Posts tagged teaching jobs in China

Teaching With Flashcards

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A big part of teaching kids is flashcards. Kids love pictures, mainly because ‘a picture tells a 1000 words’ and it is easier to remember a picture. Have a look at the videos to see how I introduce a picture. I usually get the kids to show the flashcards.

   Now with flashcards you can do many things. As long as the flashcards are in plastic covers or basically indestructible there is a lot you can do. But your flashcards will be ripped, screwed up, thrown around and whatever else little kids can do. And you will be amazed at what they can do. I have my flashcards in plastic folders and the kids still manage to rip some. At one stage two kids both wanted the same card, and they both had half each and were pulling as hard as they could. The card survived but only after I took it off them. So expect the unexpected.

     For kindergarten the most common game is find the card – you put about 6 to 10 cards on the floor and call out one card and the kids has to find the card. I used to hang the cards on the blackboard, if the blackboard is magnetic. I hang around 10 on the board just high enough, so the kids couldn’t grab the cards. Then draw lines down between the cards and draw a little hand on the board. 

     To draw the hand I would get a kid to put his or her hand on the board and then I would draw around it. Next I would line up up to 10 kids, call out the name of the card, and suddenly realize how much the kids didn’t understand. Then I would call out another name, then another and another. 

     I do everything fast and the kids are running all over the place. They loved it. Next I’d get another 10 and start all over again. And that usually meant drawing the hand again. As some kids sole aim in class is to rub out everything you write on the board. This is easy to set up, just takes a few minutes and the kids love it. And you can do it many times. The kids don’t seem to get bored as they are running all over the place, and there are new pictures.

     If you do this on the floor expect the cards to be thrown around, trampled on, pulled apart and generally destroyed. So try and use the blackboard. If the board is not magnetic I have problems. In one class I tied a piece of string across the blackboard and used clothes pegs to hold the cards. It was OK except the cards keep falling of the string and then the kids would rip them apart to give them back to me. Magnetic boards are the best.

     I like to make sentences up on the board and the kids love it. See the video. Even though there are a bunch of cards on the board, the kids love it, as long as it is fast and there are not to many cards on the board. In the videos I use lots of cards, but usually I don’t use that many as the kids get lost and lose interest. 

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

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The First Teaching You Do Is A Demo Class

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Teaching Kids whether kindergarten or primary school in China is a wonderful experience. So start your working life after you leave university by going to China to teach kids. Or for that matter you can go at any age or anytime you need a change. Getting a job is really no problem, whether you get one before you leave your home country or after you arrive. Check out my book about getting a teaching job in China, and you will see how easy it is.
Now when you go for a job the first thing you have to do is a free demo class. You are put in front of a class and you teach it with a few teachers and administrators watching. So be prepared. If your demo class is good they expect all your classes to be similar.
Some demo classes are daunting. I don’t know if that is deliberate, or the school just wants to see what you can do. In some cases you are doing a demo in front of nearly the whole school. In some out of the way places that will happen, especially if you are volunteering and end up in a village. You could end up doing a demo in the village square, with the whole village watching.
I’ve had to do demo classes in a park with whoever wants to watch, watching. Quite embarrassing to say the least, but you have to soldier on.
It might be an idea to upgrade your public speaking skills. As I have had to do demo classes in lecture halls in front of around 1000 parents, teachers and whoever just dropped in. In one primary school they put me in the multimedia classroom and gave me a microphone. All I had was an overhead projector and a whiteboard. In front of me there were all the students from grade one, about 500 of them, sitting in their class groups. So expect the unexpected. For this class I used flashcards. The whiteboard was no good, because the pens where not dark enough, and the kids were too young to read. I used class groupings and the class turned out excellent. The students loved me, and that is what you want.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

Click here to go to church online

 

