Knotta, one thing you could try with your boyfriend's son is putting together a simple treasure hunt. ie) give him a piece of paper that says where the next clue is ie) on rug etc. Then after about five of these; he finds the treasure. My son was 8 when I started this. I used to hide his stuffies and he loved finding them. They usually had a note that said something like " you found me." I did these usually once a week and I found he loved doing them. In time, they would become a little harder,. Sometimes I would write clues instead of where specifically the next clue was. ie) I go round and round - clue for the dryer. But he really had fun running around the house, outside, etc. It did take a bit of work, thinking about where to put things, writing out the notes,and then hiding the clues. But it was a lot of fun for him, I think he really liked the feeling of being successful! It also did allow us to start doing other fun reading type games.
Almost 8 year old not reading - Page 3
So happy is this mama.
Edited by aliciahorsley - 11/17/13 at 6:39am
Alicia, it is so nice to hear back from you! People often post in threads like this at a point of perceived crisis, and then life goes on, and readers seldom get to hear how things panned out. Updates like these are so helpful! And you should be very proud of your son, and of how you supported him in learning to read.
I "taught" my little brother and my daughter both to read when they were three. My brother was a faster reader and could read and comprehend novels by kindergarten. My daughter is only just now into chapter books and she is five. Not saying it to brag, just saying that maybe this method is easier than "reading lessons" and might work for you guys as well! Who knows?
When they are very young, I start them out playing games learning each letter of the alphabet. It's fun. Your son is probably past that, though.
Next comes learning the basic phonetic sound for each letter. Just one sound per letter is fine. You get to the harder stuff later. This is also a game.
Then I read obsessively to them. I read slowly and clearly and move my finger along under the words as I read them. It isn't long before they seem to pick up what is going on and it helps them get used to the left-right movement. It also teaches sight words since they can see the word as you say it. Choose books with lots of pictures and fewer words to hold their interest to the page.
Once they start to be able to sound out simple words, I give them early reader comics about things they are interested in. So, if he's a Batman fan, I'd get him Batman comics. My daughter learned to read at four from a book my friend mailed her. It's called Greek Myths by Marcia Williams. DD loved the simple cartoon pictures and the short text in bubbles. I would read her the main text between the pictures and she would read along doing the voices in the speech bubbles. It was miraculous. She loved it and now at five she is an incredibly avid reader and is at at least a third grade level.
I recommend that book! :)
Oh, I also read once about some moms who got their kids to read by getting them into an online game. I wish I could remember the name. Players had to read and type to interact with others and apparently this was simple enough and enticing enough to get their kids to learn to read and type.
Argh! What was the game? Something about dragons? Dang. Or maybe you could look up some other kind of MMO or MMORPG game which requires kids to be able to read and type short words: http://www.freemmorpglist.com/games_kids_games/
Can I ask, sorry if I've missed it but two questions:
First, does your son want to learn to read? I don't mean, does he want to hear stories or love books, I mean does he actually want to learn to read?
Second, is there anything that makes you concerned he might be struggling to learn to read? What I mean is, does his reading development seem normal, but a little behind the curve, or are there other warning signs. (nothing you have said actually has flagged up anything to me).
If he were my kid, I'd have a straightforward discussion with this about him. Does he want to learn to read? Then there are a few options to try. I think I'd make the point that not all reading methods work for all people, and he might try one and it not work as well as the others, but ultimately if he wants to learn at this point, it seems likely he will have to put in some graft. So maybe suggest he commits to a program in weekly increments rather than giving it up on the spur of the moment. What is it he actually finds difficult? Why did he decide to give up 100 Easy Lessons (my kids never liked it either, incidentally). I am a huge fan of having these conversations with kids every so often, rather than trying to second guess their learning.
Also, I'd be honest with him about my own feelings. The reality is that for my kids, reading makes it easier for me to give them some freedom. Its a skill. I don't know that I'd be as happy to let my kids roam my particular local community if they couldn't read at all. Reading does open doors, and the main consequence of not reading at age 8 is that some doors stay closed a little longer. But whether that actually matters is totally dependent on your lifestyle.
