A Charlotte Mason Reading Lesson

Spelling out the words written on the board

Lately, I have been reading through Volume 1 of Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series again.  The description of the first reading lesson inspired me.  We have been working through The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.  We’ve gone through all the lessons on the alphabet and simple CVC words and it is good, but a bit boring.  So I decided to switch up our phonics instruction for awhile and do a few Charlotte Mason inspired lessons.

Here’s what we’re doing:

1.  I chose two poems; one for X-man (“Forgiven” by A.A. Milne) and one for Princess K (“The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson).

2.  For our first lesson, I did not have magnetic letters, so I ordered them from Amazon and wrote the letters from the words of the first two lines of each poem on index cards and cut them out.

Spelling out his words

3.  I gathered a little dry erase board (I got from the dollar bin at Target!), a dry erase marker, and the letters I had cut out.  Now I was ready for our first lesson.

4.  I worked with one child at a time.  I wrote a word from the poem on the dry erase board and had them look closely at the word.  I said it out loud for them and they repeated it.  Then I had them look through their letters and spell the word.  We did about 6 words that first lesson.  Then we quit for the day.

5.  The next day, we learned about 6 more words and reviewed the previous words.

6.  Next, I wrote out the words from the first line of the poem three times on index cards and cut them out.

A word treasure hunt

7.  The next lesson, I wrote each word (not in the order you find them in the poem) on the dry erase board.  The children read the word off the board and then looked through their words and found three matching words.  Then I spoke the words of the poem in order and had them find the word and put the first line of the poem together.  They then read the line they had just created.  They enjoyed this lesson- it was like a game or a treasure hunt!

8.  Then, with X-man, we took one word from the poem (“name”) and we came up with a list of words that rhyme, to reinforce the idea of the “silent e” rule which came up with this word.  So we read frame, tame, came, same, game, and flame.  X-man did not know what “flame” meant, so I lit a candle for him.  Then Z-urchin came over and put his blankie in the flame.  I quickly removed that and blew out the flame, but the acrid scent of burnt blankie lingered.  He really learned that word with all of his senses that day.

9.  Today, we reviewed the first line of the poem and worked through the second line of the poem (with Smethport magnetic letters which are so nice!), spelling out the important words.

Reading the words from the first line of his poem

10.  In our next lesson, we will do a treasure hunt for the words and put the second line of the poem together.

I think I will continue to do a mix of pure phonics instruction with the OPG and Charlotte Mason-like lessons (as best as I can tell from my reading) with quality literature (I have some good folk tale picture books that are well written that I think I might use for this).

The other thing that has been fun with phonics instruction is Leap Frog’s Talking Words Factory Code Word Caper video.  We watch it occasionally and the rules put to catchy tunes is quite helpful and fun.

It is so exciting to see my children beginning to be able to read!  I look forward to the exciting world that will open up to them as they learn to read and as they learn to love to read.

He’s got the whole thing put together

Spelling out the words to the second line of the poem “Forgiven”



5 thoughts on “A Charlotte Mason Reading Lesson

  1. Enjoying your blogs. This one reminded me of a book I was given when our son was two. Title, “How to Teach Your Baby To Read.” I read it 25+ years ago. I was not impressed at first because the first 3/4 of the book told of the success of the program, but the last 1/4 described the process and I gave it a try. Kids learn at an early age to read signs on fast food and other interesting places. So I followed the instructions, made some flash cards, and made a game of it. He caught on quickly – no phonics for age 2 but by day 4 he was telling me the word that I held up before I could say it. He didn’t quite grasp the concept of reading a three word sentence at the time, but it was a little early. By age 3 he was telling me what the letters and sounds were. Hey, who taught you the alphabet? I didn’t! He apparently picked that up during his mornings at Mom’s Day Out. Point was, before he knew what a letter looked like or sounded like, he told me what the word was. Someone asked, isn’t that like memorizing words? I asked when was the last time she had to sound out a word. By kindergarten he was reading paragraphs while other kids were learning shapes and colors. All in all, it was quite an experience! Keep up the good work, Chelle!

  2. Pingback: Our K/1st Curriculum Plan | Following Footprints

  3. Pingback: Memorable Moments | Following Footprints

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