Yes, it finally happened. A combination of and Leapfrog and Sesame Street DVDs for the last 2 years, and Miriam is now sounding out short-voweled words.

Just now, she went through the entire book “Zac the Rat” on and sounded out the letters (“Z-a-c”) and then said the word (“Zac.”) She is very excited and eager to try out her newfound skill! I guess now my work will be starting in earnest as I must teach her sight words (to, the, a, etc.) and explain consonant combinations (like “th” and “sh”).

I was hoping that the Leapfrog videos (Code Word Caper) would do some of that but I found it sadly lacking in that area. It’s basically just a review of the concept of Talking Words Factory with some glossing over “complex words.” (It mentions complex words but does not break them down or do any kind of memorization technique to remember the different sounds.)

The Studydog program (downloadable for free from has a decent sight word section for practice (the bat cave). I will probably just get out mySing Spell Read & Write kit and use their tools for the combination consonant sounds. I can’t believe I get to use it already. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start “doing school” and making it a chore for her. She is still too young, IMO.) I am just happy that Miriam has finally grasped the concept of the letter sounds (which she has known for quite a while) actually forming words. You can’t really teach that concept, it has to sort of occur to them on their own.

Of course, there is still the whole area of phonics rules that she probably will not get to for quite a while. Long vowels and the rules for when they are long can be complicated. Then there are all the combination vowel sounds, too (ou, ow, oo) and unique vowel/consonant combos (ir, er, ur) And then there are a billion exception words (good old English! see Zuly’s site for some funny commentary on that).

But still, yay! In just a year she will probably be able to sit down and read books during the entire quiet time/nap time! Maybe even read to the littler ones. That sure will be handy with 4 kids.

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