Flannery and I are going full-steam-ahead to get her ready for kindergarten. She has not been an easy child to teach to read. She hasn't been super motivated, and in the beginning especially, she was very sensitive and afraid to get the answers "wrong" no matter what I did. Her willingness to work was pretty much zero.
So I have focused primarily on reading books to her, rather than making her learn her letters and sounds. We've done bits and pieces of it here and there with this workbook series I always talk about:
Explode the Code
And with the help of readinga-z.com.
And with the help of siblings and flashcards, games, etc...
But she had holes. She still has holes. Certain letters are hard. She isn't perfect at any of it.
At Costco last week, I broke down and bought a package of Bob Books.
Long ago, I bought a Bob Books set, back when Mary was learning to read. We used them. They were okay. It didn't seem to help all that much, and I used what remained of those tiny books off and on with the rest of the kids. Those ancient books are all gone now.
Enter Flannery and her love of stickers. The Bob Books they sell at Costco are huge, three times as big as they used to be, which is a plus. They have flashcards for sight words, which is also a plus, but most importantly, they have stickers. Lots and lots of little tiny stickers that relate to the characters. So every time Flannery reads a page, she gets to put a sticker on that page.
Holy cow, is it working! The girl is finally starting to read. Again, there are holes—certain letters like "h" and "g" present problems whenever she encounters them—but she read "jet" today all by herself, and because I bought the sight word package, she is learning words like, "saw" and "fly" and "to" and "of" and "the" and it is sticking!
I no longer stress about making sure my kids can read before kindergarten. Mary, Lucy, and Shaemus could read well before kindergaten. Calvin could not. Calvin wasn't interested. He didn't even want to try. Now he's my best reader, hands down. He reads constantly, even standing in the bathroom naked, waiting for the water to heat up (I'm always having to tell him to get in the shower and quit wasting water). I know children get labeled at the beginning of kindergarten as "struggling" if they cannot read and don't know their letters and sounds, but so be it.
Still, I am grateful for Bob Books this fine day. I'm grateful that the "sounding out click" is beginning to take place for Flannery and that she is getting excited to read!