Just as an update to the "Chick-fil-A" post...it's working! My kids are saying "Yes, Ma'am, it would be my pleasure," several times a day and their actions are reflecting their words. Wow!!!
Reading is a big deal in our home. Not only is it important for school, but it is the key to unlocking new worlds of imagination and the Word of God. My goal is to have each of my kids reading before they start kindergarten. My oldest is in 1st grade (for another month or so) and is an amazing reader. She has fluency I never could have imagined for a 6 year old. I owe a lot of credit to my mom who did a lot to help her read. I will never forget the first world she read. We were eating dinner at Chili's and she saw the word "HOT" on a big sign. She carefully sounded it out and started saying, "Hot! That sign says Hot!". It was like the world made sense for the first time to her.
My middle daughter is 4 and has another year of preschool before she starts Kindergarten in the fall of 2012 but she is already reading some sight words and trying to sound things out. We are teaching her the same way we taught our older daughter. We read to our kids every night and sometimes before naps as well. I point to each word as a read. I teach them the letter sounds by popping in The Letter Factory dvd from Leap Frog. It is such a fun, creative way to teach letter sounds and by watching this every few days, in about a month both my kids learned all their letter sounds. Next, we do things the old fashioned way and read lots of Dick and Jane books. Those focus on sight words by repetition. Once you can recognize some basic sight words (and, the, up, down), start to learn phonics, and have a base of knowledge about context clues from doing a lot of listening to stories....you are on your way to reading! I also spend a lot of time at the library and encourage my kids to pick out books that interest them.
I hope this helps someone! I love reading and it is such a joy to see that passed down to my kids!