Hello all you wise women,
It's been a long time since I posted on this board and being here again has inspired me to read through this whole forum - it's chalk-full of ideas and opinions.
So... my MIL is a school teacher who specializes in working with kids with disabilities (behaviour/academic) and her specialty is teaching kids to read. Just my luck, huh? You can imagine how much it bugs her that my 8 yo boy is not yet tearing through novels on his own. He has always LOVED being read to and we do that a lot - we also have a great selection of audio books that we play in the car all the time. I know that unschooled kids often read a bit later and when they do they soar. I'm not worried, but all the grandparents are (everyone is divorced and re-married so there are many grandparents who contribute their well-meaning advice). They don't go on and on about it necessarily, but they bring it up pretty much every time we see any of them (which is often enough) and it does get to me and I suppose I'd be lying if I said it didn't sometimes spark a seed of doubt in my mind.
My real concern though, is that they are very likely making similar comments to him, directly. He is smart and knows when an adult is anxious about his progress (I know because he is very much the type of learner who will immediately drop something he was enjoying if he senses the smallest amount of pressure). Because of this my husband and I have been super careful about what we say in front of him about his reading and we reassure him that he's doing really great and that it will come in all due time (I like to remind all these other doubters that he CAN read! He just gets intimidated by large amounts of text and will read very poorly if asked/forced to read out loud - especially if he senses pressure - so obviously they think his level is even lower than it actually is).
My ILs and parents all know exactly how I feel about the issue but I can't control what is said to him behind my back. And I know they are not evil - they likely don't perceive their words and/or encouragement as pressuring but I know them well and I'm sure this is what's happening and surely it's hindering his progress.
The only "teachy" thing we've done with reading which works for a few days on and off, is this: I read to him every night as part of our bedtime routine regardless of how much he will read on his own - but for every page that he reads from a book of his choice, he gets one "point" and he keeps track of how many he has earned. He then 'cashes them in' in exchange for extra pages that I read to him (you know, when it's time to turn off the light and they say "Just ONE more page, please!???" - this is when he can cash them in). I figure this is a win-win.
Thoughts? Thank you for reading through all that!