Should I use the Emerging Reader’s Set and/or phonics for an advanced 5 year old reader?

Dear Carrie

Should I use the Emerging Reader’s Set along with a phonics program for my advanced 5 year old?

My 5 year old daughter is an advanced reader who tests at a 4.6 reading level. She taught herself to read and has never had formal phonics. Though she does a good job of figuring out words she’s familiar with and knows her letter sounds, she does not know any phonics rules. As I was reading The Reasons Behind HOD Choices, I realized that not giving my daughter formal phonics training and teaching her the rules could end up holding her back in reading eventually. I don’t want to do just phonics during Little Hearts for His Glory, as I think this will frustrate her. She is so excited to read! So, should I use the Emerging Reader’s Set and incorporate a phonics program to slowly teach my advanced reader the phonics rules? I also gave her the Primary Singapore placement test. She places in 1A and is ready for spelling.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with My Advanced Daughter’s Phonics and Reading Choices”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with My Advanced Daughter’s Phonics and Reading Choices,”

If your daughter is near to being 6, she could begin Heart of Dakota‘s Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory instead. However, she would also need to be good at sitting and listening to longer chapter-style books without pictures. Whether you use Little Hearts or Beyond, I think a run through Sound Bytes phonics would be a good way to go for her phonics instruction. You can view Sound Bytes here; just click and scroll to the bottom. Sound Bytes works well for kiddos who are already reading because it moves quickly and takes only a few months to complete the entire phonics sequence. The stories go from short and easy to harder as the kiddos move through the program. It hits all the needed phonics rules and makes sure kiddos have had exposure to them. It also addresses the rules as spelling helpers.

You can either start the Emerging Reader’s Set after completing Sound Bytes, or you can alternate them.

After your daughter moves through Sound Bytes, she could begin the Emerging Reader’s Set. Or, you could alternate between Sound Bytes and the Emerging Reader’s Set instead. You have a choice of Bibles in the Emerging Reader’s Set. I would begin with The Beginner’s Bible in the Emerging Reader’s Set, as the Early Reader’s Bible will be too easy for her.

You will need the Beyond Little Hearts guide for the ERS schedule, comprehension questions, math lessons, and spelling.

If you do go the Little Hearts route, be sure to get the Beyond guide for the needed daily schedule and questions for the Emerging Reader’s Set. You will also want the Beyond guide for the daily math lessons that go with 1A/1B and for the daily spelling lists as well. Since your daughter is advanced and reading well, she will be ready to do the spelling portion of Beyond too.

We can verify you previously purchased the Beyond guide when your order the rest of its Economy Package and still apply your package savings.

If you do get the Beyond guide, then the next year when you need the rest of the Economy Package that goes with Beyond, simply email us to let us know you bought the Beyond guide early to for the Emerging Reader’s Set, and you will still receive the Beyond package discount with your purchase. If you have more questions, let us know!

Blessings,
Carrie

Strengthen narration by self-questioning what was just read!

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“Long ago, I was in the habit of hearing this axiom quoted by a philosophical old friend: – ‘The mind can know nothing save what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put to the mind by itself.’

I have failed to trace the saying to its source, but a conviction of its importance has been growing upon me during the last forty years. It tacitly prohibits questions from without; (this does not, of course, affect the Socratic use of questioning for purposes of moral conviction); and it is necessary to intellectual certainty, to the act of knowing. For example, to secure a conversation of an incident, we ‘go over it in our minds’; that is, the mind puts itself through the process of self-questioning which I have indicated. This is what happens in the narrating of a passage read: each new consecutive incident or statement arrives because the mind asks itself, – “What next?”

For this reason it is important that only one reading should be allowed; efforts to memorize weaken the power of attention, the proper activity of the mind; if it is desirable to ask questions in order to emphasize certain points, these should be asked after and not before, or during, the act of narration.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6 pp. 16-17)

Will it be too much to do DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts?

Dear Carrie

In Bigger Hearts, will it be too much to do Drawn into the Heart of Reading and Storytime?

