What We Use to Learn Russian Reading

P1000774From the day Rocket Boy was born, he was raised in a bilingual household. I spoke only Russian to him. The Rocket Dad spoke only English. This system worked (mostly) well. And we still (mostly) use it. Thanks to this approach, Rocket Boy speaks fluent English and fluent, if accented, Russian.

But this “one parent, one language” system breaks down when it comes to reading. Since we homeschool, I teach him English reading. At some point I tried teaching both languages at the same time and that was a minor disaster. So for a while I abandoned Russian reading. We still had our daily story hour (or two) when I would read to him. But no more learning alphabet or trying to read from the primers.

But last spring Rocket Boy surprised me. Turns out, he still remembered most of the alphabet (after 4 years of no formal lessons, just me reading to him)! And because Russian is a phonetic language, he was able to read some words too! He told me that sometimes he would try to read the titles of the Russian books on his bookshelves.

Hooray! I decided to pick up where we left off. We quickly reviewed the alphabet and breezed through reading short words. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was for him to learn to read now. What took us 3-4 hours to cover when he was 5 years old, he now picked up in 15-20 minutes.

So after about three months of short (15-20 min) reading lessons, he is now reading picture books, poems and very short stories. We continue to do 15-20 min of lessons every day (not counting reading books). For now we do lots of word search, crosswords, rebus puzzles, and play games from the wonderful book Читаем и играем: Более 100 развивающих игр для малышей 4-6 лет. Автор – В.В. Мамаева.

Of course, I’m constantly looking for more ideas for him. So when I came across this collection, I was intrigued. It has reading activities that improve speed and accuracy of reading in young children. This is not a speed-reading collection though since, as the author states, teaching speed-reading to young children is not developmentally appropriate.

My next concern was whether my child would like the activities. So I found the blog of one of the authors of this collection. And there she had two free samples for download. I tried these reading activities with the Rocket Boy and he really enjoyed them and asked for more “garbled stories”.

Now, it looks like this entire reading activities collection is free as long as you help spread the word. Which I’m only too happy to do, lol. Hopefully, I will be able to get the collection, try the activities and share the results.

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