Part of Lynden's karate homework is learning Dolsch Words (which are the 220 most frequently found words in children's books, excluding nouns, that commonly cannot be sounded out). There are 220 words on his list and for every 20 he learns he gets a stripe on his belt. Lynden has learned 40+ words, which, to us, is incredible at 4 1/2 years old.
Because of these words we have him ready some stage 1 books and he's able to sound out so many more words because of it. We're quite impressed.
However, in teaching him English I've come to realize how hard it is. Sure, I speak fluent English and can write and understand it but I'm almost 30 and it's all second nature to me now (granted, I know I am not grammatically correct at all times).
First, vowels... what the heck?!?!?!? We've taught him a-e-i-o-u-sometimes y are vowels, which really just means they're a bunch of sneaky bastards. They can sounds like a whole bunch of different letters, assuming that make any sounds at all. Silent e... do we really need you?
C and K, two evil letters that can sounds exactly alike with no rules we can teach our preschooler. Sure, there's a hard C and a soft C, but can you tell me why "catch" starts with a C but "ketchup" starts with a K?
H - another silly letter. It's all relative to what the letter preceding it.
And then you get into past tense. Sure, most verbs end with "d" or "ed" but then you get the "exceptions". Tell and told; many times when Lynden was younger we would hear Lynden said "mommy, I already telled you". Do and did; again, I can still hear Lynden saying "I doed (read: dude) it already".
Thankfully we haven't had to deal with many "exceptions"
Come on? Can anyone really explain why these exceptions are they way they are? I'm willing to bet the majority of us can't remember the "rules" to most of vocabulary.
With the Internet and texting as involved in our lives as they are the grammar and spelling skills of most people have gone down the toilet. A lot of people can't tell you the difference between "there", "their" and "they're" or when to use "then" vs "than" and most people have no idea how to properly use punctuation, if they use it at all.
I wish our future generations much luck; it's hard enough for my generation and we were taught English and all the rules (I even took an English course in college so it's slightly fresher in my head... even though it was almost 10 years ago) without the distraction of short hand texts.
However, with all things considered, we are happy with Lynden's learning. He's super eager to learn this words, which helps greatly. When he's playing he takes his words and sits in his room and practices. He has this toy that sounds out letters and he sounds them out on there if he can't remember or sound out the word. He's also taken to teaching Alyssa his words (she knows a few).
Not many parents can boast having a child not in kindergarten yet who can read simple stories. If it wasn't for his karate I don't know that we would have thought to teach him words before school started.