Please reassure me that he will read - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 03-30-2014, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I started out homeschooling and evolved quickly to unschooling as I saw it work! My 10yr old dd learned to read at age 7 with little ado. Some ABC posters, starfall.com and me reading first reader books to her while using my finger to show her the words and she was reading within a week of asking to read, reading well above grade level by the end of the month. My 6 year old ds has shown the same enthusiasm (will turn 7 this month) and we are following the same course. I don't have to tell him to get on starfall.com, he's there. He reminds me to read to him, he loves reading, much like his sister.

 

But my 9yr old ds. Sigh. He actively resists anything that smacks of "teaching" him. I know he knows more than he lets on, I've seen him read a few small words. He knows all the letters and the sounds they make. I understand that when tested as teenagers there are no differences in skill between early vs. late readers. However. To me, 7 was late. 9 is getting worrisome and his brother is going to fly right past him. I'm worried this might damage his self esteem but I can't hold my 7yr old back. I worry that he will never read because he isn't motivated to. The other kids were very motivated and love books. This child doesn't dislike books, he'd just rather be outside or playing with his lizards etc. Although last trip the bookstore saw him spend about twenty minutes picking out just the right book about lizards (and not from the kids section, he knows everything about reptiles that a kids book has to say, we had to go to the nature and science section). I didn't help him pick, I was busy with a nursing baby. How did he do that if he isn't reading more than he lets on? His sister probably helped. 

 

My 22 year old public schooled ds just moved back home and has been a constant source of conflict, harping on me about how I'm making his brother dumb and the weird kid who can't read. There is some truth to the fact that I haven't been on top of things lately, I had a difficult pregnancy and a very demanding/clingy baby. However, I feel that I didn't have to put in much effort with dd due to her natural inclination to read. I want to trust that will learn when he's ready, but what if he never is? 

 

(deep calming breath) I realize part of my issue is that some of what my older ds says gets to me. Especially when my mother echos him. I am open to any suggestions, advice or personal stories that relate! Thank you in advance, I always find help and support here!


~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#2 of 13 Old 03-30-2014, 10:10 PM
 
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Maybe he is reading more than you know, but he doesn't want to tell you.  Could your older DS help him in a nonjudgmental way?  My kids preferred writing to reading for a long time, and they enjoyed writing stories at age 9 or 10.  So even if he doesn't really enjoy reading, writing might appeal to him.

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#3 of 13 Old 03-30-2014, 11:59 PM
 
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This is why I think he will be fine

 

Although last trip the bookstore saw him spend about twenty minutes picking out just the right book about lizards (and not from the kids section, he knows everything about reptiles that a kids book has to say, we had to go to the nature and science section)

 

(sorry can't quote and quotation marks won't work-UK keyboard, US site)

 

Its not that, as you say, he had to pick the book out alone although I agree that that indicates greater skills than he's letting on.

 

Its that that, to me, very clearly shows that he's interested enough in his current interest to seek out quite complex information and IME that will provide him with the motivation to keep at it with the reading. 

 

Some kids just aren't as into fiction. That doesn't mean that they don't enjoy reading. I believe strongly that one real reason kids learn to read at different ages is simply that not all kids are motivated at an early age by the offerings for independent reading. And not all kids want to read themselves at a young age, some like hearing the story and don't need to read it for themselves. It really does not make them any less capable. 

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#4 of 13 Old 03-31-2014, 06:28 AM
 
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I've read that boys often read later than girls, so I wouldn't worry too much in comparing him to his sister. 

 

As far as the real concern, that he's not reading (or not reading to par), it may be that he reads just fine, but simply doesn't have an interest in reading. My boys are 10 & 13, and both are only recently developing a true interest in reading without me to push them to do so. For them, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has done amazing things to get them to read. It's a matter of finding books that fit their interests. I pay attention to what my kids are currently into (right now, for my oldest it's lizards and gardening, my youngest lizards and video games), and I try to find boos that will play to those interests. As interests change, I try to change the books to keep the reading going. If it doesn't interest them, they won't read it. So I never force them to finish a book if they express disinterest - it drives me nuts, because I tend to be one to finish a book even if I'm hating it, but I know that if I force them to finish it when they're not into it, it's not going to encourage a love of reading. Letting them decide what interests them, and whether or not to read a book, encourages them to develop their own taste in books, and lets them see that books truly are wonderful. 

 

The only exception I have to this is the books we read together as a family (currently, Sherlock Holmes). I pick things that interest them, like Jules Vernes's books or the Sherlock Holmes books (we love Elementary), but if they show a lack of interest in whichever book we're currently reading (or rather, I'm reading aloud and they're following along), we keep going anyway. We use it to open a discussion of why one or more of us liked the book and others didn't, what was good and what wasn't, and it makes them think a bit harder as we pick the next book. They've changed from choosing based on a title that sounds good to asking for more details about what the book is about - and that's what I wanted. 