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Getting A Teaching Job In China

rainbowChina

Teaching Kids whether kindergarten or primary school in China is a wonderful experience. So start your working life after you leave university by going to China to teach kids. Or for that matter you can go at any age or anytime you need a change. Getting a job is really no problem, whether you get one before you leave your home country or after you arrive. Check out this book about getting a teaching job in China, and you will see how easy it is.
Now when you go for a job the first thing you have to do is a free demo class. You are put in front of a class and you teach it with a few teachers and administrators watching. So be prepared. If your demo class is good they expect all your classes to be similar.
Some demo classes are daunting. I don’t know if that is deliberate, or the school just wants to see what you can do. In some cases you are doing a demo in front of nearly the whole school. In some out of the way places that will happen, especially if you are volunteering and end up in a village. You could end up doing a demo in the village square, with the whole village watching.
I’ve had to do demo classes in a park with whoever wants to watch, watching. Quite embarrassing to say the least, but you have to soldier on.
It might be an idea to upgrade your public speaking skills. As I have had to do demo classes in lecture halls in front of around 1000 parents, teachers and whoever just dropped in. In one primary school they put me in the multimedia classroom and gave me a microphone. All I had was an overhead projector and a whiteboard. In front of me there were all the students from grade one, about 500 of them, sitting in their class groups. So expect the unexpected. For this class I used flashcards. The whiteboard was no good, because the pens where not dark enough, and the kids were too young to read. I used class groupings and the class turned out excellent. The students loved me, and that is what you want.
To find out how other teachers teach search ‘teach kindergarten and primary school’ in youtube and see what pops up. Watch some videos and get some ideas and start practicing. Master what you like so you can reproduce it in a class. Just remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, it should keep the kids happy and then your administrators are happy. I would spend a lot of time on youtube, Dave’s ESL cafe, jobteachworld and other ESL sites until you have a portfolio of material you can regurgitate in any class. Then over time you will perfect your style.
To practice your demo class stand in front of a full length mirror, so you can see what you look like, and teach to the mirror. If you do not have a mirror, turn your video cam on you and record your demo class, then watch what you look like. This way you can see what your students see and improve on it. Anyway it is a good idea to record you, so you can put your best video up on youtube or your favorite video site.
Youtube is blocked in China so use another video site. Also gmail and possibly google are blocked too now, so use another email site or take an unblocker with you, like ultrasurf. In China you can use youku and tudou, these are China youtube.
I put my video up on this site, so far it is not blocked in China – www.jobteachworld.com. This site has a section for video CVs. Watch a few of the other videos on the site to see how other teachers do their video CVs. When you have got it all together, put a video CV up so you can show the world and prospective employers your teaching style.
Your craft is teaching so perfect it. It makes life easier if you know what you are doing. And youtube can give you the ideas, you just have to practice them.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

If you can’t get to church in China try this online church

 https://slangcath.wordpress.com/

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Teaching English In China

Peter Legrove has nearly finished his new book taken from his experiences of teaching English in China. He recommends after you or your children finish university spend some time teaching English overseas. It is a great experience and you might learn the language of the future.

Teaching English As A Second Language In China

China is screaming out for English teachers. Just go to any of the teach English job sites and you will see so many jobs you will be paralyzed. Go to Dave’s ESL cafe at http://www.eslcafe.com/ and see what you can find. There are many job sites like http://www.tefl.com/, but here they would like you to study for there ESL teaching certificate, but you don’t need really need one. No one ever asked to see my certificates.

After you get to China this is the job site to use http://www.echinacities.com, This is the job site for getting jobs once you are in China. If you just want to find out about life in China have a look there. Also try out this website http://www.jobteachworld.com and do the online CV so your CV is up online.

Just remember in China a lot of sites you use everyday are blocked in China. Like youtube and Facebook. But that is not a problem just take an unblocker on your laptop or on a stick. I use- ultrasurf -and that worked extremely well. Anyway someone in China will give you an unblocker. That is not a problem. You have to take the download with you as most unblocker sites are also blocked.

I put my video CV up online on jobteachworld as it is not blocked, whereas most video sites are blocked. But you can put a video up on the Chinese video site like youku and tudou. They are possibly the two most popular sites.

