Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teach Your Child to Read: Have You Seen My Cat?

I'm using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my 3 year-old daughter. When we got to Lesson 96, I ordered Eric Carle's Have You Seen My Cat?, the first book on the list of books to use when you finish the 100th lesson. The book came two days later, and my daughter wanted to read it right away.

So, she did.

This book can be read before completing the Teach Your Child program. According to Scholastic Book Wizard, this book has a 1.1 grade equivalent, which means that a child who can read this book reads at (or above) a 1st grade 1st month of school level. It only has 9 words. They are: have, you, seen, my, cat, this, is, not, where. I was surprised that this was the first book on the list because, after completing Teach Your Child, your child can read hundreds of words and has gotten used to reading multi-paragraph stories. Truthfully, I was a little perturbed that I had spent $7 on this book. There are so many good books out there! Have You Seen My Cat? is just too easy.

The plot is simple: A boy looks for his cat, he encounters various cats (jaguar, tiger, bobcat, etc.), none of which are his cat, and finally finds his own cat has hidden to have kittens. The illustrations, as with all Eric Carle books, are great.

My assumption is that the authors made this Book #1 to teach your child the process that will be used for the other "kid" books you choose to use with your child.

The Teach Your Child process is this:
  1. Read the book to your child. Talk about the pictures. Talk about the meanings of any words your child doesn't know. (Essentially, do what you naturally do when reading a story to your child.)
  2. Teach your child the words that are new to him or her. This process is similar to how new words are taught in the Teach Your Child book. Make a list on a piece of paper. You read the list. Your child reads the list.
  3. Your child reads the book. You gently correct mistakes. You check for comprehension by asking questions in a gentle way, similar to the "Second Reading" comprehension checks in the Teach Your Child book.
  4. Encourage your child to read the book aloud multiple times (to Daddy, other family members, etc.).
My daughter has now read Have You Seen My Cat? five times, to me, to Daddy, to Grandma (via Facetime), to Grandpa (via Google Video Chat), and to our friend Julia.

I decided that we would skip Book #2 (Look What I Can Do) and Book #3 (We Hide, You Seek), and I ordered Book #4 (I Love You, Dear Dragon). Look What I Can Do is so easy that it doesn't even have a grade level equivalent. It's Guided Reading level (a letter system from A to Z, A being the easiest and Z being the most challenging) is A. (The Guided Reading level of Have You Seen My Cat? is B, which means that Book #1 is "harder" than Book #2.) We Hide, You Seek has a grade level equivalent of 1.7, but Scholastic Book Wizard didn't list any other scale by which to measure it. I Love You, Dear Dragon has a grade level equivalent of 1.2, but a Guided Reading level of E. (Of all the reading scales, I prefer Guided Reading. Maybe the reason why is another post later on down the road.)

I was happy to find I Love You, Dear Dragon here, including - if you scroll to the last "page" - a list of the words in the book. New words that need to be taught (Step 2 in the Teach Your Child process) are: work, who, pretty, one, make, guess, father, dragon, dear. The book looks sweet, not classic literature, but sweet. From what I could tell from the preview, it's about Valentine's Day, the boy makes a gift for his mother, and he tells his friend/dragon that he loves him.

Teach Your Child recommends reading 10 books from the list, any 10, in the order they're listed. Maybe we'll go down to Book #7 (Hop on Pop) after I Love You, Dear Dragon. Hop on Pop has a 1.1 grade equivalent, but its Guided Reading level is J. (You've got to love the way these scales don't line up with each other.)

More later. Right now it's bath time, and the bedroom floor is strewn with foam blocks, play food, and dinosaurs...

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