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Floods in England: Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another … May

By Tate Johnston on February 12, 2014 in News, Teaching Reading

or maybe even June.

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know there has been a lot of flooding in England.

From minor frustration to really devastating ruinous stuff.

Thankfully, even though I think our house is a grand total of about 10 feet above sea-level, it hasn’t been flooded.

(Aside: The flooding has made me think about how the words good, food and flood use the letters “oo” to represent 3 different sounds! – no wonder learning to read English can be confusing.)

The worsening flood conditions have made more and more roads and bridges impassable; about 1/3 of the children in my son’s Reception class are now unable to get to school.

What’s usually a huge field near Runnymede (where the Magna Carta was signed) is now a huge, though very shallow, lake

And getting to the store or swim lessons has meant taking a number of detours/diversions, trying one way and then turning around and trying another as more and more routes have been closed over the past couple days.

On our way to swim lessons yesterday, this offered an opportunity to talk about how reading can be useful.

First, we came upon this sign:

Road Ahead Closed

So I talked with my 5 year old about how being able to read that sign was helpful and let us know we couldn’t go that way and needed try a different way.

Then, as we began to try the other way, we saw this sign:

Construction Traffic

If we couldn’t read the words, we might think: same red sign, same white lettering. This red sign probably means the same as the other red sign with white words, so this road must be closed, too, and we need to try to find a different route.

But, by being able to read the words, we knew we could still go that way.

Then at the swim lesson there was a sign saying that part of the locker room was out of order.

And as we were leaving the car park, my son said, “That one is the exit!”

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Because I read the word, “EXIT,” he replied.

“Cool. It’s really helpful to be able to read signs, isn’t it?” I said.

Then he sounded out “Chertsey Hall.” (at first he said “hal,” but then self-corrected to “hall”) and then “Crest House” and even tried out “RUTHERWYK HOUSE” (written in all caps – turns out there are lots of signs written in all caps, some pretty important ones: FIRE & EXIT for example, but more on that another time).

As we drove home, we talked about how being able to read the names on street signs or buildings could help if we were trying to find those buildings to meet someone or to deliver or pick up a parcel.

If you’re in the early stages of teaching a child to read, you may want to ask yourself: “Why would my child want to be able to read right now?”

You know why it’s important that they read, but your reasons probably have to do with things are 2, 5, 10 or 15 years in the future.

And they’re your reasons.

Why would they want to be able to read today?

I’ve come up with two main reasons, but before I tell you what I think, what do you think?

Try to think about it from their point of view.

And then let me know what you come up with in the comments below.


Ready for mine?

The two main reasons I’ve come up with are that reading is: 1) useful & 2) enjoyable.

Today’s post is about helping a child see how reading can be useful.

Last week I wrote about one way they could experience reading (actually decoding words themselves) as enjoyable using fun character names.

This week, as you’re going through the day, see if you can find ways to show your kids how reading can be useful to them to-day.

Then, share with us in the comments what you discover so we can learn together!


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Tate JohnstonView all posts by Tate Johnston


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