I'm hoping you can give me your homeschooling perspective on this. My DD is 6 and conventionally schooled. She's going into first grade next year and her reading is not considered up to par, so I am trying to work with her this summer.
Most concerning to me is that she doesn't like it and she doesn't seem to even want to try to read to me (or the dog or her dolls) and I'm having a tough time motivating. I have basically planned to read books that she loves (currently Junie B) to her, just to get her excited about books and plant the seed that when she's ready, she can do it herself. DH thinks we need to be more proactive. I read with my finger under the words. I ask her periodically if she recognizes or can sound certain things out. I think, just like swimming and potty training, that this just needs to click fo her. But perhaps I could be doing more this summer? Any other good recommendations? She does some Starfall.com, but that's about it.
Also, do you see a developmental aspect in resisting learning? I'm just worried that if I push it when she is resisting, she'll dig in and completely turn off to reading. I love it and I want her to love it, too, so I am treading carefully. All advice about reading, 6 year olds, and working with spouses on educational issues would be welcome.
Our young family is unschooling, so my answer for a schooled child is probably not applicable, but here it is:
Give her time. Back off. Let her come to reading on her own. Whatever your thoughts on any delays, do not express them to her or let her see that you are thinking about it (and I don't think any parent can completely avoid thinking those thoughts). She could start seeing herself as delayed as well. This is something that homeschooling families (unschooled or more structured or whatever label we might choose) have the luxury of dealing with in a relaxed way. Every kid, mine and others I hear about, is ahead in some areas and behind in others. School, unfortunately, does not have the mechanisms to deal with much variation. That's my generous assessment. My not-so-generous assessment is that perfectly normal kids risk getting slapped with a "delayed" label that can follow them for a long time. School also has a carrot-and-stick approach to learning can derail kids' own motivation to learn these things.
I don't ramble on with opinions just to amuse myself. Somehow you need to let her discover that she wants to read. My 6.5yo daughter loved "secret code" puzzles that have riddles involved. The extra-nice thing about secret-code is that you get one letter at a time. DD usually reads by word recognition as is a bit hurried when she hits a word she needs to sound out, often missing whole syllables. Secret code slows her down. One "puzzle book" that is actually a workbook is "Big book of Word Puzzles". She chooses to work on these, will do 10 pages in a day, then none for a month.
She is also a big fan of graphic novels and comics, like the Garfield anthologies and Calvin and Hobbes and reading the comics daily. Her first book that she decided was worth the effort to read was the graphic novel "Perseus and Medusa" (we were getting into a "monsters phase" and Medusa was her favorite.) She also gets a kick out of baby board books. It helps that my 4.5yo DD2 always brings home an armload of those!
DD1 is a self-taught reader. We rarely followed the words because she hates that. And, true, that does turn what would be a pleasant experience into a lesson. If every story comes with a lesson, they might not want to read, schooled or homeschooled.
So, if you want her to see that reading can be pleasurable, then MAKE IT PLEASURABLE. Skip the finger under the words and the questions and read to her. Make up voices. Read a book with no pictures and have her illustrate while you read. Act it out if she's willing. HAVE FUN!
I just read a sweet article on a late-blooming reader in the January 2011 issue of Home Education Magazine entitled "Reading Lessons". HED often post articles in their entirety on their website, so check it out:
Good luck, and please read my post as a COMPLETELY BIASED answer to your question.
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"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
I would give her a break over the summer as well. if she's resisting then it's a major red flag that she just isn't ready yet. I've found that usually giving the child some space and letting them work through the skill in private rather than putting them on the spot (which makes them feel stupid for not knowing/not getting it). keep reading to her, let her pick out books and get books from the library, but just let her enjoy the story without it feeling like a lesson. the joy of reading is way more important than learning to read on the school's timeline.
(and yes, I know I don't have any reading age kids yet, but I remember my own learning to read struggles, and I've helped school many other youngsters)
part-time and through infancy. planning a
I would continue reading to her over the summer. Check out The Read Aloud Handbook, and you will find some classics and new books appropriate for her age and interests. You could also start checking out the audio book versions of primary and elementary books. Books like Curious George or Frog and Toad with the turn-the-page signal so she can follow along with the pictures on her own.
I would also start writing simple books about her. They can be fiction or non-fiction stories with her as the main character. If you can draw, you can illustrate it. Or, you can use photos of her. Use simple words she knows first and then start incorporating more difficult words to pique her interest. You could also start leaving her secret notes. You could have a secret note spot that she has to check each day for a message from mom. Again, start with simple words and progress with difficulty.
If she does show interest in instructed learning, check with the teacher she will have next school year to find out what phonics or reading method she will be using.
I work from SON up to SON down!
There is a wonderful book you both can work together on called Games for Reading, Peggy Kaye. It's full of fantastic no pressure games that are fun and each one has a different approach to helping your child to read better.