If you have a pre-reader or a beginning reader, you'll love this book! It's absolutely packed full of information for children from birth until they're reading fluently. "Miss Maggie" takes you on an informational and fun journey of teaching literacy skills--with the goal being life-long readers.
With many years of teaching literacy under her belt, Miss Maggie encourages you that reading begins at birth and includes skills such as language development, comprehension, phonetic awareness, and scribble writing. By simply talking and reading to your young child out of pure enjoyment, you are helping them to set a firm foundation for reading skills. This "emergent reader" stage takes place from birth through about age 5.
As children enter the reading phase, they begin to understand the phonetic sounds, rhymes, letter formations, and word decoding. Eventually, they put all those things together to read fluently. This stage typically occurs between ages 6 and 10.
Miss Maggie is a firm believer that "children who start out behind may never catch up." She points to things such as too much television and not enough family interaction as risk factors for a child falling behind. That's why the first part of the book is dedicated to creating meaningful family time and motivating children to read. The author strongly encourages the use of manipulatives and games. She also says that parents have the power to instill a love of reading by simply making books a part of everyday life.
The next section of the book is written in phases--from early literacy all the way through fluency. Each phase is loaded with ideas for teaching and enhancing a particular skill. The practical, easy-to-implement activities are very hands-on or game-like. In other words, they're fun! As the parent, you get to choose which activities you'd like to implement in your homeschool. The book is written in such a way that it supports your teaching, rather than setting a schedule or sequence of activities.
For example, in Phase 4 (Letters & Signs Everywhere), there is a section of letter games targeted for 3 to 5-year-olds. There are 16 concisely written activities from which to choose. Here are three of the choices: an ABC song game, finding objects that start with certain letters, and an upper/lowercase matching game. The parent chooses the activities based on what needs the most attention at the moment.
At the end of the 80-page book, there is a short list of further resources and a page of laminated manipulatives that go along with a few of the activity ideas in the book.
I found Miss Maggie to be an excellent teacher! Personally, I appreciate when others don't waste my time with too much information. Miss Maggie gives a bit of instruction about the "why's" of the teaching methods, but then she gets down to business with ideas, ideas, ideas! The activity ideas are meaningful too. They don't require too much preparation time, and they get straight to the point.
Even as a seasoned teacher, I found this to be a great resource! I also think it could be of utmost help to those who have questions about literacy development. For anyone looking to teach reading in a thorough yet non-worksheet sort of way, this book fits the bill perfectly. Even if you only have babies, this book is still appropriate for you. But especially if you have an elementary student who's a struggling reader, I believe you will find the ideas invaluable.