My ds did not read until he was 8. We had dabbled in Hooked on Phonics and the Bob Books and he seemed to make some progress but then would lose interest. One thing I did when he was this age that was such a huge help long term was that I'd do a chant/song in the car that had kind of a rhythmic beat that went "A says Ahh, B says Buh, C says Kuh, D says Duh" etc. and this seemed to stick in his head. Later when he was ready to read that little chant helped.
Two things that got him reading were Nintendo DS and the game Paper Mario---oh the tears of frustration when he could not read the instructions on screen!
Ds also liked listening to books on tape. The first time he actually "read" on his own he had listened to Winnie The Pooh on tape 100 times, and one day listened while holding the book, and realized he could read the words from memory. He was shocked! This was the full version chapter book Winnie the Pooh, not a picture book version. 99% of fast reading is really memory, and that seemed to click on in his brain through books on tape.
Also dh took ds to the bookstore every day from the time he was born practically and around 8 he told him he'd buy him any book he could read. Ds loves a challenge, apparently.
He went from reading almost nothing to reading perfectly by 8 and a half (meaning total fluency, adult level reading). It did happen fast when it happened!
This thread is awesome. Going through similar situation with DS and DD. Unschooling makes me feel guilty because I don't feel like I'm doing anything towards thier education. But on a deeper level, it makes sense. Anyway, it's been very encouraging to read the posts and live vicariously through your success stories. Thanks.
Just wanted to chime in that it took my DD until this year (age 10) to enjoy reading and do it on her own for pleasure. She could sound out words and read when I forced her, but she finally "got it" this year. I think it just takes some kids longer. If you read aloud together, have lots of books in the house, do a lot of reading yourself and you've ruled out learning/physical disabilities then I wouldn't worry too much about it. (I know that's really hard to do!) I think forcing kids to read before they're ready only serves to make them resentful and resistive to learning. At least that has been my experience! Good luck!
My daughter is in 2nd grade at a Waldorf school. I am thinking about homeschooling / unschooling next year, which is how I found this post.
The majority of my daughter's classmates have summer or fall birthdays when they turned 8, so they are mostly well beyond 8 at this time. 75% of the class is JUST beginning to "get" reading. Only 25% are good readers.
My point is that unschooling may have nothing to do with your child not reading. Waldorf education does not expect children to read before 8. Other homeschooling books I have read support the idea that many children are just starting to be developmentally ready to read at age 8. Unfortunately, most schools do not recognize this fact.
Sometime during your daughter's eigth year is probably the best time for her to start reading. Good luck!
Have you read Better Late Than Early? That book changed my perspective on the annual obligatory freakout that my son isn't yet reading. He's nine now, and can read more than he believes he can, but he doesn't read books yet. Lately he's been adding things to the shopping list (with very creative spelling!), so I think that may be a glimmer that a change in literacy status is just around the corner.
Harvest Moon and games like that incorporate a lot of words that I think get absorbed whether the child is paying attention or not. :)
Just coming back to post that my younger ds, now 11, has really taken off in reading just the last few weeks. We checked out Magic Schoolhouse books at the library and he's going through at least one a day and he's also taken to 'copying' the pages out in his own handwriting too and changing some words. (Great for improving skills there too!) He has a big vocabulary and he thinks they should use more big words in the books! (Great for learning to spell bigger words too!) I imagine in just a few more weeks, he'll be reading anything he can get his hands on.....similar to his brother who was also a 'late' reader.
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
My dd turned 8 in February and has only just started to really want to read for herself in the last couple of months.
She did Reading Eggs online more than a year ago and I thought that might lead to reading but it didn't at that time. She has been writing for years though as well as drawing, painting, photographing stuff, noticing signs and words out and about but being generally far more interested in socialising and creating than taking in other people's thoughts through the written word.
She has always liked me to read to her and this got more intense with longer books in the last six months or so with her choosing a chair for us to sit in and for me to read to her. As the weeks went on, she read bits here and there if she wanted to but mainly it was all me. She bought a book she liked the look of (Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles )even though she told me at the time that she couldn't read it and she picked it up every now and then and struggled through pages full of fantastical vocabulary that not even I had ever seen before. We carried on with me reading to her and then all of a sudden she realised that she could read a paragraph and another one and another one and then a whole page.
Then she announced that she could probably read any book she wanted to now and this has been a real revelation to her. I don't know what has been going on inside her head for the past few years but whatever it was has all come together and now it works.
