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I feel very relieve that my youngest son, Jim who is 6 years old, now has got some interest in both reading Indonesian and English. It just a long natural journey of learning.
Jim was introduced to Indonesian alphabet when he was around 4 years old. Using typical Indonesian reading method, Jim started reading Consonant – Vowel syllable soon after that. We started with consonant N which was blended with vowels ‘a' (sounds like vowel u in ‘run'), ‘e' (sounds like vowel e in ‘egg'), ‘i' (sounds like vowel i in ‘in'), ‘o' (sounds like vowel o in ‘on'), ‘u' (sounds like vowel u in ‘full'). They become na, ne, ni, no, nu. He practiced both reading and writing at the same time. We make words using those syllables. Once vowel n blend has been mastered well, we change into different kinds of consonant blent with those 5 vowels with the same pattern like
ma me mi mo mu
ba be bi bo bu
ca ce ci co cu
la, le, li, lo, lu,
Indonesian's syllables is much easier than English' ones. The most complicated Indonesian consonant combination for Jim to read are: ng (sounds like ng in ‘sing') and ny (no english word has this sound I think). So
nga, nge, ngi, ngo, ngu
nya, nye, nyi, nyo, nyu
Took the last step of reading syllables.
When he had finished with those syllable reading, he started to practice odd number letter syllable, such as ‘-nis' in ‘manis' (means sweet), ‘-sin' in ‘asin' (means salty), ‘-hit' in ‘pahit' (means bitter).
When Jim came to this stage, I started to feed him with English Phonics. I really love
The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
I like this book because it has poems to memorise the sounds of each alphabet. We didn't finish it as Jim got bored. Anyway, the basic alphabet sounds give great contribution toward his English reading ability.
To practice his reading, we bought some simple books in both Indonesian and English. For Indonesian language, I used some old story books which belonged to Ken and Tom when they learn and practice reading. For English, Jim likes
The Cat in the Hat (Beginner Books(R))
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (Beginner books, B-2 )
It is great that Jim knows how to differentiate the reading rules in English and Indonesian. We also use some Montessori classified and nomenclature cards which are available for free around the web for vocabulary and more complicated sound blending.
However, our focus is Indonesian reading first as it is his first language. Reading both fiction and nonfiction are emphasized to get reading as a habit. In case he doesn't want to read, either his father or I will read aloud for him. Sometimes we read by turn.
Another important thing is that
- Reading is not only a mechanical process, but it is also a comprehending process. Instead of feeding him with a lot of materials, it is important for him to understand what he has read. In this case, oral narration plays important part.
- Besides an open ended comprehension, prompted reading comprehension like answering questions is also important. What I observe in Jim, he cannot read questions. He tends to answer whatever he has in his mind as long as the facts are correct.
In English, Jim has already been able finishing these books:
The Big Red Book of Beginner Books (Beginner Books(R))
He can read word by word loudly and clearly. He also understands the content as well. However, it is a bit hard for him to speak what he has in in his mind using English. He just translates it in Indonesian. Anyway, that is still a process. I don't want to get him stressful by giving too much burden.
It is good for him to start getting interested in reading considering he didn't like it at all. This is another lesson for me to follow my children personal growth. Everyone has different time to get more mature or to take more advance steps. When the time has not come yet, it is useless to be stressful.