“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!”
— A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943
As our school year drew to a close, my Cailey still had not fully mastered reading. And she most certainly had not developed a love of the written word.
She steadfastly stated that she couldn’t read. But I knew that she could indeed read a lot more words than she was giving herself credit for.
And we kept plugging away. I, by reading books aloud to her, and she, by diligently working through each lesson of “Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.”
About 3 weeks ago, she announced that she wanted to read her “The Little Mermaid” book aloud to us. This was the same bedraggled book that I bought at a garage sale nearly 20 years ago, when I was portraying Ariel at children’s parties in Los Angeles. (And btw, long red luxurious hair only served to make me look more pasty.)
I was floored. She never wanted to read aloud. She plopped herself down on the couch, and began with page 1. And continued, reading aloud as though she had been reading forever. Even the big 4 dollar words.
Since I’m not really one to get emotional…(right…have you met me?) I kept my tears to myself until later. For the next few nights, she continued reading “The Little Mermaid” until she finished. I even caught her sitting quietly during the day reading through it. I was so proud of her.
It baffles me how a child learns to read. And I’m even more baffled now that I’ve successfully taught two of my children. I don’t remember ever not being able to read. It just seemed like one day, somewhere between spit balls and eating the finger paint, it just clicked with me. And I’ve had a deep and abiding love of books ever since.
Emme learned with ABeka in Kindergarten, and caught on very quickly. Today she devours books by the armload. After plowing through all of the American Girl books, she has started on a new series, “Magic Attic Club”.
And NO, it’s not that kind of magic.
Cailey, like most things in life, preferred to take the long winding road to reading. And I’ve been around enough homeschooled children and their moms to know that each child learns at their own pace. Some are reading at 4. Others at 10. I have a very strongly held belief that it is important not to pressure or push a child into reading.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Just read aloud to them, and present them with books that will spark their interest. With Cailey, I have been picking up all sorts of books about mermaids, make-believe fairies, and of course the requisite princesses.
And I’ve had a few of you ask me how to get to the message boards (where I lurk as moderator and sandbox monitor) to share questions or parenting concerns.
I want to give you step by step instructions. If you are new to message boards, it all looks very foreign the first time you visit. It certainly did with me.
The first thing you see when you visit the site is the episode. Then, at the top click on “Community.” That takes you to a list of topics. At the bottom of the screen click on “View All Discussions.” That takes you right to the boards. You can sign in at the bottom. All you need is your e-mail address (which is never shaders don’t even get to see it) and a “handle.” Or what you want to be called.
Off topic. Did y’all ever have a CB radio in the 70’s and 80’s? I had one in my truck. My handle was Sugarfoot. Good buddy.
You can start a new discussion, or jump in on one that’s already established. We have a really great one on children’s book lists. You can see it here.
I love reading. And I’m especially fond of the library. I’d go more often if I could just keep Jensen from disrobing at the circulation desk. I’m sure the other library patrons would appreciate it as well.
Now a quiz. For you homeschooling moms, what curriculum have you found to be most effective for teaching reading? I’m still happy with “Ordinary Parents Guide” and will probably use it with Jensen next year. I also use the magnetic board and letters. Plus lots and lots of reading aloud.
And now, because I’m 7, here is a short list of book titles, not to be missed.
Adding Up by Juan & Juan
The Chocolate Bar by Ken I Havesum
Telephone Problems by Ron Number
Aching Joints by Arthur Itis
I’m Not a Mutant by Abner Mallety
The Bedpan Patrol by B.M. Nightly
Drink this Before the X-Ray by Barry Um
I Read You Like a Book by Claire Voyant