There are lots of ways to practice reading with a new reader: using our reading book, reading easy readers from the library, or even pointing to words on signs as we drive down the road or walk through the store. Seth shared a fun, dad way to practice a little while ago, but I thought I would share another simple idea.
We practice reading while singing hymns. Each Sunday, I sit next to my early reader and help him follow along with the words as everyone sings. I literally point to each word as I sing in his ear. It is amazing how much his reading has improved from this simple practice. It does not take any extra time on my part or any preparation. I just get to enjoy singing with my son as we sit at the chapel.
Our family also sings hymns at home. As we sing a hymn together as a family, we repeat the same process, or I let him try to keep up with the words on his own. As he memorizes a hymn, he doesn’t have to work as hard at reading the words, yet he gets to read and hear the words as we sing together.
I actually think that hymns have helped my children understand the number of syllables in a word. In a hymn, multisyllabic words are broken into the beats of the tune. For instance, in Nothing But The Blood, it is written like this:
“What can wash a-way my sin? Noth-ing but the blood of Je-sus;
What can make me whole a-gain? Noth-ing but the blood of Je-sus.”
Of course, there are added benefits to this type of reading practice. We also learn great theological truths and praise the Lord together. Do you practice reading while singing hymns?