Reading stuggles: 3 suggestions on how to work through them
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free"
Freedom in reading. All my book fanatics let out a whimsical sigh. This is my very heart. I can remember spending summers in my room reading book after book and being so happy and content.
It is so funny to me because Jude (my King of never ending questions) frequently wants to know and asks about my favorite hobby. My response every time is, read. Then (because this is not his favorite response) he will ask, "Ok, but what is your second favorite?" Ha.
You see, when I started school with Jude, the thought that his passions and interests—or strengths and weaknesses— might not be the same as mine, never crossed my mind. While I will go into that a little more in another post, I am going to share a little about our reading struggles and the things we have done to finally see the rewards of perseverance after a long, long struggle.
If you are starting off with homeschooling your kids while they are still young, perhaps preschool age through Kindergarten, you may have this quaint picture of teaching your child their ABC's, shapes, numbers, how to tell time, and trying one of the millions of Pinterest crafts at least once a week and the biggest of all, how to read! You daydream about getting to sit with your child on the couch cuddled up together in a nice blanket while you teach them how to read, as your giant list of childhood book recommendations is steam rolling through your head. Then you start thinking of the perfect time to load your child up in your minivan and buy out all your favorite collections at the local book store.
Not your daydream? Only mine?
"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller
My dream of having a child that could read and wanted to read (even a little bit) took 2 whole years. So my "today" was so so far away and felt like the biggest obstacle and wedge between me and my child.
If you have a child that easily caught on to reading— CELEBRATE!
I started Jude on his Kindergarten curriculum when he was technically still 4 (he would turn 5 a couple months into our 1st year). Looking back, I probably should have waited a year. Truth be told, I was probably just the over zealous Mom who could not wait to get started on her picturesque homeschooling journey. I also did take note of how smart Jude was and a lot of his questions in life seemed to be very well thought out, he was curious about learning and he absolutely met all the requirements for a child that would be ready to start a Kindergarten curriculum.
This week, I just want to focus on some tips for making reading fun for your less than zealous reader.
Make it fun! Boys love to be up and moving, so try to taylor their learning to the things they like to do. We have had fun putting words on cups and shooting a pyramid with the nerf gun and then reading the words that fall down. Or writing words on a big mirror and shooting the nerf gun, and whatever word a nerf bullet lands on, Jude would read it and then erase it. Reading bingo is also super easy and fun!
2. Change up the scenery
Boys love adventure, so throw a blanket down in the backyard and make a reading picnic. Build a fort in the house or hide away in a dark room and read by a flashlight or lantern. Make reading fun! I will admit this is something I probably did not do enough of, because the frustrations would take over both of us, but it was always a sweet moment when we did.
3. Create incentives
I don't know about your boy, but my boy loves a goal and a good challenge. When I give him something attainable to read with an end goal in mind, he lights up and gets focused and determined. Last summer we set a summer reading goal (by adding bubble gum to the bubble gum machine) and right now we are working on meeting our reading goal 4 weeks in a row for a special trip to Sky Zone. This kid has been diving into chapter books and audio books.
I will never forget the moment that Jude just sat on the couch, opened up his favorite book "The Giving Tree" and read the whole thing. Reading something they are interested in does make a difference. 2 years later, my "today" looks so much different. Jude gets so excited about picking out new books at the library and reads without hesitation. Happy Mama heart over here!
Here me when I say, there is not an exact equation for sure success to get a child to read right away. Each child is different with different strengths and that is ok! Love them where they are, expect the frustrations and learn how to best encourage them.
I assure you, that boy (or girl) will learn to read! It may not be his favorite past time, but he will read and he will succeed at doing it.
I can best relate it to potty training. When they are ready, they are ready. It really will just click one day, so take a deep breath and enjoy those moments together.
Take breaks, be patient, play and laugh together and it will sooth over those exhausting and frustrating moments when you just can not seem to see eye to eye.
Keep on keeping on! You can teach your child to read, you are doing a great job and make sure you are on guard from the pesky enemy who loves to throw comparison at you when you are struggling! Hold on tightly to the things that are important and teaching your child to love books is SO important. They may not know it now, but they will some day. ;)
Have a great week everyone.