Dear God, Please Help Me to Read Soon

Dear God, Please Help Me to Read Soon 1Yesterday we found our 3-year-old jumping on her bed and praying jubilantly, "Dear God, Please help me to read soon!" over and over again.

I think her prayer will come true sooner than she realizes. You see, she is a consumer of books. She reads them in the morning, in the car, in bed, and under blankets. She likes classic books, Disney books, Berenstain Bears books, anatomy books, audio books, and - especially - chapter books.

To date, we've read the following books aloud to her at bedtime:

We tried "All of A Kind Family," but she was disinterested. We also tried "Ivy & Bean," but I vetoed that book after the first chapter or two.

I also recently began doing "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with her each day during her sister's nap. Tomorrow will be day 4. My thoughts so far? Oddly (and unexpectedly), I ADORE the scripted text and the somewhat brainless way of teaching. The book tells you exactly what to say and when to say it. Certainly, it's a little mechanical that way, but it's only 10-15 minutes...and the ease of the system helps me to say "yes" to the lesson even when I'm feeling non-creative. On the negative side, the first four lessons have been too-too easy and I am a little bit nervous that she'll get bored of doing the same thing every day. Only time will tell. Perhaps the promise of reading will be enough to keep her captivated.

P.S. Have you ever tried praying while jumping on the bed? I think I totally want to try it.

How old were each of your children when they learned to read? What book or system did you use to teach them (if any)?

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41 comments on “Dear God, Please Help Me to Read Soon”

  1. Stephanie-
    I know this is an older post but I just happened upon a couple of positive reviews for the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” I had remembered you mentioning this a while back and decided to find the post to see what your thoughts are on that book are now. Have you still been following the lessons and has your daughter progressed? One of the negative reviews I've heard is that it can be tiresome for children who already know their letters and their sounds. This is where my 4yo is at. I'm interested in your feedback!

    1. She was enthusiastic at first, but then...became bored. The lessons are VERY repetitious (and monotonous). After a few weeks, she started to say, "Do we have to do it?" or "Can we do it tomorrow?" I decided to give it a rest because the last thing I wanted is for reading to become a chore.

      As it is right now, she LOVES reading. She pretends to read books. She memorizes books. She listens to books. She knows all of her letters, most of the sounds, and can write almost the entire alphabet.

      All that to say, I'm not worried about her progress. She's a creative, funny, observant, and loving little girl...and she's 4. (I think she's doing awesome). :)

      P.S. I checked the book out at the library...which ended up being a good call. Perhaps I'll buy it in the future? We'll see.

  2. I love your daughters enthusiasm! My daughter loves to read as well and we read every day...throughout the day and before bed. We have yet to dive into chapter books. I really would like to, yet with Jameson being just 20 months younger, he isn't quite into listening to such stories with much 'length'...and they both like being together and doing the same thing for the bedtime routine right now. I know she would love it...I just have to get to it.

    She asks me when she will learn to read on her own, and I keep reminding her that she needs to know what sounds the letters make in order to read the words properly. She has known all of the letters of the alphabet since she was 15 months old, but she has NO interest in learning the sounds yet...I am hoping this is an age thing and that sooner, rather than later she will 'get' it.

  3. Elizabeth can't read yet, but my four-year-old niece is reading. My brother in law says the only thing they did was get one of those fridge phonics sets and let her play with it. Then when reading books to her they would occasionally help her by sounding out words.

    I haven't started teaching Elizabeth to read yet (unless you count the Baby Einstein alphabet books which I suppose is following the "Teach your Baby to Read" book approach.) I have been checking out various books on the topic to see what I like though. One of my favourites right now is Superphonics by Ruth Miskin.

    I personally was an extremely late reader (actually ended up in the remedial class in grade two), so I know that there is no correlation between how early you start to read and a love of reading. I figure I'll provide the opportunity and then Elizabeth will learn at some point!

  4. Don't forget about Pippi Longstocking.

    I taught the girls how to read by moving from letter recognition to sounds to putting sounds together. I used Bob Books....I highly recommend them.

  5. My daughter is now 6 and started reading before she entered Kindergarten. She has always been ahead as far as reading goes. She's now in first grade and reading at a much higher level. My son is in third grade, reading at grade level, and my daughter can read better than him sometimes.