Now for an introduction to China all I can say is ‘Be amazed’. I don’t think anyone outside of Asia has any idea about what you will expect and neither do you. I say “Welcome to the next superpower” because that is where China is heading. The whole place is moving, everywhere you go there are people and lots of them. And they are all enjoying life, spending money, buying things, eating out and what ever.

Get a recent copy of “Lonely Planet China” and follow it until you have a fair idea of what you can do yourself. Landing in China is very daunting, you can’t read the language and you can’t speak it so follow the book. It is chaos to the max.

Japan is very organized, Korea is not crowded but it is a bit of a disaster, until you know what you are doing. At least you can get a seat on the bus and the trains. In China forget it. Standing room only on the buses and trains, you get used to it.

Buses have numbers so as long as you know the bus number you should be able to find your way around. The subway stations are in pinyin so you can read them and it is pretty idiot proof. And a lot of the subway people speak English, or they will find somebody who does. So it is pretty good.

If you start in Hong Kong the shock will not be so great. Hong Kong is an overcrowded place that used to be the Pearl of the Orient but it got left behind as China overtook it. I used to live in Hong Kong but I never go back there now. China is the place. Hong Kong has stayed the same while China just bounded ahead. But you can get acclimatized in HK to the chaos when you go across the border.

Years ago when you went across the border between HK and China you used to go back in time. Now you are going to the future. After you come out of the immigration building, you just stroll to the railway station, about 5 to 10 minutes. Your last quiet stroll in China.

Once you get to the railway station, welcome to China. The lines to the ticket windows can be anything from 20 people to the back wall. Sometimes less than 20 but not very often. When you get to the window just say “Guangzhou” and get your ticket. You need your passport to get a ticket so have it handy. Some windows have an English sign meaning they speak English, so it is pretty straight forward.

The tickets are pretty self explanatory with the train number, your carriage number and the seat number. The trains leave every 15 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes and sometimes 20 minutes. Usually you have to wait for three trains before your train number appears on the screen. Then you follow the crowd, you wont get lost, everybody is getting on the same train. When you are on the platform find your carriage number, climb in and find your seat. Pretty straight forward. You have about 10 minutes to board the train before it takes off. Then you are barreling along at about 160 kms/hour. Not bad for your first hour in China.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China
Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

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In Most Asian and European Countries Now the Children Learn English

In the growth economies of the world most parents want their children to learn English. And they are prepared to pay cold hard cash for after school and weekend classes even though the children learn English in school. While in the supposedly Developed English speaking world the experts have changed the way children learn to read and now kids are leaving school with below standard reading levels.

They changed the system from a very effective reading method to what we have nowadays. Yet in most foreign countries where English is taught in the classroom, the children are taught English using phonics. It is no wonder the children are leaving school better educated that we are in the west. English is a part of their way of life, and if they want to get ahead in the future they must know English. So children and English go together.

Now when children start to learn English as a second language they usually learn it very early. In Asia that usually means while they are still at kindergarten. Then at school they bring in the phonics in grade 5 when the children are 10 to 11 years old. Which is a good time to start the serious learning of English.

In families where the parents speak different languages you usually find the children struggle at school learning the language that is taught at school. But when they get to high school they are proficient in both languages. It is no wonder that Asian children are some of the best students even though English is not their first language. So it looks like English as a second language and children go together overseas. But here in the English speaking world the powers to be are doing their best try and stop struggling learners learning to read English.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching in China

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

Click here to go to church online

 

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The Advantages of Online Courses [Infographic]

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Montessori Phonics Is Still Helping Children Learn To Read Even After 100 years

Phonics are the building blocks of learning to read. But lately they have taken a back seat to the Look See Method in some countries. Most students can learn to read, no matter what method they are being taught, but the struggling learners need phonics. It has been shown time and again, that phonics are a better way to learn to read, for struggling readers.

The Look See Method has the beautiful books with lots of pictures, while the phonic books are pretty drab, filled with rhyming text that don’t always make sense. But you need rhyming to learn to read. And students will learn to read using the Look See Method, but struggling students will have problems.

