Saturday, September 21, 2013

Our Reading Adventure, Part 1

Homeschool life continues on and we get more and more into the groove each day. Each week that passes I am more pleased with this decision to have our children home with us. As a friend recently said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I’m glad these short years get to be spent hanging out with my favorite people.

This week I want to start sharing our reading adventure. Reading has been a difficult area and probably the scariest part of homeschooling for me. Why it seems so hard to teach someone to read is beyond me. Charlotte Mason says, “Whereby it is plain, that this notion of the extreme difficulty of learning to read is begotten by the elders rather than by the children. There would be not little books entitled Reading without Tears, if tears were not sometimes shed over the reading lesson; but, really, when that is the case, the fault rests with the teacher.” (Vol. 1, p. 200, emphasis added) And over the last couple of years, tears have in fact been both my little one and myself. I, the teacher, pushed too fast and too soon. Lesson down, three to go.

Last year we started with Reading Made Easy. Which I believe is a good program but too much busy work for Momma with making a lot of cut up index cards. We learned some site words and it helped with word building. Lily learned her alphabet along the way using Leap Frog magnetic fridge letters. We would match the uppercase magnetic letters with lowercase wooden ones. We played games of “find the letter that makes the sound ____” until she was proficient at all the most important sounds.

This particular curriculum just didn’t excite either one of us very much. I purchased Delightful Reading, which is based on Charlotte Mason’s own ideas for teaching reading. I adore this curriculum and can’t wait to get more into the lessons. (I’ll share more on this later in Part 2.) To begin this school year we reviewed the harder letter sounds and did CVC word building. Lily finds reading hard but I believe it is due to the pressure I placed on her when I thought she should “get it” and she just wasn’t ready. Last year she had problems blending sounds even though she knew all the sounds. It was so frustrating but I now realize it is perfectly normal. She still was able to read some easy readers like Bob Books and Biscuit books.

As we began this year she whizzed through CVC word building. My sole purpose in going slow was to be her cheerleader and to build her confidence in reading. Delightful Reading’s list of possible CVC combinations is very large. Once we spent time in word building, I felt we could move beyond this word building and go a little faster but were not quite ready for the more in depth reading lessons in the program. I also began to realize Lily possibly learns a little more visually; and in fact, she was actually reading right on level for her age, (whatever that means).

So, I jumped the gun. I did something I swore I would never do. I bought Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I possibly can’t explain to you how much I hated this book. To me, everything about it was anti-Charlotte Mason. Guess who loves it? Yes, Lily. She’s flying through this book. We quickly breezed through the first 15-20 lessons to get her to a point where I felt we could do one lesson a day. She gets excited about reading. She pulled Dr. Seuss's  Hop on Pop off the bookshelf and began to read it. How wonderful it was to see the excitement in her when she recognized the words on the page! Earlier this week, I decided to pick up A Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane. Once again, she loved it. She really enjoys being able to read a book to me for a reading lesson. And I really enjoy watching her learn!

Once we are finished with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, I plan to move onto the full Delightful Reading program. (Remember, I’ll explain in Part 2, when the time comes.) My plan is also to have her practice reading out of the Treadwell Readers.

Why did I fret so when we started down this road? It truly is a beautiful thing to see this learning take place! My advice to anyone who is just beginning down this road is just what others told me, “don’t rush it.” When they are ready it will happen.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, and each child is unique. I had one early reader and one later reader and the other two fit into the *usual* time frame. They all read well once they learned. It really is a journey and not one to stress over. Enjoy it all...these are precious days! Blessings to you! Camille