 

Have you sat down with him and asked him about his reading? I would start there. I would ask him how he feels about reading in general, and about his reading skills in particular. You might find he just doesn't like reading much but is perfectly happy with his skill level, even knowing that his brother will pass him. Alternatively, the sudden realization that his brother is about to blow right by him just might be the push he needs to start trying harder, if in fact he is just not trying that hard. 

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#5 of 13 Old 03-31-2014, 07:56 AM
 
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Only adding:  I hope your oldest is saying these things to you privately, out of earshot.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
 

My 22 year old public schooled ds just moved back home and has been a constant source of conflict, harping on me about how I'm making his brother dumb and the weird kid who can't read. 


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#6 of 13 Old 04-05-2014, 06:52 AM
 
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Sounds a bit like my son... When he was 8 1/2, he had to take a standardized test to comply with our state's homeschool law. I knew he had a bunch of site words but that was it. He really surprised me in that he did know more than he was letting on. He just didn't like guessing or demonstrating anything he wasn't positive about. He is now 12 1/2 yo but still has never read a book. He reads fine but he reads for information. He reads things online. He reads directions for science kits. But he does not like handling books and keeping track of what line or page he is on. He enjoys a good story so I read to him at bedtime.


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#7 of 13 Old 04-05-2014, 12:30 PM
 
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Ok...so...here's what I think...not knowing you or your son...

1. I would be worried if you went into a bookstore and he didn't find a book interesting...
2. I don't know very many unschoolers with poor self esteem especially because they are allowed to put his best foot forward.
3. It sounds like he Can read...just doesn't have anything interesting to read. My nephew is learning to read but doesn't really seem interested yet his taste in literature is highly developed. As with him, I think your sons reading level may not be at his intellectual level. At 7...I say this is the annoyance of unschooling...at 12 I say there is a problem. You may want to consider testing if it keeps you up at night. But I think if progress is being made then just breath past it. This might be a learning plateau with climbing about to happen.
4. He may not be a reader...doesn't mean he can't read. Have you asked him directly what his plan for this aspect of his education?

Suggestions:
-talk to your children's librarian (or go to a library with an exceptional children's section) bug them, drill them on books with lizard or reptiles. There might a reptile based series or comic.
-may I suggest Reptiles Do The Strangest Things. It is a series of books (birds, fish, etc)...they are well written, simple and fun. Perhaps he can read it to the baby?
-perhaps, using reference books, he can build a habit for several reptiles...or stuff like that. Ben Hunt wrote books in 1950s about making your own camping gear and stuff like that...
-don't hold back the younger one...if the 9 yr straggles, he'll catch up...or not and then you should take a look at it.
-I say this to put it out there but not for any other reason...dyslexia?
-also in the same breath I say...we are born hard wired for speech, love, and art (yes, art) but not reading.
-perhaps you can find solace in John Holt?

I dunno...hope it helps more than offends...
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#8 of 13 Old 04-05-2014, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaprovides View Post


3. It sounds like he Can read...just doesn't have anything interesting to read. My nephew is learning to read but doesn't really seem interested yet his taste in literature is highly developed. As with him, I think your sons reading level may not be at his intellectual level. At 7...I say this is the annoyance of unschooling...at 12 I say there is a problem. You may want to consider testing if it keeps you up at night. But I think if progress is being made then just breath past it. This might be a learning plateau with climbing about to happen.

It took a while for my 9yo to find what she really loves to read on her own.  She mainly liked story time and reading certain books together (Garfield, graphic novels).  It wasn't until she was 8yo when she started reading one Horse Encyclopedia to herself regularly.  Not until nearly 9 did she have any interest in reading any other short book on her own.  I also had an idea of what she liked, but now I know better.  Mysteries are a good bet for her.  Graphic novels, still, especially if it's a classic horror story, or anything else with monsters.  She still likes having mysteries read to her because she is not relaxed in her own reading enough to really enjoy the pleasure of anything but simple, short books.  Soon, soon.  My 7yo has been far less picky and will pick up stacks of books from the library, maxxing our her card and mine, usually with animal and science books.  So, I have one of each.

 

It might take a long time to find a format and a subject that clicks with him.  Format is often just as important as content.  Keep exposing him in a non-pushy way.  Avoid gushing too much over your younger son's abilities.  Let him develop without too much attention as well.  Stop by the bookstore or the library together when out and about.  Find books you are interested in yourself and give them each a book budget, then step back.


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#9 of 13 Old 04-09-2014, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the replies! You have mostly said what I already know/think/feel but it is nice to have it reinforced! My oldest who was public schooled showed zero interest in reading for himself until Harry Potter. My DD was very motivated in general because she wanted to navigate the world around her, signs and words on the tv screen, the internet, the cereal boxes etc. My younger ds seems motivated by video games because everyone else is getting tired of being called into the room to read whats on the screen for him. 

