12 November 2008

Teaching Reading

For me, this was the toughest area of homeschooling to let go of what *I* thought our learning journey should be like.

I imagined us sitting together working our way through phonics tools we had & the books the old fashioned way, so CM-ish, so wholesome, to produce an eventual reader. Sigh, not to be.

In the early days I felt a little like a failure and other seasoned CM moms would look slightly askance at what we were picking up to use. Not really what Charlotte Mason would recommend, Chelle.

I eventually chose to politely bypass the voices of reading ‘experts’ from all round and go with the needs of our learner – a little tough when you ‘believe’ in the methodology of a certain philosophy to teach your DC to read. It seems so foolish & shallow now when I type it. But what a worthy lesson I learnt.

I do take careful and thought-filled note of others recommendations, and advice, and remind myself continually that my husband and I are to teach our children and we need to find that best pathway for our family, not what someone else thinks we should do (or use) for our children.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to carry on with what is best for your child when others voices/posts become frosty with disapproval because ‘YOU' are not following what they perceive to be the correct & higher way, since it worked so well for their family.
Take courage if that is where you are. It pays to remember that their choice & learning journey is just that:
their pathway,
for their family.
And while their opinion may be very beneficial the end choice and the results rest with you.
Just do what works for your child & you. And sometimes that takes a while to prayerfully find.

Jay found the whole process of learning to read too s.l.o.w. so I had to quickly re-adjust my preferences to his need and learning style.

With both children we learnt phonics and letter recognition with

“Fridge Phonics”,
magnetized letters,
and using an eraseable marker on our ranch slider windows and, Explode The Code books and used portions of Sonlight Language Arts K (mostly the enrichment games & the dictionary sheets)..

The Ordinary Parents Guide to reading was a beneficial help (for me).
I’d picked up & put down other ‘teaching guides’.
And while I didn’t gel to the scripted dialogue in TOPG , (you say…., now get your dc to say….) the wealth of information within the book was, for me, a worthy teaching tool to have to assist me in the art of ‘teaching reading’.

Jay enjoyed BOB Books (sometimes) and then once we could see he had plateaued and was just not moving forward, nor was he even interested in trying to, we tried Headsprout.
Success! I thank God for Stefanie (Sonlight forums) for being so diligent to keep mentioning it every time a reading query came up.

Headsprout's format suited his personal learning style & personality.

He was ready, interested, & engaged in what was going on and we had a child who would pick up & read the (easy chapter) books he was interested in, real books with a story line he enjoyed.
(He likes the Thornton Burgess chapter books, some of The Magic Treehouse series, McGuffey Readers, & Raz Kids. Now how’s that for eclectic taste ).

His current favourite read, at age 8, is Bill Peet: An Autobiography

With Daisy 6, once she had some phonetic sounds under her belt, learnt by osmosis, she reads whatever  she can get her small hands on.
Though she can say all the words her comprehension of what she is sometimes ‘reading’ does not always tally up with what she understands. (IE: such as differentiating between the tricky meanings in phrases like;
I’ve spent my money.
I am spent, I can go no further.)
so we do LA and readers at her comprehension level. Some of her favourite readers are the Sonlight Levelled Reader selections (though not ICRI ) and the McGuffey’s Readers along with the same easier chapter her brother enjoys.

So, that’s the long-winded version of our reading journey.

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