Thursday, February 11, 2010

Getting Creative with reading

I started out teaching Christopher to read using Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. I LOVE this book... it's very comprehensive and logical! And it's very SIMPLE.

It's the simplicity of it that doesn't fit my boy:) He's ACTIVE!! He likes everything to be hands-on and require movement!! So reading has been going SLOW... like maybe completing a lesson every few weeks!! Painfully slow for THIS Mommy.... but I had to step back and ask myself when did teaching Christopher to read became some type of "race"!!!

So that's when I decided that him becoming a SOLID reader (a probably an excited learner) was going to require me to get a little creative and spend the necessary time to let him ENJOY learning. And that it was going to take some time but if he emerges out of "school" with a SOLID foundation, a joy for learning and a "happy heart"... then "school" has been successful:)

LOL.... let me tell you that I have a 100% little boy on my hands:) When I first picked up our workbook for him I cringed at the monster theme throughout the book.... hmm, my son LOVES it!!! He loves counting the fangs or horns. He asks to draw monsters like the book when he is finished a couple of pages. He ASKS to do his workbook... I can now handle the monsters:)

On top of his workbook and Ordinary Parents, we also use sight words... it's not uncommon to hear him SHOUTING his sight words.... yes, we play the little "say it loud, say it like a mouse, etc"... it's noisy, but he thinks it's FUN and he does it!!!! They also love flipping over the cards and then having to say the words... of course, Mommy always has to take a turn too:)

Another gem for reading has been "acting it out"!! Once he reads some words he's ready to draw a picture, make a story or build it!! I studied how to teach highschoolers math in college... not how to get my son to learn to read!!! LOL!!! So these little fun activities are totally NOT me... but honestly if he can re-read the words and remembers that the "u" says /uh/ like in "hut"!! Then count me IN!!! (Yes, I did build a hut in my living room, that Chris and Lydia played in for almost an hour!! And then Anna got a turn!!)

I'm going to be honest, even though some may whole-heartedly disagree, but I also offer a piece of candy for reading work completed with "willing hearts". I like it when they don't ask.... but when they are needing that extra motivation to read their words, I'm glad it's there. You'd think the kids would "go through" candy... but I seriously have candy from last Easter and Halloween still in my cabinets... so they obviously don't get much:)

Christopher has just finished a major section of Ordinary Parents. And the book even suggests to have a time to reveiw if they are not solid then to repeat or wait a few months. Instead of just reviewing the lessons or dropping reading, we have used a few other resources during this "break".... one is Starfall-they have a great Learn to Read section divided up by concepts!!

The other is BOB books!! I like the simplicity, how small they are (don't intimidate the kids), that they incorporate one/two concepts at a time and require kids to know sight words. The BEST news is that Chris likes these two resources, too!!!

The other day as we practiced the words for a new Bob book (keeps him from getting too frustrated when trying to read a new book for the first time), I pulled out the wipeboard to write all the words from that book. And he loved being able to pick which words he could read and wiping them off himself.... who knew, it could be soo much fun:)

The next time we did it, I pulled out the camera and actually got him doing it... gotta love the "real life" with him erasing words without reading them correctly.

I'm sure my Chris is much like other little boys! I am challenged to make his "school time" enjoyable while encouraging him to make progress!! So this video was great for me to see later and really see what he's doing (kind of like the coaches re-watching previous games... LOL!!!). And I rejoice in some of the subjects that he has taken off in... he loves science, he's got an amazing memory for facts about animals and stories, he's great at building and drawing, and he knows sooo many dinosaurs by name and what they eat..... there's a BOY for you:)

I never imagined schooling my kids at home would require soo much of my time, energy or stretch me to be creative. But it has!! And I wouldn't trade it for the world;)


Anonymous said...

Well, Kelly, when I started to read your entry I was totally reminded of my cousin. He had English lessons at school at least in class 4 (maybe even it was in class 3, I do not remember me exactly) and he simply was not interested in it. He is pretty smart and one of the best in his class, but in English he did not have the best notes and did not talk much. Then suddenly they had sharks as topic in English to talk about and the teacher told my uncle that he thought another child was sitting in front of him as my cousin totally was active in the lessons and could tell tons about sharks! So what was it? My cousin is very keen on any science topic, he has got tons of books about animals, plants etc. I think it is really a boy thing! LOL Like Chris with the monters! Be happy to have such a boy, it is amazing to see how much they know about the things that really interest them.

grandma said...

Amazing! You are doing a great job, Chris (and you too Mom).