To be honest, I don’t know why some students learn to read easier than others, especially nowadays. But I think it has a lot to do with home life. Parents of reading kids help their kids. They don’t live in front of the tee vee, and they use the computer for knowledge, not to play games or watch videos. But that is not always the case. I had a brother and a sister in different classes, the sister was top of the class and the brother couldn’t even read. He left school to start a trade, and she went to uinversity.

In another extreme case, a girl was in the top of the class, every morning she could read the homework easily and perfectly. Then one day I asked her to read a different text in class, and she couldn’t read it. And I asked her why, and she said at night her daddy used to read the homework to her, and she would memorize it and spit it out the next day. I had serious problems with her, but with Montessori Phonics she finally learned to read. Montessori Phonics takes the student away from looking at the word to feeling the word, and that was the only way to get her to learn to read.

Back in my day when I went to school, we were taught synthetic phonics, where you learn the phonic sound then move onto words then sentences. Another method that has since become popular, is the phonics method where you start with sentences, and move back to words, then syllables, then right down to the phonic sound. Really it doesn’t matter which way your children learn to read, as long as they learn.

At the moment video and audio is taking over the internet, but to play around and work on the internet, you still have to be able to read and type. So to survive the future your children have to be able to read, write and type. Speed typing is a must for the future, as well as speed reading. There is so much information out there, that you need to process in work and everyday life, that you need to be able to process it very quickly. To survive the future you need these skills, and they all start with learning to read.

With the internet there are a number of online phonic sites, where you children can learn phonics and some are very good, I mean exceptional. But even with all the information on the internet some children do not learn by looking. Around sixty percent do, but reading starts in your ears, not with your eyes. You have to hear the phonic sound first, then match it with the written word. So if your children have problems learning to read, get their ears checked. There might be something mechanically wrong with their ears. Usually not the case. It is usually just a case of matching a learning method, with your child’s learning style.

I call this, the method of last resort, even though it has been around for over 100 years, and it started out teaching children with severe learning difficulties. This is the Montessori method of teaching reading, and if everything fails try this out. It is a hands on system of teaching reading. You just can’t plant your children in front of the computer, and expect the computer to do the teaching. You have to be there or an older sibling can help out. Basically you need to get hold of some sandpaper letters, whether block or cursive, depending on what you want to teach your children, then start teaching. You will also need a phonics chart, and some phonic sounds, which you can get of the internet for free. It is a very simple system, you make up a simple word, for example ‘cat’, in sandpaper letters. Then your child traces the sandpaper letters, while saying the word. You must emphasis the phonic sound, so your daughter can translate it to other words. Then repeat the system over and over again with many words that rhyme. A very effective system, it must be used when everything else has not worked. It is my last line of defense. If the Montessori system doesn’t work I’m lost. I don’t know if it works with dyslexic people, but it is worth a try.

Anyway for the future you need to be able to read, write, type and then learn to speed read. Probably in that order, except most students learn to read then go straight onto a keyboard, so writing gets left behind. Now it has been shown that people who write in longhand or cursive, write faster and they are also more creative. So if your children are aspiring to be creative writers, or into writing advertisements, then they should learn to write in cursive. Also at present when you sit an exam, you have to write in longhand not block letters. So until that changes, it might be an idea to bring in the cursive writing skills, to give your children the upper hand in exams.

To find out more about teaching reading using the Montessori method go to http://animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Montessori.htm and click on the picture.

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching children

Teacher Peter

secondlifechurch2aa1

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Using internet to teach multi classes with one teacher

 

Evolution of internet classroom teaching

This is how a primary school class evolved into an internet class.

This is a case study about the evolution of how teaching ESL in China evolved from teaching one class to a multi-media classroom with over 300 kids in one grade all being taught by one teacher.

To teaching one class to teaching all the classes in that grade in one school over the internet.

To teaching all the same classes in the one grade over the three different schools in the one private school company.

It is about the trials and tribulations and how having young modern teachers with internet experience and a principle who wanted to use technology even though she didn’t know very much about it herself.

