This reading thing with Jay (aged 4) is getting serious. It's very clear to me that he's whole word reading and not Phonic reading words. Phonics which has been all the rage for decades it seems, breaks words down into their constituent parts, and identifies the variations in short and long vowels, as well as different sounding letters.
Jay is lapping up the individual sounds. He wants more and more. However, he has almost no ability to run the sounds together into words. That's ok, he's 4 and I'm starting him a year early.
However, once I realised this, I picked a word he'd love, and let him learn that one word whole, so he has an anchor for other words. The chosen word is...."cat". Now he's identifying "cat" throughout the book, and of course his own name "jay" if that were in the book.
But get this, c...a...t, "Yes that's right Jay, cat. Now this word is similar." r.....a.....t. What do you think he read the word as after he sounded the r,a, and t? He said, "similar"!! Very funny. But I suddenly realised he can't see the relationship between cat and rat. No idea, even if I rhyme them, or cover the c and r.
So I started to delve into how I learned to read. In the UK in the 60s we had the Peter and Jane books or Janet and John, which are whole word books now out of fashion. But get this, the research for the books was based on the fact that 12 words account for a quarter of our language, and 100 words account for half our language so it makes sense to learn those words, especially if like Jay you seem to like whole words. I'm really tempted to buy Peter and Jane books, and Go Dog Go as a learning to read book, and let's see if he can learn in weeks as opposed to months. I'm betting he can. He loves it.
Let's soldier on with phonics, which to me seems easier for the teacher to teach than the reader to learn, which is maybe why it's been "successful"