It was when we had been reading in a more focused way in the chair for a few months that I read John Holt's How Children Learn and read his description of children in Norway (I think) taking approximately 20 hours to learn to read after only being read to by an adult in a cosy chair. No lessons, no phonics, no activities, no corrections or interruptions: just listening and then joining in but at times of their own choosing, starting and ending when they chose and in a safe and cosy environment. That gave me hope that what we were doing was 'normal' and I wasn't failing her by not being more structured or pushy.
Now she is reading Doctor Who novels. It really was that quick once it worked which reminded me a bit of when little people learn to walk then never stop!
My daughter is 8 and she can't really read yet. She always loved books though. When she wanted to be read to, we tried to do that whenever possible. We also got her audio books, often along with the actual book. She wants everything read to her. Book titles, stress sighs, food lables. It was really annoying at times. We tried phoenics. Being triligual, she asked if phoenics works differently in German and Hawaiian, which it does. She then promply proclaimed that she doesn't want to learn "that" three times.
And I can't even claim that she is doing advanced math, not that I compare my children's sucesses to "grade levels". Everyone, even homeschoolers are always aSSuming that she should read by now...because she is a girl. BOYS being late is often excused because they're boys. I am so sick and tired of realives comparing my kids. When she was four they pointed out that ds who went to Pre- k could spell his name at four and dd can't. Ds name is Jake and dd's in Michaela.
Some days she doesn't ask to be read to, so I assume that she doesn't desire being read to that day, otherwise she would ask. If she doesn't want to watch TV, I wouldn't constantly ask if she wants to either. Sometimes we spend literally all day reading, then we don't read anything for a few days. There is no annoying 30 minutes a day requirement. I also don't randomly place books around the house just to show them off. My mom mostly read when I was in bed, and I still grew up to love reading just from being read to and getting to choose my own books. I do tell my kids about books I am reading or have read and since they do into out bedroom, they do see the books we are reading laying around there
She pretty much she recognized some sight words and her name. However she very recently snuck up behind me writing email and randomly read "Aloha ahiahi". She also reads some words from memory and recognizes them in a different contest. I'm really tempted to push her now since she is so very close to reading and I really don't want to read any more Junie B. Jones. But I am not confident that it won't take too long anymore.
The way it looks like you want to teach your child is more of a "whole language" approach. This is the idea that you teach the child how to read in real world contexts. So, you should read to your child a lot and let him follow along as you read. You want him to associate the word with the sound. There are great video games and computer games out there that act as flashcards and will keep your child engaged. Some kids hate the phonics approach and it does take a while to get going. Just expose him to words all the time!
I have heard some excellent suggestions from this thread and value them gratefully. My boyfriend's son is 8 years old and going into the 3rd grade, and although he is not mine I love and care for him deeply. His mother (whom he lives with on a regular basis and is a 2nd grade teacher) is very neglectful towards him and deals with some mental issues herself. He cannot read and is in one of the "lower-stars" as far as school districts go. He is on medications and whether on or off them he goes into these stages where you cannot control him. He is abnormally hyper and tends to stay in this state continuously and it progresses when you play with him. It is often hard to keep his attention on a communication level and trying to get him to sit still for longer than 5 minutes doing anything (reading, arts and crafts--he does play video games) is impossible. I'm not sure if he is right-brained because he doesn't do arts by himself but enjoys the interaction he has with me when I engage him in different crafts. He gets very frustrated in his inability to read and pitches fits (like screaming yelling crying) and goes crazy when you strongly encourage him to read to you. I have tried Dr. Suess and Leapfrog but he feels he is too old for them. I have tried to encourage him to read off the hints and words off of video games and give different examples of why reading is so important when he grows up and how it is involved in the world around him and am always positive, patient, and calm during his episodes. My boyfriend's family is strongly Christian and believe that 'God will solve this problem' while everyone surrounding him knows how to read and does not believe that God perhaps works through people and that family is a great influence on children. To a point it is not my business, but I grew up a neglected child and remember those who stood up to help me, many of them teachers and friends not from my family. I would love any suggestions or similar experiences to perhaps gain insight from. I am going to look into the "Hooked on Phonics Master Reader Edition" and would love more information on the "Time4Reading" program mentioned in the above post--or any programs related to them. Please share if you can <3
Please feel free to private message me, from reading through these threads it seems as though there are many respectable and experienced mothers out there who might offer valuable advice.
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.
So happy is this mama.
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.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
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! :)
Mama to a bright 7 y/o girl and an exuberant 3 y/o boy Loving unschooling, 2x and natural living in Hawaii.
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/
Mama to a bright 7 y/o girl and an exuberant 3 y/o boy Loving unschooling, 2x and natural living in Hawaii.
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.