The young teachers were using power point in the classrooms and the classes all had internet access. Just standard stuff nothing spectacular.

I’ve been teaching ESL to kids for a number of years so I know what I am doing. But in China you, as a foreign teacher are expected to do the unusual without any warning.

I started off my China experience in the standard classroom in a primary school with anywhere between 30 and 70 kids in a classroom. That was standard and i perfected my flashcard and drawing on the blackboard teaching.

But then In China nearly every school has a lecture hall they call a multi-media classroom, seats probably 300 and you have a book projector and a white board at the front plus a hand held microphone. It is like a lecture hall with the teacher at the bottom and most students staring down at you. To save money they figured if they put me in there I could teach all the classes at once, except they forgot to tell me that they had changed the schedule. When I got there there was every grade one student, 6 year olds, about 400 of them sitting everywhere. On the stairs and they brought in extra seats for the gap at the front. The kids were actually seated in their class, in the big hall with their English teacher controlling them. I think there was 8 classes in there.

It was a very successful class, I turned it into an entertainment event and the kids loved it, but they all knew me so that was a plus. I taught all the kids in the whole school this way. That was from grade one to six. This was my first experience of teaching a very large class.

Now we get onto the internet bit. I was back to teaching one class at a time and the school, being a private school had to upgrade to get a higher rating in the private school list in the city. So they put these huge 2 meter TV screens hooked up to the internet in all the classroom. There was one young English teacher there who spoke perfect English and had never left China, but she spent a lot of time on the internet. And she figured with my help we could join up all the classes in one grade and I could teach one class and the other classes could watch the class on the TV.

That was easier said than done as the principle said we could give it a go as long as it cost nothing. First we tried secondlife.com. I had a strange feeling that is where she went to speak English. It looked good but not really very engrossing and the kids faded out very early on in the class. It was easy to set up we just downloaded the software to most of the computers in grade 1 — 5 and 6 year olds. We had one avatar on each computer. Secondlife dropped the under 13 level I think so we were all on the main virtual world. The little kids were fascinated but the parents were not to impressed, which is nothing unusual.

But in secondlife I couldn’t do anything like the flash cards or writing on the board. So the kids could only repeat what I said. And they could yell and scream as much as they liked and they could hear themselves and they loved it. I used to call out the class number so they could repeat what I said, instead of all the classes answering at once. We all met at the Library of Primatives Sandpit in secondlife. And we could make as much noise as we wanted and nobody cared.

It was really good and we did what we set out to do. Which was one teacher over many classes. To be honest I faded out before the students as I was just repeating myself. After 15 minutes I think we were all pretty bored, so we started looking for something else.

So we tried ustream.tv. Now ustream.tv has two big glaring issues, one the screen size is fixed, you can’t go to full screen and there is no return audio, everything is done through a chat box. But it is very easy to set up and very easy for the classes to hook up to ustream.tv and watch the class. But they couldn’t join in.

It was live and I could use the flash cards and write on the whiteboard, which kept me happy. The size was an issue and after the kids realised that I couldn’t hear them they lost interest. When we were on secondlife the kids knew I could hear them so they yelled as loud as they could, and they tried to drown out the other classes.

So we went looking for a free audio and video conference call with as many windows as we could get. To teach all the classes in one grade we needed seven screens. I already had an account with oovoo.com and had used them before when they had 6 screens. Now they have 12 screens, just what we were looking for. We had to download the software just like secondlife, but the learning curve to get it all set up was pretty easy. That meant showing the other teachers how to get online and join in the class. In most of the grades there was an internet apt student that could put it all together.

Anyway we played around with the screen sizes and somehow managed to keep my screen on top so I hogged most of the screen, while the classes videos were on the side bar. Anyway the kids loved it as they could see themselves and me and they knew they were live. In most cases there was just my screen and the class screen visible to one class. We started off with all the classes on the one screen but then we slowly cut a few off. Also we could record my screen and the kids could watch it again whenever they liked.