    My son took an interest to books at a very young age. My daughter took an interest later on. She loves to read the chapter books my son brings home from school.

    Thanks for all of the book suggestions everyone!

  6. We have that book. I never cared much for it when I used it with my son (and we eventually abandoned it with him.) But my 7-y/o was so determined to read last winter that she begged my husband to work through that book with her. She was bummed that so many of her 1st grade classmates could read and she couldn't. She's doing great now, so perhaps the book helped. Or perhaps it was just her time.

    I love the photo of her asleep with her book. All my kids go to bed with books and usually look like that when I go up to shut out their lights.

    1. Funny you should say that. My 4-year-old has become less than enthused about the book over the past fews days. Today, I asked her if she wanted to do a lesson. She replied, "Do we have to just do sounds again?" ;)

      I can understand where she's coming from. The lessons are *very* repetitive...and a little too easy.

      I think I'm going to take the book back to the library and just continue reading to her for now. No need to rush things unnecessarily...

      1. I really think the best thing we can do for them (especially at that age) is to read to them and let them have access to books. It usually happens naturally. And if they WANT to learn, they usually will. (Barring learning disabilities, of course.)

  7. I'll have to try praying while jumping on my bed! Maybe today while my son is napping...or maybe after, and we'll jump & pray together!

    I love that you're listening to your daughter's cues! Just by all the reading you do together, and by how much you value books, she's already getting a solid foundation!

  8. I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, but so far, my kids weren't too into it. How about Grandma's Attic? I am thinking of reading that to them, soon.

    1. My almost-4-year-old wasn't into it either. We read about 4 chapters and she said, "Can we read a different book?" :)

      I had forgotten about Grandma's Attic! Thank you for the recommendation. I'll add it to our library list.

  9. So cute! This is such a testament to what goes on in your darling household - lots of prayer and lots of books! My recently-turned-4-yo is also learning to read and I'm using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, which we LOVE. It's got some catchy rhymes in there that we can 'sing' all day and that helps a lot with letter recognition. Even my 2 yo is playing along! I would never push my kids into reading but my oldest has been begging to learn, so I'm happy to oblige! My daughter loved the first 2 ramona books, but then couldn't handle the stress of ramona...haha! She is more into animal chapter books now: Charlotte's Web is a favorite chapter book and full of excellent life lessons. Stuart Little is another good one and she loves the boxcar children, too. What a cutie you've got on your hands!

  10. Those are some great chapter books you are reading to her. I didn't start reading chapter books with my son till he was a little older. Impressed on her attention span!!!

    Jeremiah is a big reader. He started reading around age 5 and at about 6 was reading small chapter books! He is currently on book 5 of Harry Potter ( :

  11. We always read to our kids and they always saw us (and still do!) reading every day. I used 100 EZ lessons with my two oldest whom I homeschooled and loved it. We never did finish the book though. By about lesson 75 or so they'd have the lesson done by themselves before I could even get to the table. They are both fantastic readers!

  12. Our son falls asleep looking the exact same way every night! So sweet. He also loves all books all the time and can memorize them after only hearing them once. My husband is currently reading Peter Pan aloud to him...the real version before Disney got a hold of it. We also have Huck Finn but I need to reread that book before I decide if he's ready for it or not.

    Reading that list of books was like looking into a window of my childhood. I read every single one. I LOVED the Ramona series and can't wait until Lucy's old enough. I think those books might be more geared toward girls to capture my son's interest, no? Maybe not. But he would definitely like Boxcar Children. I'm puttig it on my list!

  13. My son loves books, but I haven't read any chapter books with him yet. Those lessons sound like a great way to introduce reading. He does like watching the "Your Baby Can Read" DVDs and can recognize a few words from that. Your daughter seems like she's definitely on the right track to becoming a pro reader!

  14. What a cute and innocent prayer! My daughter is 5 and is just starting to read. Hubbard's Cupboard has a huge array of free printable booklets for emergent readers.

  15. Have you read Pippi Longstocking with her? I remember loving those books when I was young. I'll have to think back and remember others that were special. There were OH SO MANY!
    Will you let your girls read Christy Miller? In hindsight, I am not as big a fan. :)

    1. Not yet, but perhaps in the future. I remember enjoying that book in early elementary.

      I think I will let our girls read Christy Miller when they reach high school. There is definitely some superficiality there (and some silly romantic notions), but there are also plenty of positive messages. I'd much, much rather them read those books than, say, Twilight.

