Eliza has been making great progress in her reading skills during the months since I wrote that big post about early reading strategies.
From those simplest of stories she moved on to longer ones that I wrote for her. For these I used a large font on the computer and wrote short, simple stories about things she is highly interested in. I type these up using two colors of text, alternating the colors with each sentence. This helps the reader to more easily see where the sentences end and encourages pausing between sentences. Eliza still has a little trouble with this as she tends to pause at the end of the line and not necessarily at the end of the sentence. The colors also help with tracking when moving the eye from the end of the line at the right side of the page to the beginning of the next line on the left as it's easier to see where to continue. Some examples: the 'Molly and Max' story is one of the earliest, simplest stories with short sentences and small words. 'Molly and Max' is longer and goes onto the second page.
The repetition is good practice for her and also builds her confidence as she is familiar with the stories. It also allows for work on pausing between sentences and such, as she is not struggling much with phonics and de-coding the words. As Eliza progressed with her skills I changed to a slightly smaller font and the stories got longer as well, up to two pages long.
She has also moved on to easy readers and is gradually expanding her abilities and comfort level with more and more books. This happened in quite a monumental way that I will always remember. Throughout all this reading instruction bright little four-year-old Kateri has been working right alongside Eliza and taking in all of this reading business. She read my little homemade books and Bob books and all right along with her big sister. And then one morning she made the astounding discovery that she could just pick up a book and read it all by herself, sounding out one word at a time. And then the most amazing thing was as Kateri sat at one end of the couch making her way independently through an easy reader, Eliza thought to give it a try herself at the other end of the couch.
I was in the next room marveling at the sight of the two of them each reading her own book out loud entirely by herself, word by word by word. Here is Eliza plowing her way through Syd Hoff's Chester on that momentous morning:
And they haven't stopped since. As would be expected, Kateri has taken off wildly with her reading while Eliza continues making slow and steady progress. She reads in the car
she reads in the kitchen, she reads here and there and everywhere. She likes Frog and Toad and Owl at Home and Chester and Thunderhoof. She reads to herself and she reads to her baby doll and the two little girls read to each other.
A great triumph came when she sat down and read one of her most favorite, beloved books to her dear Dad - The Fire Cat in its entirety!