|Sonlight's Language Arts K with Readers Package|
|Handwriting Without Tears Package|
Marcus, on the other hand, is a bit ahead of this program when it comes to reading. However, I think that the extra practice in phonics will only help cement the ideas for him. It will also give him some confidence when it comes to reading. Every now and then, we are allowing him to practice reading some other beginner readers. He also enjoys playing Reading Eggs online. (I'm not much for screen based learning...but I find that this game provides invaluable, fun practice which is helping him build reading fluency. So he doesn't have to "sound out" every word that he sees on the page.)
The thing I really like about Sonlight the most is their "creative expression" assignments. The purpose of the creative expression assignments is "...to help your children learn to enjoy expressing their thoughts, as well as to get a good feel for the flow of a story." Basically the assignments give children a chance to practice verbally expressing their thoughts effectively. In most of these assignments, the parent acts as the scribe and the child tells the parent what to write. I think that learning to TELL a story is a very important step in learning to effectively WRITE a story. I think that many language arts programs tend to forget this. We can easily get so caught up in the mechanics of language: handwriting, reading, grammar, etc. etc---that we forget to spend time on the thought process that goes into communicating our thoughts in writing.
Today's "Creative Expression" assignment was a picture book narration. In this assignment, the children were to retell a favorite story while using one of their favorite pictures books as a guide. I allowed the kids to chose any book on our bookshelves to retell...and they BOTH picked the book Kat Kong by Dav Pilkey to narrate.
NOW---some of my readers might argue that Kat Kong is simply twaddle. :) HOWEVER-- the kids and I both enjoy reading this book. No, it isn't Beautix Potter...but it is a funny book that is rather well written. As you can probably guess, the book is a cleaver play on the old "King Kong" movies--this time staring a chubby feline who wreaks havoc on a group of mice. Marcus and Sophie both narrated this book to my while I typed in their work into the computer.
It was an interesting experiment having two separate kids narrate the same book to me. I did this individually so that each would have a chance to really recall the details they remembered from the story on their own. I was impressed with how much detail both kids remembered from the book. Marcus, in particular has a mind like a steel trap! You read him something once, and he just remembers it. He easily recalled large portions of the text almost verbatim as he "retold" the story. (I don't think he quite understands the concept of using his own words to tell a story.) I was also impressed with some of the vocabulary he used to tell the story. Both kids attempted to use dialog to retell the story. I was pleasantly surprised that both kids automatically knew to add words indicating WHO was saying the dialog during their narration without prompting from me. (Example from Sophie's narration: “There is no way Kat Kong can escape. I repeat back there is no way Kat Kong can escape, “ said Vincent Varmint.) However, in some cases, Sophie separated the dialog by doing different voices for the characters. (It was pretty cute! I wish I would have thought to video tape it.) Both kids had some typical age appropriate grammatical errors...which were also pretty darling. (Example: Marcus still refers to a group of mice by calling them "mouses".) All in all, I was very pleased with the outcome of this assignment. I think at the very least, these assignments will make a VERY nice keep sake for me hold on.
SO---without further ado...here is each child's Kat Kong Picture narration with me acting as scribe.
|A group of "native mice" offering up a can of sacrificial tuna to Kat Kong|
If so, new customers can save $5 on your order of $50 or more. Just enter my rewards number upon registering (