If you encouraged learning to read, how did you do so? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 05-22-2012, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 6 year old ds who up until now has shown little-to-no interest in learning how to read...it's not something that I want to sit down and "force" him to do, but I know that once he learns to read the rest of his self-directed learning experiences will really start to take off ~~ so I want to gently nudge him in that direction, without necessarily doing formal lessons. 

We've briefly tried "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" and it did not go over too well. *I* thought it was a good teacher's guide and that it was in a good format for the kids too: he seemed to be catching on for the few days we did it, then started refusing to do it, and here we are. shrug.gif winky.gif


 


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#2 of 21 Old 05-23-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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My ds was never receptive to being taught. And he was very sensitive to any encouragement. Pretty much, I just told him what something said every time he asked. It involved getting up and looking over his shoulder every few minutes while he was at the computer or sitting next to him while he played a pokemon ds game. He asked me to come read something less and less. Often, he would puzzle out what something said and want me to come read it because he wasn't sure or it didn't make sense and he suspected he got one of the words wrong. Not that he ever told me that. He is rather private about what he knows until he is sure. He'd find it upsetting if someone tried to get him to "sound it out" because he wouldn't have asked if he didn't need help.

 

You could try Starfall.com  It's a free phonics and reading website. Many kids like it because it's interactive and on the computer, very visual. My son hated it:-)

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#3 of 21 Old 05-23-2012, 06:45 AM
 
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Basically, lots of reading aloud of truly absorbing material.  Sometimes stuff way, way above their level.  I find it is far more important for them to grasp that there is a ton of really interesting books to read and that someday they will be able to read it all themselves for as long as they like without worrying about mom's throat getting too tired.  It's more motivating than making little words out of letters without context or repetitive and dull "Bob" books.  That said, I also talked about word patterns from time to time.  DS picked up combination sounds before individual letter sounds really got anchored for him because he had sight words like star, light, play, etc. that were easy to transmute into new words by changing the beginning sound.  We also talked about exceptions, rule-breaker words that became new sight words, and then he'd notice the same rule getting broken in the same way and realize that it needed a new rule. (e.g. Words ending in "ow" can sound like cow or snow.)  He is a highly mathematical, organized, pattern-focused person, and this is what has worked for him. We did a lot of list-making together in the early days that allowed him to gather more sight words and thus more phonemes from those sight words.  We'd pick a topic and brainstorm all the words we could think of having to do with that topic. I'd write them down and we'd hang them on the wall, or put them on cards and hide them around the room. Also important for us, not every day, only at his request.  He needed time to absorb the information and not feel like I was pushing my agenda.  That's about all I can remember about ds's process. HTH.

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#4 of 21 Old 05-23-2012, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son hates it too. lol

I'm thinking I'm going to start by getting a label maker and putting labels on everything so he can start seeing what everything is called and how it's spelled, and by making the letters of my old Scrabble game and making them into magnets and making words on the fridge. smile.gif
 


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#5 of 21 Old 05-23-2012, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mama*pisces View Post

My son hates it too. lol

I'm thinking I'm going to start by getting a label maker and putting labels on everything so he can start seeing what everything is called and how it's spelled, and by making the letters of my old Scrabble game and making them into magnets and making words on the fridge. smile.gif
 

 


That didn't make much sense. By making the letters of my old Scrabble game into magnets to make words with him on the fridge.


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#6 of 21 Old 05-23-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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I would read aloud to him a lot, read for pleasure and make lists for yourself in front of him, do activities where you need to write down what you did (maybe science experiments?), write notes to Dad or Grandma or your neighbor... just generally focus on making your home a text-rich environment.  6 is still very young for reading (I know it feels like he's falling behind, but it's very normal, really).  Until he's motivated to learn, teaching him is going to be an uphill battle, so focus on that.

 

Once he is ready to read, I really like the readers at progressivephonics.com, but my son loved the ReadingEggs website.  If your son is on the fence about reading activities, you could try either or both-- ReadingEggs is a paid website, but there's usually a code floating around for a free trial.

 

Good luck!

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#7 of 21 Old 05-27-2012, 04:45 AM
 
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My sons are 7 & 9.  With my nine yo, we did the first 60 lessons in "How to Learn to Read in 100 easy lessons." when he was 6.5 yo.  He was showing some readiness, and I think it was just the right nudge to get him reading on his own.  We also got him some Bone comic books/graphic novels at that time.  My dh read the first one to him, and he would pour over them after that, slowing reading them to himself.  From there, he's been unstoppable!  

