If you have been following my Instagram account over the last couple of months, you will be aware that I am currently teaching my 4-year old daughter to read. And you may well know from my captive reading section, I am a massive fan of Adam Beck’s captive reading strategy. 😉
Over the last few weeks my youngest’s blooming reading skills have led me to a new captive reading level for her. After putting up the alphabet letters, then words and at last short sentences, a new idea sprung in my mind: creating a “Reading Box” exclusively for my youngest. She is too small to read the books I leave at hand in a basket in the loo for her eldest sister. But why not create something similar at her reading level?
So I grabbed a pretty little box, labelled it her “Book Box“, and left it within her reach in the bathroom. In the beginning, I started with just 2 word-books from the first pack of Read Write Inc. She liked having some reading of her own, so every day I introduced a new TheMeasuredMom’s free downloadable phonics book. At one point, she devoured them so fast I could not keep up the book printing with her reading! The box was a big hit for several reasons:
- She had her own books.
- She was treated like her big sister, with her own reading material.
- She could read on her own, without the pressure of my supervision/presence.
- The discovery of a new little book on every visit brought its share of excitement.
This box worked wonders for my little one’s reading skills! As with anything, my youngest grew tired of the novelty after 3 weeks. So I put it away but I am planning on taking it out again as soon as I feel her interest will be rekindled upon seeing the box in the bathroom once more (probably when she returns from her 2 weeks at my sister’s place).
Once this success was over in the bathroom, I repeated this idea but in the living room. By then, my youngest daughter’s reading skills had bloomed and she was now able to read the first level of books from the “My Reading and Writing Kit “More sounds and blending” (2nd kit of 3 learning kits by Read Write Inc. Click here for my review of the first kit.). She does not like having a very formal learning plan. So I thought that leaving a selection of books at her reading level within her reach might help making her feel like reading. So this time, I dug out an old rattan basket in which I stacked a selection of early reader books (among which some of these). Next to it I left a list of the titles and a stack of colourful star stickers. For each book read, she gets to stick a star by the title on the list. And for the final touch, I placed the basket next to the pile of novels that her eldest sister has left in the living room. The subliminal message being that she is now a big one! 😉
This version has so far been met with success. This freedom of choice in her learning seems to suit her; she enjoys deciding when to read. She just commented to me last week how she loved her little basket, as she lovingly browsed through her books. The reward in the shape of a star sticker has also been a great incentive. She enjoys seeing the table slowly filling up with shiny stars, a testimony of all her reading.
These little boxes and baskets can be a lovely tool to help make your child feel “grown up”, to make reading part of home life, and take pride in their reading skills. It helps them choose their “learning time” in a playful way… and kids never learn better than when they decide they want to. 😉
- Always place the basket or box within easy reach of little hands and within sight too!
- Check the reading level of your books to ensure it is the right level, as hard books might generate frustration and discourage your child.
- Make it look attractive.
- The rewarding system is not an obligation but it helps your child visualise their effort.