Friday, September 18, 2015

Encouragement for the Mom of a Reluctant Reader

So much is out there about teaching reading, whether it be in a school setting to a group of kids or at home to only one child at a time.  Most of the info provides similar tips for teaching reading.

> read aloud beginning at an early age
> teach the alphabet song
> teach the letter sounds
> teach sound blending using 3 letter, short vowel words
> read p̶a̶i̶n̶f̶u̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶b̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ appropriate early readers
> continue adding sounds and blends
> encourage child to read aloud to you or siblings
> watch them catch on to the reading thing by 2nd or 3rd grade

Most of the time this works for most kids.  Therefore, sometimes this doesn't work for some kids.  What if you happen to have kids in the latter category?  Well, you probably feel frustrated and discouraged.  Maybe angry, maybe sad, maybe like you don't know what you're doing.  I happen to have children in both categories so I know just what it looks like and feels like to have kids who pick up on reading following the general path listed above and kids who don't follow that path.  Now I know what to look for....the clues in the early years that help me know if they are going to be quick learners or struggle with reading.

But I didn't always know.  When we began this journey of homeschooling I assumed I would use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and we'd be done - they would be readers, period. done.  That didn't happen.  We did 100 Easy Lessons, Bob Books, Teaching Reading Through Literature, Happy Phonics, Starfall and probably others I've forgotten.  Obviously, she didn't just catch on, but, my stubborn attitude paid off this once because I never quit.  We just kept reading and reviewing and finally she became a reader.  Of course, now she reads for enjoyment more than any of her younger siblings.  After teaching two more who followed the typical path, I believed that I just got better at teaching reading and that was why it went so well.  Wrong!  When it was time to teach reading yet again, it was like reliving those early days all over again.  Really?  Had I lost all ability to teach reading in just a couple short years?  Of course not.  So I started researching and found out that I have a couple of kids who struggle with dyslexia.  It meant that they could indeed learn to read, but the path would take a different route.

This post is turning out to be more of a memoir than encouragement.  Sorry.  Anyway, if you find yourself frustrated or discouraged with teaching reading to your child please, please, please don't blame yourself OR your child.  Seek out a solid reading program proven to work with dyslexic or other struggling readers and stick to it.  I've been using All About Reading for the last few years and it is a solid reading program.  Peter who is 3 is already showing signs of being an early reader (he'll be the first) and I can't take all the credit.  The All About Reading Pre-Reading program has been terrific for Joe and Pete.  They love Ziggy Zebra (puppet) and they love the alphabet posters.

Most importantly, don't give up on your child if they are struggling or reluctant to read.  Search out info on dyslexia, it's more common than you might think.  Remember that your instruction is only half of the equation; the other half being your child and their readiness to begin learning to read.

To learn more about the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs please click my affiliate link below.  Thanks.