 

I've offered to do the same "100 lessons" book with my younger ds, 7.  He hasn't been willing to do it, and I haven't pushed much.  He has an older brother who reads, and we all read, and I see amazing progress in the last two years, and know he can read quite a few words and short sentences just from observation/conversation.  Since I'm seeing progress, I am letting him find his own way, and I continue to answer his daily questions about reading words.

 

I think that we under-rate what non-readers can and will learn before books.  Getting information out of a book/screen is just one limited approach to learning.  I am reminded of a story I heard a while back about the 3 siblings who were sent outside with a bird/tree/plant guide.  The oldest sibling would read whatever appropriate information/passage to the younger 2.  The parent noticed that the younger children heard the information once, then KNEW it, and never needed to reference it again.  The reading child didn't, but relied on the book to hold the information, and would re-look things up.  Just interesting that a lot of real learning was happening by the non-readers, in part BECAUSE they couldn't rely on the book.  

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#8 of 21 Old 05-27-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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My daughter is a bit of a perfectionist and will refuse to practice something she struggles with too much.  She had the building blocks of learning to read early on (knew what words were, knew the alphabet and their main sounds, knew "how" words can be sounded out) but it didn't catch on for years.  For one thing, she prefers sight recognition over sounding out words, though now she is reading she has more patience to sound words out.  

 

For dd, it was all about the reading material.  As a family we read tons of things.  She has always been a champion listener and we managed some pretty hefty books, many of which had more archaic phrasing, but she has always enjoyed stories.  The book that got her to read (and write) was "Oceanarium" a slim little paperback with a picture of different habitats of the ocean and the creatures that live there.  She was almost obsessive about this book that I picked up at the thrift store for 75 cents.  

 

She loved for us to revisit old favorites from the library, first to "read" (recite, really) and then she actually was reading them.  I could tell the difference because in a book she knew by heart she would stumble over a word she could have recited but instead was trying to recognize it or pronounce it.

 

The next and biggest motivator was a graphic novel.  We had been reading a lot of Greek myths and folktales and "Perseus and Medusa" seemed a natural.  She loved to read the bubbles while I read the narration.  She also loves daily comics collections, like Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Baby Blues (so family-friendly until suddenly the parents are talking about "doing it".  Great.  :)  Now she is reading through her horse and pony encyclopedia.  I found some horse stories for beginning readers she seems to like, but it's been a long time coming, reading actual stories on her own.  

 

At this early age, learning to read has more to do with readiness than practice, and the solution very often is simply to wait and encouraging reading by using the library regularly, reading as a family, and reading yourself.  Then, the key for some kids is not to dumb things down-- pick books according to interest, not whether they are ready to read every word in it (and be ready to help out!)  Others like to feel confidence at reading every single word.  We actually were picking out baby books--at dd's behest-- with one word on every page.  She was quite a bit younger, and of course she chose to pick them out, otherwise I don't think it would work.

 

I generally just read the word for her when I am asked to.  Sometimes if we are reading together, I say "read while I say the word" and I run my finger along the word.  This has to be done only occasionally and with *great discretion* --she hates the finger running under the word thing normally, and can become too pedantic and off-putting.  Odd pronunciations sometimes send me into word-nerd mode, and the girls listen to what I know about the stories behind the history of the word.  (I am not recommending this.  It is part of my personality.  They're pretty patient, even interested..... but I get lucky, I think.)


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#9 of 21 Old 05-27-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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I'd never really thought about it in these terms, but for my two most highly perfectionistic kids, besides the no-brainer of a text-rich home environment, the trick seemed to be stepping-stone material where they could get most of the meaning through non-reading, but where it helped to puzzle out occasional words. In other words, a sentence, or an early reader, where the focus was on reading per se, was not the right approach for them. That set the bar too high: "try and read this." It was far better to have situations where puzzling out an occasional word was useful but not necessary. 

 

For my first-born, it was mail-order catalogs. Don't ask me why: she was a quirky kid, and she just loved looking through catalogs. She could get almost all of the pleasure she wanted from them just from the pictures. But occasionally she'd find a word or a list of words that she could muddle through and get more meaning from. It wasn't necessary, but it added a bit more information. I realized she'd been doing this when she referred to a particular blue-green-grey tint as "seafoam," a descriptor she could only ever have encountered in the bedding and towels section of the Sears catalog, long before I was aware that she was learning to read. For my ds it was Garfield comics. About a quarter of them were funny with almost no decoding skills. Lots of the text was onomatopoeic sound effects (zzzzzzz, pft, eeeeeee!) and lots of the rest drew on a very limited repetitive vocabulary. And a decoding even one word could sometimes transform a puzzling series of images into something a 5-year-old boy would laugh his head off at. The other stepping stone for him was computer menus. My eldest came to the computer later, but her younger siblings had access at fairly young ages. Many of the programs they enjoyed used textual menus. I would guess that "File" and "Open" were among the first words my ds learned to read. And they immediately opened up whole worlds of fun for him. Age of Empires and Age of Mythology in particular ... they could be played at a basic level with almost no reading ability, but every little bit more than he could read gave him access to entirely new tools, ways of playing and enjoyment. 

