I have two daughters: Emma is five and Julia is six. Julia took to reading like a fish to water. Instantly, she seemed to catch on to the idea that each letter represented sounds and you could use them to built words and those words to build sentences.
Emma is a different story. When we would look at Dolch words or word families you can see her glaze over. Quickly, she'll ask, "Can I play now?" She gets her attention span from her moth...Ohhh! Look something shiny!
Where was I? Oh ya, reading. I decided to give the SMARTBoard a try. I wrote some words on the board and we read them together (I, a, the, see, cat, dog). Next we moved them around to built sentences (I see the dog, I see a dog, etc). She was able to tell me some words that rhyme with cat (rat, mat, sat hat, fat). Then she was able to use the words to make a sentence (I see the fat rat). Of course she thought that was immensely funny.
She wanted to make a longer sentence and ended up with "I see a fat rat on a flat mat." The part she liked best was when I suggested she make a picture for her sentence using Tux Paint. Yay, Tux Paint!
This experience reminded me of two important things:
1) My daughter is a kinesthetic learner.
2) It is much easier to learn when its purpose is clear.
I think this is the first time Emma has thought of herself as a reader and I could not be prouder of her.