Dear Carrie,

My 9 year old is doing Heart of Dakota‘s Bigger Hearts. He started the Emerging Reader’s Set (ERS) last year. He’ll finish it soon. (I took longer, lack of consistency on my part)! Anyway, I want him to grow into a stronger reader. I hear Drawn into the Heart of Reading is both interesting and enjoyable! However, I currently read aloud the Bigger Hearts Storytime books. We are on historical fiction now and enjoying it very much.  I certainly don’t want that to end. Can I do both DITHOR and Storytime, or will that be too much? Is it practical to be reading two different genres at the same time? Like him reading biography while I’m reading historical fiction to him? Or him reading his own fantasy book while I am also reading a different fantasy book? Thanks!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Understand DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Understand DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts,”

Since your son is 9, we would plan for him to be heading into DITHOR after the Emerging Reader’s Set is done. If you don’t plan to use DITHOR, then we would be expecting you to be choosing a different reading program in its place to make sure that he is getting the skills that are required in the area of reading state standard-wise. The area of reading has many standards that are to be met, and those standards include understanding, discussion, and analysis of character, plot, setting, mood, comparison/contrast, theme/moral, rising action, prediction/inference, and so on.

One aspect of understanding literature is knowing the genres, and another more important aspect is knowing moral discernment while reading.

Another aspect of understanding literature is knowing the various genres and what makes a certain type of book a certain genre.   These areas of literature do not typically come up in regular discussion unless you plan specifically to talk about them and address them within your child’s daily reading. But, an even more important component we feel with reading instruction is that of teaching moral discernment in light of the Bible as kiddos read. This is another aspect that DITHOR addresses, which often does not come up in regular conversation as much as we’d like, without it being planned within the day.

Bigger Heart’s Storytime covers needed reading standards, with a focus on applying these standards to books they are listening to as read alouds.

Bigger Heart’s Storytime does have a mini-DITHOR planned within it, which serves two purposes. One is that it covers the needed reading standards that I’ve mentioned above for students who may still be doing the Emerging Reader’s Set. Two is that it focuses on applying these reading skills and standards to books that the children are listening to as read-alouds. This is different than applying these skills to books students are reading on their own. Listening to a book read aloud and reading on one’s own are two different skills of reading.

Students that complete the ERS are to move up to DITHOR next.

So, as soon as kiddos complete the Emerging Reader’s Set, we are expecting that they are heading into DITHOR (unless they happen to be younger than 7). If the child is younger than 7, then it would be alright to ease into DITHOR slowly (as the state standards for reading are not as exhaustive or in-depth for a child of that age).

Having children simply reading silently alone will not address state standards.

While every state is different, all states do have set standards in reading that are along the lines I’ve mentioned above. Once you get to our guides from Preparing Hearts on up, we no longer do a mini-DITHOR in the Storytime box. At that point it is really important to be doing DITHOR or something comparable, or you’ll be missing needed literature/reading instruction. Simply having your children silent reading on their own does not address the standards mentioned above.

At times we mention waiting on DITHOR, but this is the exception, not the rule.

While we do at times mention that families who are very busy or very large can wait on DITHOR until their children are a bit older, this would be the exception rather than rule. This is because very large families, or those who have extreme health issues, or those with heavy work situations must make choices between what they are able to accomplish in any given day. So, we are mindful of that in our recommendations, knowing each family is different. In your situation though, it sounds like your 9 year old is ready for DITHOR and with his age in mind, he will be in need of its instruction.

Blessings,
Carrie

Children must read widely…for the nourishment of their complex nature

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

This education of the feelings, moral education, is too delicate and personal a matter for a teacher to undertake trusting to his own resources. Children are not to be fed morally like young pigeons with predigested food. They must pick and eat for themselves and they do so from the conduct of others which they hear of or perceive. But they want a great quantity of the sort of food whose issue is conduct, and that is why poetry, history, romance, geography, travel, biography, science and sums must all be pressed into service. No one can tell what particular morsel a child will select for his sustenance. One small boy of eight may come down late because – “I was meditating upon Plato and couldn’t fasten my buttons,” and another may find his meat in ‘Peter Pan’! But all children must read widely, and know what they have read, for the nourishment of their complex nature.

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6, p. 59)

Reading must be purposeful!

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“Casual reading – that is, vague reading round a subject without the effort to know – is not in much better case: if we are to read and grow thereby, we must read to know, that is, our reading must be study – orderly, definite, purposeful.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 5, p. 382)

The difference between intelligent reading and cramming