Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Teaching Reading

Rod and Staff are the workbooks we are using presently to teach baby to read. I have to say after using about six different methods, there is no magic curriculum or method to teaching a child to read. I hate to say that, but it really is true.

What it does take to teach your children to read is a true love of reading yourself, as well as a true love of your child. Yes that is it, total requirements to teach reading to your child.

Most people that I have talked to about homeschooling seem to share in common the fear of teaching their children to read. There really is no magic to it. It is very time intensive and does take much patience and love, but other than that it is just pure fun! I tell people that the reason I chose to homeschool is so that I could teach my children to read.

I have been a lover of reading since I was a child. We grew up without a t.v. and because of that I was a voracious reader. I had read the whole Narnia series about five times by the time I was in fifth grade. I was in the gifted reading class at school and could read circles around my peers.

The interesting part of this? It did not start out this way. When I was in first grade my father died. During this time I missed lots of second grade. For this reason when we returned from my Father's funeral I was given special tutoring by Mrs. Row. She was my teacher and a very kind old white haired lady. You know it only took about two weeks before she had me reading as well as the rest of the class? Just a little one on one attention and I took off and never looked back.

That is my point. All it takes is you sitting there helping them sound out the words, reminding them what sound they are looking at, and at least a thousand times repeating certain rules that they cannot remember.

Like I said we have used many different methods to teach our children to read. The first couple of kids we used a book I checked out at the library. I copied it off (that was the day before curriculum) and off we went to learn to read. When my first born started reading, just using this little library book of sounds I was so thrilled. He took off also and never looked back. One of those kids who hide the flashlight under the bed to read after bed time.

Our fourth kid stopped me cold. He did not "respond" to our little reader. He just did not get it. The other kids were all reading by the age of five. He was six and still not reading. I was getting worried and finally just decided to wait a few months. In the meantime we began piano lessons. Guess what? Walla he had it! Yup it was the piano lessons that got the brain firing the right way and got him reading.

The next reader I had gotten rid of our copied book and was not sure what to use. About that time I found a cool book at church about teaching English as a second language using the scriptures. It was only $15.00 so I decided what the heck lets try it. I gotta tell you that at the age of four that kid was reading like a second or third grader. He is still a great reader as well as a great writer by the way.

With the sixth reader I had a challenge that I did not even know I had. Unbeknownst to us she could not see out of her right eye. She struggled to learn and finally got the reading down. She just never enjoyed it and we really had to fight to get her to read. Once we found out about the sight problem it made much more sense and now we try to get her big print and just encourage her.

Baby is using the workbooks above. She is also learning to read in Spanish at the same time, so it will probably be a little slower for her. She can pretty much read easy things already and is doing good with it. It is a blast to work with her, and I would never let anyone else teach my kids to read. I want to not only teach them to read, but also to teach them to "love" to read!

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