Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Not reading? Don't Panic!

Was sent the link to this blog entry on the Tiny Grass blog; a post from earlier this year on child-led reading.

As a parent of a 7-yr-old non-reader (or rather, a not-yet-showing-any-inclination-to-read 7 yr old) I am always reassured to hear other parents' encouraging words on the subject.

I consider myself privaleged in the world of home education for I have had personal proof that reading really can happen without intervention. I've had the benefit of seeing my middle child teach himself to read when he was 6 years old (though 'teach' is a very misplaced word in that sentence, it was far more an osmotic process, a neglect of intervention).

This helps me keep the faith; enables me to thicken my skin against the parents who insist on giving me a check-list of their child's literary achievements every time I see them. I don't care if little Jonny was reading age 4 and at age 7 was happily digesting Harry Potter at a rate of one novel a day.

Er...actually that's a lie. I do care, but only enough to want to smack the other person. 'Home Ed Hag Hits Pushy Parent with Tescos-own White Loaf' - not a good headline, so I must resist.

So, this article, helps. Just a little.

"Basic Formula for Parents:

Stay out of child’s way +
Don’t try to be a teacher +
Don’t hijack your child’s learning +
Wait….wait…wait (and be patient) +
Don’t stress (talk to other unschoolers when you worry!) +
Read lots of books out loud when your child wants to +
Have lots of interesting books available +
Be ready as a resource when you child asks for it

= A child that reads. Eventually. On his own timetable."


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Sam said...

Stay out of child's way - that's the big one with my 2nd. He doesn't want my input at all ;-)
It's always good to know they really do learn by themselves, and it's not just a pleasant myth!
And keep out of the headlines :D

Big mamma frog said...

No, I can vouch that the 'teaching themselves to read' is not a myth.

Though I do remember for many years doubtfully saying 'Well that's great that it's happened for YOUR child, but it doesn't mean that it will for MINE' lol.

still hanging in there for no.3

Anonymous said...

This bit is what we were talking about on the autonomy night: "DS7′s learning experiences are not about me. My son’s learning is his alone." Hard to trust but good to remember!

Sam, I've seen my dd find her reading skills with very little work on my part, not even lots and lots of reading to her!

It has been a hard few years watching all her 'school' friend's reading everything from books to music and writing cards using the accepted spellings.....

I saw a friend this week whose son was on an IEP at school in year 2 for not being able to do anything they wanted him to but now at almost 9 he is reading and writing with gusto.

She doesn't believe that anything school did helped him at all: rather that the family's patience has allowed him to find the path for himself.

MadameSmokinGun said...

I think my No. 3 (7) might be on a right road - always asking me how to spell something or asking what those letters spell etc and has devised his own method of teaching reading and writing for smaller brother. This involves building up pictures of dinosaurs bit by bit but I'm afraid his explanations last too long for me to concentrate. No. 2 (9) READ a whole Xmas card by himself the other day - so that's cool. And No. 4 (4) is being TAUGHT by big sister (11) - in a very shouty way - but seems to enjoy it. I just spew out spellings here and there but otherwise keep clear these days - although I am toying with the idea of doing that online Reading Eggs thing that they liked on the free trial. Also toying with the idea of being 'chief' person of a Home Ed 'class' for it. As yet undecided. It boilds down to this: when they 'do' reading on the computer thing, they're not asking me to spell things and I can slink away and eat chocolate. What do you think is the most responsible route?

I think the chocolate road is always the best option myself.

kelly said...

Voted. Promise.

My youngest is two years old. He recognises numbers, colours, letters and shapes.

I can thank Cbeebies for all of this - that and watching his big siblings closely.

I have a friend who spends TWO hours nearly every day educating her toddler whilst her elder two are at school, and because he can't tell her what a circle is, she thinks he is falling behind....

Glad you posted this.