      P.S. Did you ever read the Sierra Jensen and/or the Katie Weldon series?

      1. I really liked Sierra Jensen. More that CM, maybe... I haven't heard of Katie Weldon. Is that series by Robin Jones Gunn, too?
        I haven't read Twilight, but I think I agree!

        1. I liked Sierra Jensen more than CM as well. She was more "real" and I could relate to her more...she came from a big family, didn't have a rich aunt to take her to Hawaii, etc. ;)

          The Katie Weldon series is also by's her newest YA series. Remember Christy's red-headed friend Katie? She's the star of the series. I read the 1st two books and enjoyed them.

  16. Thanks for the recommendation for the reading program! I've been struggling with figuring out how to teach Lilly to read and write. I'm a secondary teacher by trade, and really don't know much about truly teaching young kids. I've been picking the brain of our Kindergarten teacher here, and have sight word lists, etc. Lilly and I do various flash cards and workbooks in short bursts - as soon as she gets tired of it we move on because I don't want her to get "tired of learning."
    She's excited about it, and I am too, but I definitely want to do it right!

  17. I started the same reading lessons with Riley earlier this summer, when she was just a couple months past her 3rd birthday. She was on board, but in the first lesson I discovered that she didn't have the motor control to write the letters, and it quickly became frustrating for her. I quickly put the book away and made a promise to both of us that we'd try again sometime this fall.

    We've been reading chapter books to, and I'd recommend the American Girl books. I read the early ones when I was a kid (Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly) and they really got me interested in American history at an early age. Riley loved The Secret Garden, but I would suggest avoiding the Junie B. Jones series. She is a little too sassy for my taste. I think we'll pick up a Ramona book next time we're at the library.

    1. I had forgotten about the American Girl books! Perhaps we'll try those next. :)

      Ramona's a little "sassy" sometimes too, but it's not too-too much. Sometimes I do substitute word choices though ("stupid," etc.).

      For the record, our 3-year-old is actually almost 4. Only two more weeks! I can't believe it.

  18. One question - Where do you find the books you use to homeschool? Are there specific site you recommend, or do you just go through Amazon?

    1. We check out a lot of books from the library. All of the chapter books listed above have been from the library. Even the "Teach Your Child..." book came from the library (but I'm going to buy that one this week!).

      Since our girls are still young, we don't use a specific curriculum yet. Perhaps when they are a bit older.

  19. I am totally going to try praying and jumping on the bed! I also loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books as a kid, I hope your daughter does too! Obviously, our 21 month old is not reading, but I am trying to instill a love of books in him. I think just keeping books around his toys has helped a lot, and he usually reads in the car too. I agree with the above commenters that it sounds like she's ready and willing to read, so I'm sure the actual reading won't be too far behind. Have fun!

  20. Stephanie,
    I love love love your little one's prayer! I had been wondering what chapter books you've been reading aloud so I'm glad to know now :). Our oldest, 4, has gone back and forth with his interest in learning letters and sounds but we haven't really pursued it much. Does the book you're going through teach them to sound out words or is it sight reading?

  21. What a precious prayer!! I'm sure she'll be reading in no time.

    We just read aloud to our oldest (and the younger 3 as well) since they day she came home from the hospital. She has learned letters and their sounds from natural curiosity and playing games with us. She started kindergarten this week, and has been able to read to herself since sometime last year. She still prefers to be read to, but I think that is just because she enjoys the time together and the chapter books that she isn't able to read on her own yet better than the simple books she can read herself.

  22. My daughter would lie in bed at night and be angry that she had to go to preschool. I will never forget the night she said, "Grace (sister) gets to go to school to learn to read and write. I get to go to school to play. I don't want to play. I want to learn. Why won't they teach me at school!" That was the end of her preschool experience. I withdrew her, and taught her how to read and write. I ended up enrolling her in public school for kindergarten and by second grade she was back to feeling about elementary school the same way she did about preschool. We are now homeschooling her and she is thriving. We are having such a great experience, my older daughter (now 10) has decided to give home learning a try.

    Teach your children when they are ready. It sounds like she is ready!

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