Teaching our 5-year-old how to read

Due to the Nebraska law, Olivia didn’t make it to the preschool a couple years ago because her birthday fell three days later than the cutoff date (Darn it!). Instead, we enrolled her at the preschool at the church in town where she learned more about the alphabet, numbers, and songs.

Marie didn’t have to go that preschool because she made it to the cut-off date and we didn’t know about this program before that. So, Olivia attended preschool twice. Right now, she’s five years old and wanting to learn how to read like her sister. There are days when she airs her disappointment of not knowing how to read yet and comparing herself with Marie always comes next.

We’re trying hard to help her how to read even though I told her she’s only a preschooler and it will take time. But Marie learned to read at the age of five. So, I understand why Olivia is being hasty. Lately, Olivia has been so happy for reading two books just by herself. Of course, those are the books for her age. Easy words and pictures help her a lot.

These are what we are doing to help Olivia how to read…

Read to her. Aside from our bedtime routine, we make sure reading is part of our day. Not only nights when the girls are holding a book. We read book together in the morning, in the afternoon, and read bedtime stories at night. Reading to them helps their vocabulary by hearing new words.

Provide reading materials. It doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy. I saved all the reading materials that Marie had when she was in kindergarten where words are easy for Olivia’s age to understand. I also cut out alphabet letters and glued them on the white board where she plays and studies with it a few times. Another reading material I made for her is writing simple words like and, of, she, he, the, can, or, on, in, etc. on the white board and that makes easier for her to remember when we read a book together.

Word recognition, sounding, and repetition. Board books have easy words, numbers, letters and great pictures. That’s why these kinds of books are recommended to young children.

Books, books, books! Make books become part of their life. Expose them to books at the early age. We go to the library more often and they have their own book shelves. Our daughters have time for everything whether it’s playing, watching TV, going outside, or watch a YouTube video, but I always make sure reading a book is part of their daily activities. I don’t know how many books they have but surely they have plenty.

A few days ago, Olivia was so happy to read “Mary Wore Her Red Dress” on her own even though I know she memorized it. She recognizes each word and that makes her so proud of herself. She even brought those books to preschool and read to her teacher. Olivia came home and said her teacher told her she did a great job of reading (Yay to her!).

Although there are words that she forgets, I always teach her to “sound” the word and that’s when she gets it and becomes super happy.

Teaching a 5-year-old how to read takes patience and dedication from a parent or a teacher. But I always believe it’s a two-way street where a parent/teacher and a child need to work together. As always, it pays off when you see the development of your child when it comes to reading.


A book review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

I have a journal where I write all my favorite quotes in life from happiness to confidence. I read it once in a while when I don’t feel motivated or if there’s something bothers me or when I feel I don’t want to do anything except navigating the internet for news or articles to read. So I decided to read something meaningful—What makes someone feel confident without being misunderstood?Or, what makes other people mentally tough?

Google gave me a link through lifehack.org about 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. I find it’s so interesting after reading the entire article because with books or articles I read about a related topic to this, most of them focus on what they do while this article gives us the opposite.

I checked our local library website if they have a copy of this book but unfortunately, they didn’t have one except an audio book. So I requested our local library to get a copy of this book but I had to wait for a few weeks until I can check it out. Last Monday, I just finished reading this book and I can say this is an exceptional book to read for everyone—teenagers, housewives, professionals, etc. I recommend this because this will help us know our capabilities and discover what possible potentials we have by simply training our mental strength.

The author, Amy Morin, is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Through her profession, she learned more about her patients’ personal issues and helped them overcome it. But writing this book stemmed not only from Amy’s profession but also from what she’s been through.

At the age of 23, Amy lost her mother from a brain aneurysm. Three years later, she lost her husband. Four years later, she found a new love but a year later, Amy’s father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and the doctor told them that Amy’s father-in-law was only getting worse.

I’ve lost my grandfather when I was seventeen and it was one of the hardest points of my life because he was one of the closest people in my life. It took time for me to accept the reality that my grandfather was gone and I don’t know how someone—like Amy’s case— can deal with this kind of loss, a mother and her husband’s death in short period of time. I have so much respect for people who can handle tough situation like this because it takes a mental toughness for someone to deal with this kind of adversity. And that’s how Amy ended up writing what mentally strong people don’t do. And she came up with the magic number 13!

So here’s Amy’s list:

  1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
  2. They don’t give away their power.
  3. They don’t shy away from change.
  4. They don’t focus on things they can’t control.
  5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
  6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks.
  7. They don’t dwell on the past.
  8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
  9. They don’t resent other people’s success.
  10. They don’t give up after the first failure.
  11. They don’t fear alone time.
  12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything.
  13. They don’t expect immediate results .

I love her list and it struck a chord on me. I hope you read this book or recommend this to a friend or someone who needs some tips on mental strength. It will really change your view in life, I promise!



How I keep myself motivated to exercise

Me this morning taking a “selfie” before my morning walk!

I woke up at 3:30 this morning at the girls’ bedroom after I fell asleep reading a book to Marie. I’m sure it was only 9 p.m. when we both fell asleep and because of that, both of us woke up too early. I asked Marie that we have to go back to sleep because it’s Monday and she has to go to school. I don’t want her to feel tired during the day and won’t learn much at school. But half an hour passed, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to read a book on the couch and wait until my alarm goes off, at 5:30. I wanted to go for a walk rather than using the treadmill. So there I go got myself ready wearing a brown thick coat, black tearaway athletic pants, black stocking hat, bright yellow green tennis shoes and a pair of white gloves ( I know they don’t match but who cares, right?) but there was a rain shower when I stepped outside the house and I was worried that it would rain hard in the middle of my walking but luckily it didn’t seem like it.

So I decided to go…

At this time of the year, it’s still dark out even if it’s already 6 o’clock. I only relied on the light posts and the slight brightness on the road. It’s a mile walk from our house to the cemetery, so putting in two miles is a good start of my daily exercise.

Before there were days I dreaded to exercise especially this early in the morning. But my goal of working out at least an hour a day keeps me going because I know down the road, it’s for my own health benefits. One reason why I’m motivated to exercise is because of our neighbor who is retired. He has a strong mindset when it comes to being active and healthy. As a matter of fact, we talk more about working out, eating habits, and being healthy.

Our neighbor starts working out the time I wake up. He rides on his stationary bike at home then goes for a mile walk. So every time I see him turns on his way around, I start chasing him. I start running until I catch him then we walk together and talk until I’m in front of our house.

Dedication and patience are the recipe of keeping motivated if I want to stay healthy (as they say, think like a professional athlete!). So if our neighbor can do this every morning at this early hour, I can do it too!

Keeping my focus and mind into this fitness goal is always possible because I have the choice.

Hope you have a great start of the week, my dear readers!