in particular that I would love to hear any thoughts on is children
reading. My 6 year old daughter can't read yet, although she does
know all her letters & can write them all. She can spell &
write her name, but that is about it. She does recognize a few
words though too. In the Christian group I get a lot of pressure
to use phonics, & that that is the only way to learn. In the
Unschool group most everyone says she'll learn when she's ready, don't
worry about it, but yet most of their kids learned to read early, so
I still feel pressure to hurry up & get her reading.
I had to
reply to this, it sounds just like my statements on here last year.
I was so frustrated with my daughter's not reading. I think I
tried everything but she just didn't seem to remember and we got no
where. She was 6 and couldn't remember c a t spelled cat.
Well, I don't have any real answers, just that now she will be 7 in
July and suddenly she has taken off. Where we struggled with phonics
before she just reads it right off now. She is still slow with
sentences but now I KNOW that will come. She seems suddenly to
remember all the sounds, blends, rules as if she always knew them.
I hope this encourages you. I can remember being where you are
so short a time ago.
Let me tell you how my daughter
came to read...
I'm of the same opinion of
phonics and reading as Marci because of my boys.
You are so right that each
will learn when they are ready. My favorite example in our family
is Nathan who did not read anything until he was 8 (he had a hard time
writing even his name too!) The "teacher" in me continued to introduce
reading sight words and phonics at regular intervals but I could tell
he just was not ready. I have also read a lot to our kids - at
least an hour every day and sometimes more than that since the time
they are nursing babies. Nathan turned 8 in April and I had already
enrolled him in a Christian first grade class for the following fall
(my friend taught the class using the Slingerland method for reading
and I thought maybe that would click) Well, that spring and summer
reading "just happened" for Nathan and he read over 80 books out loud
to me that summer. (I remember the amount because we had enrolled
in a summer reading program at the library.) When he went to the
first grade class, they tested him to know what reading group he should
be in and he tested at 5th grade level! Wow, were we all
surprised! So relax and read a lot and let her take the lead.
You will know when she is ready. Our Ben just turned 8 and he
reads very easy books still but I am not concerned - I think he will
take off soon as he keeps checking out nature books and asking me to
read those to him. I check out story books in the children's section
and he heads for the adult non-fiction section (children's non-fiction
is mixed in with the adult stuff) when we go to the library - I get
a kick out of that.
I will address your question
about reading since that is MY "obsession" as well. You're on
the right track and you'll get a lot of great answers, advice, encouragement
and affirmation from everyone on this list. I too have all the
same thoughts and feelings as you do about this particular subject and
all I can tell you is to have faith and continue to ask, seek and knock
because then you will find either the answers, or the peace that you
I haven't jumped into this
discussion on late readers, because I really can't remember how late
Levi was. I remember that Arwen was a quick study and was up late
hours reading when she was in 2nd grade, devouring books at a record
rate (that has only accelerated). Levi was slower, but it was
mainly a matter of finding his niche. Once he found books that
sparked his interest... And what sparked his interest was an antique
reader of mine about Mrs. Peter Rabbit by someone named Thornton.
It has characters like Brer Fox and Brer Owl. Levi then found
a local library that still has the series (Lake Oswego library) and
he steadily checked them all out. They were chapter books, illustrated,
and captured his mind. I think he was in the middle of or the
end of third grade, it was much later than his sister. After Peter
Rabbit, he discovered animal stories (Big Red, Black Stallion)... Then
we read aloud Lord of the Rings, which is a difficult book, but by the
end of fifth grade, he was hooked and has now read more Tolkien and
Tolkien-related books than I have. He's deep into Star Wars now
and any good war book. I love to read aloud to my kids, even now
when they are older. Not that I have any solutions, just my experience
with two different learners.
We started hs three years
ago. My oldest was going into 5th and Jonathan had just finished
Kindergarten. The baby was 1. The only books Michael (my
oldest) liked were R.L.Stine and Goosebumps. Now he is reading
Welcome to Personal Computers, HTML 4, Creating Web Pages, Manuals,
and The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe (again, it's one of his favs).
He also is trying to tackle Great Expectations. So as far as he's
concerned, I don't worry any more.
I think if you keep reading
out loud a lot and introducing word attack skills, whether they seem
to learn it or not, eventually you will notice an interest on the child's
part to read for himself. (There are a few out there that don't.
Out of 8 kids in our family, one is NOT a reader at 13 - well he can
read but does not pick up books and read for his own pleasure.)
Nathan is a classic example of this. I would get out the easy
readers about every 6 months or so and try to interest him and no go
until he was 8. Then he took off like a shot. All those
years of looking at signs along the road, playing rhyming games, and
other things like that which encourage reading, it all finally clicked
with him. Abby struggled with reading at age 6, back when I thought
it best if kids could read by then, and little Beth at age 4 sat in
on Abby's lesson time and learned to read "all by herself" just by listening
to Abby and I. Now that was easy! (Beth wanted to go to
public school kindergarten, and I let her for the second half of the
year and she got in trouble for reading out loud to the other kids -
teacher: "We don't want the children reading out loud yet; that comes
in first grade!" Well, of course little Beth stayed home the next
year and forever!
The fact that she is not reading
on her own is not uncommon, when she is not pressured to "perform" as
in school. Where in the world did the idea that learning
to read early meant you were "smarter" or better?
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