I think if you have an 8 year old non-reader who obsessively loved books (I had one of those!), the advice you've had elsewhere on the thread is great, read to him, get him audiobooks, keep reading alive for him. But not with the aim of getting him reading, unless that's the deal. Mainly because he loves reading. But the other thing is-there's a common phenomena where kids go from non-reading to advanced for their age in a very short time, and there's no mystery as to why, IMO-its because a kid who is listening to stories usually has a huge vocabulary, an excellent sense of narrative-and has quite often been listening to stories in advance of what s/he might read for themselves too. I bet your son will do this.
Any vaguely unschooly homeschool group is filled with kids who didn't learn til 8 or 9 and often I've noticed that these kids will be among the most avid of readers. My own 9 year old reads a lot, his 8 year old sister, who taught herself some time around age 6, is far less obsessive about it right now.
Every now and then I feel insecure with unschooling. Our almost 8 year old can't read and so now I am feeling very insecure.
About a year ago, DH started him with the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. At first, he loved it. Then he wanted to stop so they did. One day DS started talking about a younger friend who could read. Reading his tone of voice, I asked him if it made him feel bad that a younger friend could read and he couldn't. He said yes. I then asked him if he wanted to start reading lessons again and he said yes. They started over from lesson 1. DS loved it and was begging to do more than one lesson a day. Some days they did. They got about half way through the book this past summer and then on our family vacation (which was a month long trip visiting family) he wanted to stop. So they did. After we returned rom the trip DH asked DS if he wanted to do more lessons and he said no.
It's been 4 months. Whenever he's asked to start up again, he says no. I really feel that he thinks he can't do it and that is why he is digging his heels in about learning. DH feels totally comfortable with leaving it up to DS. But I don't. I see the insecurity in his eyes. Are there other "methods" that are better than that book that I can gently introduce?
I take it by now you have worked through your problems. For those visiting this thread I have had great results using this system helpyourchildread.net. My two children could read from the age of 5. The eldest has now gone onto gain 2 GCSE's commendable given he is only 12 years of age. My advice is to stay positive and work hard towards your goals.
I see this is an old thread that just got revived, and also that the OP's son is reading fluently now. But I thought I'd chime in to encourage anyone who may be worrying about this issue.
Dd1 just started reading fluently about a year ago when she was 12. Prior to that, she was able to sight-read some words because of computer games, but if she opened a book and tried to read even one sentence, she'd have to slowly sound out most of the words. She'd go through periods of really wanting to work on this skill for a couple of days at a time, but then drop it again and not want to do anything with it for a long time. She always has loved listening to books; I would read to her a lot and she was also into audio books, so she has really good vocabulary and comprehension; it was just the mechanics of reading that was a chore for her.
Then, right before school was about to start in our local school district last fall, she told us that she really, really wanted to go to school. I really felt like I'd be setting her up for failure if I sent her right then, and I told her I knew that if she was willing to start spending some concentrated time every day on reading, it would get easier and easier. I suggested we spend that year letting her get comfortable with reading, and also working on her math skills, and send her to school the following year. She was agreeable, and said this would give her something to work towards.
She started checking out library books that were interesting to her and spending about an hour a day reading them. She also got an idea for a novel and started writing it on the computer, got into doing online searches and got really into discovering new music on YouTube, and has been really into chatting on Facebook since being able open an account last April when she turned 13. We additionally worked on math at Khan Academy, but this work was more sporadic because she didn't enjoy it so much. She quickly made it over that hill and started reading fluently...and she started school this fall, in about the middle of August.
Even though I had no idea exactly where dd was in terms of grade levels, it made sense to me to enroll her with her age group, so I put her down for the 8th grade, and she is doing great there. We just got her midterm grade card and she is getting four A's and three B's. She initially had some trouble adjusting to some timed exercises that she has to do in language arts, but that's gotten much easier for her, and that is one of the classes she's getting an A in. In the area of writing -- spelling, punctuation, and having to write everything out by hand instead of typing on the computer are very challenging for her -- but grammar comes very naturally to her, as does spinning an awesome story.
So it really is safe to let them get around to reading in their own good time. We've followed the same approach with dd2, who is 8, and she just recently surprised us by starting to pick up books and read them to us. Both girls are really into gaming, which actually does involve reading a lot of the time, and both have heard lots of books since I've read to them, and both of these practices seem to provide a good foundation for reading.