 

All of which is to concur with SweetSilver on the graphic novel suggestion. Perfectionists tend not to want to be seen to be trying to learn, because what if they fail? So giving them things that are enjoyable for non-readers, but which offer opportunities to increase enjoyment with small bits of decoding privately undertaken, seem to have been the trick with my kids. Comics and graphic novels are good choices. A lot of kids have learned to read from Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes.

 

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#10 of 21 Old 05-27-2012, 05:47 PM
 
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With ds, it came gradually, and naturally, and I never actually sat down to make him read anything (and he still doesn't read many books on his own). Things that seemed to help were:

1. Always turning on subtitles when watching TV together (and keeping the sound fairly low, both because we were often up later than dh and because we lived in an apartment)

2. Reading a lot to him, with the book in easy sight of him (usually snuggling up together in bed).

3. His playing a lot of computer games that he wanted to use cheats with -- he needed to be able to navigate and type in the cheat commands

4. Reading off signs and other text around us all the time, both when he asked me and as a part of describing what we were doing and where we were going.

5. Comics like Garfield and graphic novels -- at first dh would read them aloud to him, while they sat together on the couch or wherever, and later he began to read them on his own.

He seemed to be able to read a lot of things by around 6 or so, although I didn't test him on it or anything.


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#11 of 21 Old 05-27-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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 For my ds it was Garfield comics. About a quarter of them were funny with almost no decoding skills. Lots of the text was onomatopoeic sound effects (zzzzzzz, pft, eeeeeee!) and lots of the rest drew on a very limited repetitive vocabulary. And a decoding even one word could sometimes transform a puzzling series of images into something a 5-year-old boy would laugh his head off at.

This made my phonics-resistant dd have a lot of fun with sounding "words" out.  Something about "Splort!" and "aieeee!" that seems to invite children to try their hand at reading.  Especially those crazy, goofy faces that Jon gets-- the girls love that.  I never really appreciated Garfield until I read it with them and had it read to me.  The current favorite:  "'Garfield, you can be so destructive.'/  'I can?' / 'I wasn't giving you permission!!!!' /  'Too late!'"  It's also led to some impromptu acting ("Short-Attention-Span Theatre" anyone?  This is most likely to happen *right* before bedtime, of course!)


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#12 of 21 Old 05-29-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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As graphic novels have already come up, I'll recommend two series that my children (including the one who has been reading for years) love:  Fashion Kitty and The Adventures of Daniel Boom (AKA Loud Boy).  I really like that both series are kind of subversive in a fun way (for example, Fashion Kitty's mother is an advocate for "fashion freedom"). 

 

My youngest also likes the Knights of the Lunch Table series.

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#13 of 21 Old 06-05-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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My son did need some extra help with learning to read, because he was both struggling in a classic dyslexia fashion and desperate to learn (and a perfectionist). So I did sit down with him and do some systematic teaching, mainly 100 easy lessons, but also a lot of just rules about how words go together. He is very mathematical/logical and once he had those rules he was able to backfill a lot.The main problem he was having was that he just was not retaining words at all on sight, and could barely do it phonically, so I taught him in a very thorough fashion and once he had a foundation to peg stuff on he was able to go away and do all the reading practice you need to do to get fluent. In many ways, I am conscious this isn't an unschooling approach and I've had a hard time from unschoolers about it (in real life ;-)) BUT it was what he at that time needed. I think kids can want to learn to read just as much as they can want to learn to whittle or light a fire, and they can, if thats the norm in their social circle, find non-reading as hard as being the  kid in school without a tv (I was that kid and it was not always fun and board games ;- ))

 

With my daughter, its been more a case of reading words when she wants them read, keeping easy readers in the car for her, and so on. She is hardly a precocious reader (she is 6 and could probably just about manage little house in the big woods) but she just does not struggle in the same way.And she doesn't worry about whether or not she can read, which is what makes the difference for me. None of her good same age friends seem to be reading yet, and they seem pretty uncompetitive about stuff like that anyway. 