 

My 9yr old DS has yet to seem hooked in by anything but the animals he loves. He will search youtube for information on how to raise a frog or a lizard and I think he must be spelling SOMETHING into the search bar even if he's pulling up video rather than text to learn. Our house is stuffed full of books, all kinds of them including a shelf full of dinosaur books from his preschool years that he did love. We have everything from board books like Big Red Barn and GoodNight moon through all the wimpy kid books and Ramona Quimby and all the Fudge books, to my extensive adult collection of fiction and non fiction complete with lots of kid nonfiction and even text books and reference sets. He is so much more active. The other two have always been the type who could spend hours building with blocks or playing perfection etc. but he has to be in motion and outside as much as possible. The trampoline is his best friend. We let him buy ducks to raise, he spends time feeding, watering and mucking out their pen. He now knows how to feed the livestock and helps daddy a lot and has even feed everything on the place himself. He tells me things about animals all the time that I didn't know. I know he is learning. It's reading specifically. But I started doing the early readers with his brother and we found one that he is interested in so he has gone from yelling "NO" about being read to, to asking for that story. So we will just start there and I am much less worried now than I was. I also got the ABC posters back up, he knows all the letters and can sound out words when I sit down and make him. I only did that once to see where he was out, he was able to read that way. 

 

I am probably more concerned about my oldest saying stuff they can overhear about them. I have talked to him about it but then he blames me for never being available to talk to without them. I'm not sure where he thinks I'm suppose to send them. I am beginning to strongly suspect the real and deeper issue is jealousy that they are getting way more attention that he ever did and that's true. Once we moved here and I remarried and had more kids he went from the only focus in my life to having to share that. I have talked to him a little about it. That and setting the boundary that he is welcome to his opinions but he does not get input into our parenting decisions for his siblings. 


~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#10 of 13 Old 04-09-2014, 09:31 AM
 
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Does he write well enough to have a dialogue book between you to discuss these things?  Or an afternoon out, just with him?  The same thing happens in my house, where there is intense sibling rivalry and no privacy to discuss feelings openly out of earshot of those concerned, which I think is important.


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#11 of 13 Old 04-09-2014, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I meant the 22 year old has jealousy issues. The other kids do surprisingly well on that front, but my oldest was an only for 11 years and for a lot that it was just me and him. Suddenly he gets a stepfather, my FIL living with us, siblings and other kids moving in (we have raised some nephews and nieces as well as our own kids). He's grown now, has already moved out and back in but those feelings still linger. I think his intense criticism of everything I do with his siblings stems from that. He thinks homeschooling will make them stupid, weird and antisocial. I've referred to him to plenty of websites, books and research. He doesn't want to hear it.


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#12 of 13 Old 05-17-2014, 05:33 AM
 
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With my first we started trying to teach him when he was between 6 and 7. I was freaking out a bit because his cousin who is the same age and in school was already reading. It was terribly frustrating for him, and he still remembers the anger he felt when we kept pressing it. I went online to do some research and luckily found John Holt, which gave me some hope, but I still had a lot of anxiety about it. We did back off though. I could tell he was gradually picking things up (like he would read a sign, for instance) and occasionally he would ask a question. When he was eight he tried reading (someone had given him a book for his birthday) which lasted maybe a few hours, and then again once that I remember when he was nine. When he was ten he suddenly became intensely interested and he followed me around the house for three days spelling words out for me to say what they were. Soon after he picked up the first Harry Potter book. He read the entire series in six weeks, with no help. 

 

My second son never had any instruction. When he was nine he surprised me by reading a block of text out loud. He had learned gradually enough, and without any hint of teaching, that for him it was as unconsious a process as learning how to talk. He doesn't remember ever not being able to read. He learned from playing video games, best as I can guess. 

 

My third child had a hard time of it because by then the ESD found us, and state regulation requires testing. So it became an issue for her before she was ready. She had a lot of anxiety and feelings of self-doubt about the test despite our reassurances that it didn't matter, and insisted that we teach her even though it was such a struggle for her. I'm still pissed that she had to go through the stress and threat of the authorities scrutinizing her, and didn't get to experience the more organic and affirming process that her siblings did. I do believe that it set her back. It took a lot of work to convince her, which we did eventually, that she was normal and that everything would be fine. She became what I regard as a reader at age 11. (At age 10 she was slowly, with a lot of help, reading some Dr. Seuss.) 

 

My fourth child did get some basic instruction, which she asked for, and started reaidng at age 9. Which I now, after all my experience and years of talking with other homeschooling and unschooling parents, I now regard as a natural average, which is exactly what I read years ago at the very beginning in John Holt. :)

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#13 of 13 Old 05-17-2014, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for this! I have relaxed some,I do see signs he is getting ready but the mere hint that we are trying to"teach"him is meet with strong resistance. Yet he has read, like your said, a sign out loud or a label here and there.his younger brother is actively seeking it out, as their sister did,but I realize that's okay and he will read in his own time even if his younger brother reads first

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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