Friday, January 11, 2013

He is READING! Woo Whooo!!!

All of the Unschoolish type parents out there who have a child who just doesn't want to read will likely understand how I feel when I say, "WOO WHOO!!!" This is a situation where pushing anything to do with reading meant set-backs. Austyn just never wanted to read. He despised most phonics programs or early readers and had no interest in knowing what the books were about or had any desire to be able to read them on his own. I took him to a specialist last year and she seemed impressed that during her assessment of him he knew what he needed to read. He just simply... didn't read. I see him pick up books now, read signs, read websites, and anything else that catches his interest. He even helped his sister read something to us and seemed so confident and happy to help her to read! I am so relieved. It's not easy to be a parent who took on the responsibility for a child to learn at home and watch a child who just won't do it. There is so much concern and worry. So, when it finally happens there is a huge amount of relief!! 

Now, a couple of things I do have to share here that may have helped a little is that Austyn realized the past year or so that he needed to learn to read. Before that, I think he really didn't see that there was any need. He finally realized that there are just a few things in his life that he really can't do with out and one of those things is to be able to read well. This must have been the one aspect that was missing before. He just wasn't ready because he didn't truly understand how much he needed to. Being interested in the content helps as well. Once he had some strong interests that pushed him enough that he just couldn't wait for me to read something to him, he decided that he would just do it on his own. It started with hockey cards, then hockey card websites, then it was Pokemon cards, then it was books on hockey, then D. Gray-Man books, and I'm sure this will continue to be a domino effect. He has excelled in his reading this past little while due to these interests driving him.

The other thing is that the specialist that assessed him suggested a different reading program to me. It is called Ball-Stick-Bird. It was way too easy for the first books, but we went through them anyway. I know that I've shared these on this site already, but we have been using them for a little while now and I have to say that they are so easy to use. The child just reads and doesn't have to master the words right away. It seems to be a fail-proof, forgiving way to learn how to read. The story line is interesting and progresses from one book to the next like a regular book series. The difficulty of words is mixed up right from the beginning so the child is reading long words right off the start, which seemed to give my son more confidence. There is a great deal of repetition so that the words are remembered more as sight words, yet there are phonic reminders/preparations thrown in before each section.

The story does seem to be more directed to boys, not that girls wouldn't like aliens or space adventures, but my son is much more interested in reading these than my daughter is. The books are not cheap and need to be ordered through snail mail instead of online. This makes it a bit of an inconvenience, but it was well worth it in our house.

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