The Teacher is Talking
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The Teacher is Talking: Hint, Hint…Read!

By Leslie Lindsay

When my newly-minted 5 year old brought this card to me from her big sister’s old BOB books, I got the hint that she was ready to learn to read.

The card title reads: “10 Hints for Teaching Your Child to Read.”   

Of course, we read to our kids daily–at least several titles–and work with them on phonics, word recognition, etc. but for her to bring me the card and say, “here, I want to learn to read,” was more than just a hint.

I smiled one of those smiles only a momma could smile–the one mixed with pride, guilt (gosh, aren’t I doing what I can to help this kid learn to read), and wonder (where did I get such a precocious daughter?!).  She toddled off with more important things to do while I read over the card.  Here’s what it says: ( I added some of my own thoughts, too)

  • “Learning to read should be easy and fun.  Here are Master Teacher Bobby Maslen’s suggestions for teaching children to read”…
  • Read books to your child that have storues and pictures that you enjoy.  At the library, pick books that are age-appropriate.  Let your little reader make choices.
  • In the car, point out signs that  you see often.  Repeat the words.
  • Play word games.  Thing of an animal that begins with “A.”  Take turns, gradually advancing through the alphabet.  Help when needed.
  • Keep magnetized letters on the refridgerator.  Ask for the first letter in your child’s name.  Where is mmmm for “Mary?”
  • Use alphabet blocks or tiles for forming short words.  Pull out your Scrabble game or Bananagrams.  Make short sentences if you can.
  • Use thick sidewalk chalk to write large letters on the driveway.  Say the begining sound.  Encourage your child to touch and walk on the letters.  Make it an obstacle course.
  • Compliment drawings, writing, and reading by remarking on good work. 
  • Draw road maps for playing with small cards.  Arrange so child is crossing his midline while playing.  Better yet, of those road maps look like letters…a big H could look like several streets crossing one another, try an E for a neighborhood or a T for a shopping district.  How about a large home with a circle O drive or a half-circle driveway (C)? (there is somthing so important about crossing the midline from an OT standpoint and for connecting the fine/gross movements with the brain.  I remember this “play” when the girls were babies.  Moving their arms cross-wise over their tummies…)
  • Present toys that develop hand-eye coordination
  • Encourage play inside, outside, in sand, in water, on various climbing structures.  All of these will help develop skills that are important later on for literacy.

As I read the list, I was thinking, “Yes.  We do that.  Oh!  That, too…”  So, of this kid doesn’t learn to read soon, well I can’t imagine what we are doing wrong.  I guess the real reading lessons ought to begin.

Class dismissed!

For more information on BOB books, or their creator, Bobby Lynn Maslen, go to:


I also understand that many of these books come free at App stores for iPad and iPhones…


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