Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Reluctant Reader Update

Awhile back I wrote about my son, the reluctant reader.
Here we are about a year and an half later and yes, he's still a reluctant reader.
But it is better.... most days.

We have our good and bad days but mostly they're good ones. By my calculations, he's about half a year  behind where he should be.... and I've learned to be okay with that.

Here's where we're at>>> As long as he's reading, it's good. 

So what if the book he's reading right now is a grade level below him? He's reading it and feeling more accomplished and that's so important.

And that other book that's about a half grade level above him? Well, he picked it out because it's a great guy story and involving him in the selection process gives him ownership.... which is also important. 
How do we read this book? Together. I read approximately half the chapter and he finishes the last three to four pages of the chapter. Yes, it's a struggle but he keeps at it because he so wants to find out what happens next. And that's good.
Real good.


Changing it up.
I don't make him sit in a chair to read to me. He can pretty much do whatever he wants as long as I can clearly understand him. Some days he lays on top of the table, other times he's laid on the floor with his feet on the wall, other times he walks around the room while he reads or sits on the swing (if the weather permits) and still other times he makes a pile of blankets and pillows by my chair. He's a boy and boys need motion.

And what about those days when he doesn't want to read and I don't want to fight to make him?
First off- yes, we have these days. I've decided not to feel guilty if we don't read every single day because some days, honestly, it's just not worth the hassle. I don't want my son to hate reading and sometimes, this mama just needs a break.
Sometimes I get sneaky with the reading- I have him read his grammar worksheet out loud to me (We love WinterPromise's language arts- this year the worktexts are set up as a detective solving fun crimes complete with decoding and secret messages and suspects.) Or he'll read directions to me for a project we're working on. Or reading a recipe for something yummy.

I also have him write silly stories every so often and have him read them out loud to me. Either he comes up with the entire little story or I give him a silly story starter. Sometimes we use a silly story starter at the beginning of the week and he adds a couple more sentences to it each day. 

One of the hardest parts of this is continuing to find books that interest him. He likes true stories, war stories.... you know- boy stories.
We hit the jackpot on books-to-love right before school started when my sister-in-law introduced us to the "I Survived...." Series by Lauren Tavish. These stories have fit so well into our American History lessons this year- Bonus!!! 




He also loves the "Who Was...." series (by various authors) about famous people in history.The two of us looked over the series and keeping in mind what we were studying for history, he picked two books: Who Was Thomas Alva Edison and Who Was Amelia Earhart.




Another great help this year was that The Boy was part of a book club class in our homeschool co-op. Reading the same book at home that his friends were reading and discussing it together was great fun to him. He loved the stories that were chosen also. Thanks to this class The Boy read Stone Fox (you'll need kleenex), The Chocolate Touch (so funny) and Pippi Longstocking (his very favorite- 'cause that girl was crazy!).



I continue to learn along with this boy of mine and am learning to let go of my ideas of what should be accomplished and instead enjoy the journey with him. What does that mean? Well, it means if our curriculum suggests reading two chapters a day and that's just too much for the boy, then we read one chapter and just take longer. It could mean that if a book is just not working for us and we just can't get into it and its no fun whatsoever.... well, it means we ditch that book and start another one.... without feeling guilty about it.

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