reading to them frequently, do you use a specific phonics programme? Thanks!


Domesticgoddess said...

Hi Sue, how old is your child?

I did not teach my kids phonics as I do not believe that phonics is the most effective way for kids to learn to read. Just by reading frequently is also insufficient to raise early readers, as I am sure many parents will agree.

I started reading to my kids before they were 1 yr old and they recognised the alphabet by age 2. My kids' kindy taught sounds of the 26 letters in N2 (year before K1) and I left the teaching to them. At home, I used only the curriculum I develop for the lapbooking classes that I teach.

I believe the KEY factor that helped my kids read early is the strong language foundation that I laid, especially between age 2 to 4, through my lapbooking curriculum (more details on and my coaching method especially when they were age 2 to 4 that focuses on specific reading strategies.

My students get to do the same activities that I used to do with my boys (and still do with my gal) to build strong vocabulary, print awareness, comprehension skill, early writing and communication skills etc... which I strongly believe are closely-linked in nurturing a strong reader and writer. Once we lay a strong foundation, and coach the child with effective reading strategies, we just need to INSPIRE them to WANT to LEARN To READ and Write while we continue to hone their skills. As I work very closely with every child, I can see their sensitive periods and that is when we step up the effort to push each child OVER the hurdle. The rest is easy, as success breeds success!

On top of that, I am very picky about the kind of books I exposed my kids/students to.

If I had depended on phonics, I am sure my 5-year-old, who just started K2, would still be reading very slowly, one word at a time and would be too frustrated to sound out long words, let alone read a paragraph. Besides, blending is too tedious, hard work and requires far too much energy, which also distracts the kid from appreciating and truly understanding the content.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply. My boy just turned 3 a few weeks back. He loves it when I read picture books to him. However, he is not too receptive when I try to make him do simple activities, including writing his name.


homeschoolsg said...

WOW! Impressive. Mine has just shown some appetite for thicker chapter books. I cannot wait for her to start on Roald Dahl!


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