Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Path To Fluent Reading

...is strewn with many obstacles for the learning disabled child.

When I was a child reading was my favorite past time. I was on the hurting end of a spanking many times because I was reading instead of working. In my own home I am the only one that loves to read. Mr. Darling has never read a novel in his life. Even in high school he used jacket covers and cliff notes for his reports. Now our daughter Tink hates to read too although for very different reasons than her daddy.

Peter is still an unknown, only just now beginning second grade but I think...I hope... that in him I have found my reader! That boy loves having stories read to him. When he brings books home from school they are far more interesting than the books Tink would bring home on library day. Yesterday Peter brought home a book about sharks. He read as much as he could and I filled in the words he couldn't read.

Tink use to bring home books on Hannah Montanna or Scooby Doo or The Cheetah Girls. This was mostly due to the fact that during those first few years of school she had no love for learning and the only things she could relate to were the pictures on the covers of those books. She recognized them from TV. We have since banned the kids from watching Nickelodeon of Disney.

The banning has stopped Tink TV watching almost entirely. Peter though has discovered shows like, How'd They Do That, How Things Are Made and Animal Detective and would watch them by the hour. I am amazed at the stuff he has learned from those shows! There's hardly a conversation around here that he doesn't have some new fact or something to share that he has learned on those shows!

Tink rarely ever quotes a fact or shows interest in knowing how things work in the world around her. The only thing that truly interests Tink is her music. She loves her music Cd's and spends hours dancing to them. When shes not dancing with the music she is outside playing with her friends.

My goal this year is to get Tink to read! I am ordering her the Reading Pen in hopes of jump starting her reading. New readers will have no idea of the hours upon hours that I have spent in teaching Tink to read. If you would like to know the methods used you could click on the label Tink on my sidebar. Some would say that the things I did have worked; after all she did place in her grade level this spring on the state tests. But I know that her reading is halting and frustrating to her no matter what the tests show. Two years ago Tink was reading at a beginning first grade level so she has made huge strides but I want to see her reading smooth out and her comprehension improve. To that end I have ordered the pen.

Also with the coming of this school year we are adding in a library day. We did this last fall and it was very successful. I also started a Book Club in our co-op that I hope will inspire her to read more.

The co-op went off splendidly yesterday. The little girls who's home it was are both avid readers. Tink adores the oldest girl that is her age. The sisters are both reading Nancy Drew books and so the mother had made a desert from the Nancy Drew cookbook. Tink of course hated the desert. Her sensory issues will never allow her to like meringue but she did adore the idea! Tink has never read a Nancy Drew book so I'm hoping her new found friends excitement will wear off on her.

The co-op went off without a hitch. The day was gorgeous and warm. The first hour was spent in English Composition, the second hour was PE and the third hour was learning games. For PE. the kids played bad mitten and darts and then ran through obstacle courses. They loved it. There was a huge tree fort at the farm and Tink and her friend disappeared up in its leafy loftiness to share secrets. Tink told me later that it was so restful and peaceful up there and she didn't want to come down. I think she was overloaded sensory wise and the tree house was a nice reprieve.

When Tink got home she was a wild girl; running around the table with her plate at dinner, scooping ground meat out of the dish with her hands, hitting and punching Peter and just totally out of control. The day with all its new activities and new friends was just too much for her. She's doing so much better that I am not as vigilant as I used to be. Last year that would have never happened because I would have been prepared for it. This year I wasn't and it was disastrous. So next week I will be better prepared for this behavior. The classes are at our house so the reactions will not be as strong; hopefully.

So learning continues to happen with setbacks and triumphs to be sure but at least its happening. My goal is to have Tink a fluent reader by the end of this year. I will have to work hard to make this happen!


  1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2009

    Reading is something we are working on here as well and continuing to read out loud is something we still do, even at the 8th grade level. My daughter loves to be read to and it's a good way for her to feel positive about books and enjoy the magic of them. We also use books on CD and have family reading times, when everyone puts on jammies and we read independently but as a group, free selections. All these things together (plus literature study for school) seem to be working.
    Good luck with your teaching this year.

  2. movinginspirals the kids never get much reading done is summer but I really need to get back to that with them. I like your idea of everybody sitting around reading their own private book. The kids and I could do that but hubby never would! :(


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