Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Reading Life


Both of my kids are "late" to read.  The late is in quotations because there are so many different standards for when children should read: the Moore's say later with their book Better Late Than Early, the schools say "during 1st grade", or "before entering Kindergarten", some online sources say by age six, and there are campaigns to get all kids reading by 3rd grade.  And there are many who say that boys should be given even more time to start reading than girls, such as Whitmire of Why Boys Fail

My son would be in third grade, and my daughter would be in Kindergarten, so by MY standards they are fine.  Despite early interest, my daughter still cannot read, and is completely unwilling to learn through phonics.  "What sound does what make?  Why do I care - I don't."  That's her response.  Our breakthrough this week has been her excitement to start "reading" a few books that she basically memorizes with me, then goes back over and reads out loud over and over and over and over and over again.  That's how I learned to read as a child (a bit younger than her, but still .... ) so I'm not too worried about it.  She's getting sight words down, for sure, because I was sneaky and "tested" her by doing a "you read, I read" trade off and pointing to words in a new book that she had seen in one of her memorized books - and she got them all.

My son is independently reading now, but still very slowly.  We went through a bit of vision therapy, and he has reading glasses, but he won't wear them.  The doctor says he doesn't necessarily need them - it's a borderline case.  At age 8, he can read anything he really wants to, but man - it was rough getting to this point.  He just couldn't/wouldn't read, until just a few months ago.  I told people about our vision therapy, but honestly no one cut us any slack because of that.  Grandparents, strangers - it didn't matter they all felt free to express their concern about when he would read.  And then, overnight it seemed, he just was.  

My plan with his reading now is to mandate 20 minutes of reading, three times a week.  That's right - you heard me - only 1 hour of reading a week.  It's not that he doesn't read other times too, but for Reading the assigned subject, this is enough.  And I absolutely do not control WHAT he reads during Reading Time.  Mostly he reads books from the library about dinosaurs.  I don't care, and I don't stress him out about it.  I ask, "did you understand what you read?" and "do you want to talk about it?" and then I let it go.

And he doesn't fight me about that, and he reads books.  As simple as that.

I love all the reading we do as a family.  My kids are in a book culture, and they love books too, so I have no worries that they won't be readers as they grow.

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