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#14 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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I think reading comics, as mentioned above, is a really good idea! After all, reading is about seeing the words and sounding out (verbally or just in your head) and comics make this all so interesting for kids. The more senses are engaged, the more that they absorb. :) 


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#15 of 21 Old 06-19-2012, 06:10 AM
 
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I have not read the response, so forgive me if some of this stuff has been said.

 

1.  read to them - often

2.  do not read for them, once they have some of the basic down.  Encourage them to read signs, instruction, etc for themselves.

3.  let them pick whatever books they want at the library.  If they are picking stuff you think is cr@p, so be it.  You can pick out some good literature for a read aloud

4.  If they have a bedtime, let them read in bed for as long as they like at night.

5.  Bring books in the car.

6.  Introduce computer games - all of which involve reading.

7.  Play language-type games.  The car is a good place - kids are often bored and you have a captive audience.  List words that rhym, list words that start with "d", basic spelling games…..

 

I will also add that I bribed one of my 3 kids to read.  I was certain she had the basics down, and was simply missing practice to gain fluency, so I bribed her - 1$ per book she read.  She earned 8$ the first month!  After that she was hooked, and no further cash for reading has exchanged hands.    I am not a huge fan of bribing, but the above list was not moving her into the next stage of reading, and I was starting to worry in earnest.

 

Good luck!

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#16 of 21 Old 06-19-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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2.  do not read for them, once they have some of the basic down.  Encourage them to read signs, instruction, etc for themselves.

 

I don't think this is what you meant, but I just wanted to mention that I've heard of a number of children who resisted learning to read because they were afraid that if they became competent, their parents would no longer read stories aloud to them and they would miss out on that wonderful, comforting, shared daily ritual. I think it's important to continue to read aloud to kids long after they become competent readers, for as long as they are receptive to the practice really. I still read aloud to my 13-year-old, and she's been reading on her own for more than eight years. It's a great way to build an appreciation of literature, to share and discuss themes and ideas, to explore genres and authors that children might not naturally choose for themselves to read, to bond, and to expose kids to ideas, vocabulary and grammatical structure that exceeds their decoding ability but appropriately stretches their comprehension.

 

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#17 of 21 Old 06-19-2012, 09:16 AM
 
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I don't think this is what you meant, but I just wanted to mention that I've heard of a number of children who resisted learning to read because they were afraid that if they became competent, their parents would no longer read stories aloud to them and they would miss out on that wonderful, comforting, shared daily ritual. I think it's important to continue to read aloud to kids long after they become competent readers, for as long as they are receptive to the practice really. I still read aloud to my 13-year-old, and she's been reading on her own for more than eight years. It's a great way to build an appreciation of literature, to share and discuss themes and ideas, to explore genres and authors that children might not naturally choose for themselves to read, to bond, and to expose kids to ideas, vocabulary and grammatical structure that exceeds their decoding ability but appropriately stretches their comprehension.

 

Miranda

You are correct - that is not what I meant.  

 

I fell into the pattern with my youngest of reading for her.  She lacked fluency and found it easier to ask me to read stuff like instructions and signs to her, rather than sounding them out on her own. In order to move her reading skills along, I made myself unavailable to her when she wanted someone to read for her.  Sometimes a little benign neglect is a good thing winky.gif  I did not want to make a big deal out of not reading for her (it seems odd to refuse to read a sign, for example, to a child that asks) but both her and I wanted her to build confidence in this area.  Without question, computer games and sites helped more than anything else in her practicing reading. She needed to build fluency before she could move onto books (with their walls of text) and computer sites reuse words over and over again, are in digestible chunks, etc.  

 

This is quite separate from bedtimes stories or read-alouds to her, which I love, for the reasons you listed above.  

 

The short versions of the above:  I did not read for her in our day-to-day life  (signs, instructions, her computer sites) when she was capable of doing it for herself.  I continued to read bedtime stories to her.  

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#18 of 21 Old 07-29-2012, 11:39 PM
 
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I have two boys - my oldest showed interest in reading but took to it slowly and it wasn't till we found a type of book he really enjoyed Magic Tree house opened up reading for him and with the help of a tutor he was off and running but not till he was in third grade.

