I wish I could remember (from my own 3-5 year old self) when letters were just magical. When I couldn't pass a sign without trying to figure out what each letter said and what they said when they all joined together as a team. When books were a mystery waiting to be solved-whether they were a mystery or not. I think the wonder of it all is so neat to watch. This is the 3rd time I've done this (through my children-doesn't count my own experience) and I'm amazed all over again. Number 3 is picking up reading rather quickly and overall painlessly! (Not much has been painless with this child, I assure you!)
I am loving the teaching process with her. (I wish I had more time to revel in it...but that is not the case so I have to deal with reality). There are moments of frustration of course-for both of us-but the moments of triumph outshine those by far! We (as adults who have been reading for a bazillion years) take reading for granted. Until you have to teach a child why "th" doesn't say "tuh" "huh" but "tthhh" you can't know what I'm talking about. We use an excellent book to teach reading (and I use ONLY phonics based teaching. We do ZERO sight words. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so. And I'm the teacher and I said so...and the principal...you get it?). The book we use is written by Samuel Blumenfeld and is called Alpha-phonics. I am teaching my 3rd child to read using this super simple primer style book. No pictures=no guessing at words and no distractions! (What 4-5 year old needs an extra distraction while doing something as important as learning to read?). A mom I babysat for while I was a teenager (who homeschooled her 5 children through their early years) recommended it to me because it worked for all 5 of her children-various learning styles and abilities. It's also cheap and reusable. And in all honesty, I started out using a very popular, more expensive curriculum...and I hated it. So, I dumped it and got what I should've gotten in the first place and never looked back!
I think the reason that teaching reading is my favorite part of parenting/homeschooling is this: teaching is the key to everything else. If you can read, you can learn ANYthing. The world is yours. Sounds corny but it's so true. Remember The Reading Rainbow? "I can go anywhere...take a look, it's in a book..." I love to read and I love passing that onto my children.