We thought we were set and we were. The principle took a liking to ustream.tv since the whole school was linked on ustream. And the principle could give talks live to every class and to the whole school. Before she used to use the speakers now she used both.

We finally got all the bugs out of the system and everything was back to normal until. I worked for a private school company and they had a number of schools scattered around the edge of the city. The owners came and had a look at what we were doing and they were very impressed. They wanted to make sure we were not breaking any rules to do with putting stuff up on the internet. Then when they realised we were not uploading anything except me they were quiet happy.

Everything was going well until the foreign teacher left one of the other schools. Then we had to go and set up that school, so they could also receive the video lesson. It was just enough as there were 6 classes in each grade. We had a few more teething problems but we got it together. I first had to go to the other school to give lessons so the kids got to know me. And this way I could alternate between the schools to give the main lesson to different classes. I was doing that now at the main school, so I was actually teaching a different class each time.

When we had a guest teacher in who was just going to give a talk. We would either hook them up to secondlife, so the whole school could join in and listen and ask questions or ustream it. And the kids could just listen.

Having all the classes linked together gave the school a lot more options. Some teachers were worried they would lose their jobs but they were still needed to keep control of the classes during the video lessons.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Here is the orginial version on scholar

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

secondlifechurch2aa1

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How Constant Repetition Can Turn You Into A Genius

I was utterly amazed with the National Geographic program My Brilliant Brain. It is amazing what our brains are capable of. After watching the program about the girl chess master it seems that we have to somehow transfer the knowledge from our short-term memory to our long-term memory. In the story when the girl was very young the girl’s father kept showing her different chess moves from the grand masters. This constant repetition instilled her chess knowledge in her long-term memory. This is not an isolated case as the father used the same approach with the younger sisters and the three girls are now all grand chess masters.

I think a similar approach is how we learn reading. When I was a kid I think the Nuns taught me synthetic phonics at school, as that was in vogue at that time. And because we didn’t have as many distractions as the kids of today, we implanted reading in our long-term memory. We did this by reading and more reading. I lived in the library and read a lot and my reading skills now are quite good. I tried a speed-reading course and because I kept at it my reading speed improved. Speed-reading came in handy when I was reading novels or fiction especially science fiction as I love reading that. With science fiction and fantasy you have to imagine what you are reading and that takes you into another realm of speed-reading. Anyway as we get older it is easier for us to read as we have had lots of practice. We have basically implanted the words in our long term memory and we can recall them instantly. I would say very similar to the girl grand chess master. She could instantly recall the many chess moves as they were implanted in her long term memory.

Also I was brought up with a pencil in one hand and to compete in the modern world I had to learn to type. Typing involves memory and with constant repetition typing just becomes second nature like reading. I can now do it without thinking but I first had to implant the different moves of my fingers over the keyboard in my long term memory. And that is where constant repetition comes inby just doing it. To start I had to force myself but over time I settled into the new typing way of not looking at the keyboard. But it did take time. These things don’t happen over night, they just happen.

Now back to reading, I will admit when I was a kid I loved reading so I was pretty close to being a bookworm. I lived in the library and I had an endless collection of books. But it all started with phonics and once I understood the code to turn the word into a sound I understood, I could read. So getting the 44 phonics sounds instilled into your child’s long-term memory is a must. But it does get complicated with the same phonic sounds having many different spellings and meanings. So it takes time but you must get all the different combinations instilled in your child’s mind. Then they must read and read to plant the phonics sounds, meanings and spellings in their long-term memory. Learning the phonics is only half the equation they must use them as they read. This second step is quite crucial so keep them reading. Get them away from the TV and computer until everything is planted in the long term memory then they can read on the computer if they like. Forget the TV if you can.

Now, my daughter had incredible problems and it was only after I started stressing phonics that she slowly improved. Every time she asked me to say a word I would break the word down into syllables and phonics. Then I would read the phonic sounds backwards so she could see the different combinations of letters. Now she is okay but it took a lot of effort on my part. So if your kids are having problems get them started on phonics as early as possible and keep reading to your kids.

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Teaching-Reading.htm

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

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All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

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