 

My other son from an early age really showed no interest - by 1st grade he was flagged as dyslexic - by third grade he was so frustrated and so was I it wasn't till we started getting books in Audio format from Learning Ally that I was able to see an interest in reading because now he was reading at grade level and beyond.  His kindergarten teacher told me that children can understand books grade levels ahead of reading level.  I believe this to be true and sometimes we read books that are too basic for their understanding.  My dyslexic one has always had a comprehension ahead of his grade level - so though he read at 2nd grade in 4th grade his comprehension was at 6th grade.  Perhaps this may help you reconsider what you are reading.  Also if things continue in the 'non interest' you may wish to talk to her teacher and consider what other options are out there.  

 

Bribing was suggested to us at one stage by someone who had been bribed by his grandmother and it had worked for him - Alas my stubborn dyslexic had no interest in bribing but I'm all for bribing as was mentioned earlier.  

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#19 of 21 Old 07-30-2012, 12:13 AM
 
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Last year when my son was 8, he was quite resistant to learning how to read.  Part of me was trying to figure out  ways that I thought would make it fun for him. I  thought he would like treasure hunts so I decided to start writing little notes for him that led him to place after place in and outside of our house until he would find one of his beloved stuffies. These treasure hunts started off very easy,  and he enjoyed them.  Then I heard of a book called Games for Reading by Peggy Kaye. I took it out of the library and found all sots of ideas that can help with making reading fun.  So I took one of her ideas about making up a poster and modified it to what I thought would work for my son.  My husband and I drew picture of three of his stuffies on it. I titled it the Reading Buddies and had little phrases like You can do it!  We love you!  Etc. under their pictures  The next morning I had the stuffies sitting with the poster. When he discovered them he seemed to really love it.  He got excited about the idea that the stuffies wanted to help him. And then once a week the stuffies would have some game for him to play usually from Peggy's book (sometimes modified) which involved reading and a treasure hunt which was getting a little tougher each time.. Sometimes we even went shopping to find things for the reading buddies, ie) a special box to put some cards into  for their games.. After a while the stuffies would each have a book from the library that they would want him to try and read.  We would  then all play a game of spin the bottle to see who was the lucky stuffy to have their  book chosen to read. The spin the bottle game would sometimes last forever, as it was the last stuffy who would win.  He seemed to enjoy this.   A few months ago, he was talking about the Reading Buddies and was trying to say something about how much they meant to him. He said "you know if it wasn't for the Reading Buddies, I wouldn't have learned how to read."  At that time we also went shopping weekly for groceries, and I would give him a list of food for him to find. All these things seemed to help.  The other day The Reading Buddies decided it would be fun to do some math together. So they had a more advanced  treasure hunt which also included some math. I was thrilled that he seemed to enjoy it.  I find, if he enjoys what he is doing - then he seems to not mind the effort he has to put into it.

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#20 of 21 Old 07-30-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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All the suggestions above are good, and worth a try. I am a little more radical in my unschooling philosophy though, and took a different approach. Of my 3 unschooled kids, each approached reading differently. With all my kids, I read to them a couple hours a day. My favorite thing to do is to read, fiction and non-fiction, and I am sure that was abundantly clear. The house was always full of books. ElderSon taught himself effortlessly, much as he learned to walk and talk. By 4 or 5, he was reading about anything.

 

BigGirl lost interest in being read to around age 4, and really showed little interest until she was 12 or 13. I did nothing at all, beyond modelling a love of books. Any prodding or encouragement from me was met with active resistance, so I pretty much dropped the subject for years. Now, at 17, she doesn't really enjoy reading for its own sake, but values what she can get from reading. She reads, books or on the computer, many hours a day.

 

YoungSon, 16, with mondo-dyslexia and autism, couldn't read at all until he was 12. Suddenly, some neurological connection repaired itself, and he was reading. Over the years, we tried, at his request, all sorts of different methods and specialized tutors. He always quit because it just wasn't working. It was very hard for me to face that he would probably be illiterate. Trust in the unschooling philosophy that every kid will learn what they need to know was easier in theory than practice. This summer, he has independently  read the Hunger Games series. !?! I still read to him and with him occasionally.

 

The OP's child sounds like BigGirl. Even through the years that she wasn't actively or visibly reading, she was picking up the skills. At some point, she realized that reading had its own rewards, and started actively choosing to do it. She reads adult non-fiction in complex subjects that interest her (women's rights in the Middle East, medical texts and research, British history), and the occasional novel. The ten year hiatus from reading seems to have done her no harm. Looking back, it was difficult to let go of reading as a goal for her. But pushing the issue, no matter how delicately, did no good.


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#21 of 21 Old 07-30-2012, 06:19 PM
 
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We read comics, too. Baby Blues and For Better orFor Worse were our favorites.
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