She turns 6 this month and she's already a pretty confident reader. I love it! I've really enjoyed watching her learn. I feel blessed that I have the privilege of homeschooling her and watching her learn.
How did she learn? We didn't follow a structured reading program but instead we took advantage of all kinds of different things that came our way.
We read together lots. And lots. We made regular visits to the library to stock up on books. We read all different kinds of books. Sometimes I'd point out the words as I read. If there were repeated phrases I would encourage Anna to help me "read" those repeated phrases. Sometimes we'd read picture books with just a word or two a page and Anna would practice "reading" them after we'd read them together a few times. I was always quick to help her if she forgot a word.
Anna loved playing on Starfall.com. I let her wonder around the site as much as she wanted and she became more aware of the sounds of letters. We printed off some of the booklets for some of the stories on the site and she practiced "reading" them after we had read them with the computer and on our own lots.
Gradually I watched her grow more interested in words and she would point out words that she recognized. I decided it was time for her to try reading a Young Readers Bible that we had in our shelves. Each story was 6 pages long with a few sentences on each page. I'd read her a story one day and the next day she'd read that story to me, with me quickly supplying any word that she didn't immediately recognize. I had to help her less and less as we worked our way through her special Bible. She actually finished reading the whole book this month and she is so proud of herself.
All the while we continued to read lots of different books together. As I noticed that she was gaining more confidence and recognizing more words I started making sure that some of the library books we brought home were ones that she could easily learn to read on her own - some picture books with a few words per page, some easy readers, etc. I always read a book to her at least once before I asked her to read it to me and I was always quick to supply any word that she didn't immediately recognize. She didn't realize it but she was reading more and more on her own and needing less and less help.
When she was really comfortable with a book I encouraged her to read to her dad and her older siblings, to show how good she could read and also to share some of the fun books we were reading. This helped build her confidence even more.
She finally realized she could read one weekend when we had friends over and she came running out of the room exclaiming to us that she had just read a book to her friend in her room. Her friend, who's a couple of years younger than her, was pretty proud of her too. It was so fun to see her exclaim that she could read! She'd been reading for quite a while, but she didn't realize it until then.
I've been keeping a list of library books that she's learned to read on her own and she now has over 20 books on that list.
What a joy to have been able to witness this accomplishment in her life!