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Reading Clinic
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A Reading Clinic and
Evening of Encouragement
A Schoolhouse Expo Event — www.SchoolhouseExpo.com
Program, Special Offers, and Articles
© 2015 The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
P.O. Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved
Project Managers: Traci Tinnon and Liz Koon
Cover and Text Layout: Lynne Hopwood
Editors: Traci Tinnon and Liz Koon
Cover Image Used: © Dannyphoto80 | Dreamstime.com
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptural references contained in this eBook are taken from the King James Version of
the Bible.
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Table of Contents
Speakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Christine Field: What to Do When Mothering is a Mess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Dr. Mary Hood: Reading and Writing the Natural Way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Hal and Melanie Young: Understanding Your Boy’s
Learning Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Marie Rippel: Why the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading
Is So Powerful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Deborah Wuehler: Overcoming Hurdles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Time4Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
VocabularySpellingCity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Schola Publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Essential Skills Advantage (ESA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Institute for Excellence in Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
All About Learning Press . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Articles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Reading Aloud: A Stairway to Academic Gains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Sorting Out Reading Difficulties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Read! Read! Read! Capture Your Children’s Minds with Exceptional Literature! . . . . . 24
5 Ways to Help Teach Your Child With Autism How to Read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Loving Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
From Barking to Fluency: Helping You Focus While Your Struggling Reader
Figures It Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Literature Turns a Struggling Reader Into a Reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
10 Tips for Teaching Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
What Would Happen if You Did Not Teach Your Children to Read? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Surviving Struggling to Read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Christine Field:
What to Do When Mothering is a Mess
Christine Field is the mom of four and has been married almost 30 years. She is
the author of numerous books and is a consulting attorney for the homeschool ministry
of the National Center for Life and Liberty. In her books and as a conference speaker
she brings down-to-earth help and come-alongside-you hope to harried parents.
Her books address topics of homeschooling, mothering, parenting, teaching
special needs children, and life skills for kids. At her website, www.realmomlife.com,
she offers resources and reassurances for moms with real lives – because we don’t all
live Pin-worthy lives.
Her articles have appeared in Focus on the Family Magazine, numerous other
magazines and websites, and she has written on and off for The Old Schoolhouse™
Magazine since it was founded.
In this presentation, Christine will address – What to do when Mothering is a
Mess. She speaks to the heart of the mom who feels like she has fallen into a ditch.
There are satisfying solutions to your dilemma so you can recapture your enthusiasm
and grab back your joy.
After the webinar, visit her website at www.realmomlife.com. When you sign
up for the newsletter, you will receive the immediate download of a report entitled Six
Principles for Homeschool Success.
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Dr. Mary Hood:
Reading and Writing the Natural Way
Mary believes that a “relaxed home school” develops out of the mindset
that you are a family, not a school; a dad, not a principal; a mom, not a teacher; and
that you have individual relationships with your children, not a classroom. This
mindset helps you to stress out less over school-like expectations, and relax and
enjoy your family. Mary Hood and her husband, Roy, have been homeschooling their
five children since the early 1980s. The older children have successfully made the
transition to college and adult life. Mary has a Ph.D. in education, and is a nationallyknown speaker and the author of such books as The Relaxed Home School, The Joyful
Home Schooler, and The Enthusiastic Home Schooler.
In this workshop Mary discusses how to teach reading and writing with
minimum use of packaged curriculum. She includes a discussion of learning styles,
readiness issues, and motivational issues. Her own five children all learned to read and
to write in a very natural manner. For more info, visit the website,
www.archersforthelord.org.
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Hal and Melanie Young:
Understanding Your Boy’s Learning Style
Hal and Melanie Young are the parents of eight (including six boys) and
homeschooled them all from the beginning. They are the authors of the award-winning
Raising Real Men and My Beloved and My Friend and host the weekly podcast
“Making Biblical Family Life Practical” on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.
No matter what trendy thinkers claim, there are real God-given differences
between our boys and our girls, and that includes the way they learn. Hal and Melanie
talk about how you can better understand your boy’s learning style, how to effectively
teach girls and boys in the same family, and changes to expect as they grow and
mature.
Visit Hal and Melanie’s website at www.raisingrealmen.com
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Marie Rippel:
Why the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading
Is So Powerful
Literacy expert, Marie Rippel, created her curriculum, All About Reading,
based on the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading. This multisensory teaching
method addresses all three pathways to learning (visual, auditory, kinesthic)
simultaneously. In this presentation you will learn how it instills confidence,
overcomes learning disorders, and takes the guesswork out of learning to read for
your child, ensuring success.
All About Learning Press, Inc. is the publisher of the award-winning,
multisensory language arts programs, All About Reading and All About Spelling.
Marie Rippel, author and curriculum developer of the programs, started the company
in 2006 with a passion to teach all children to read and spell fluently. That passion
was born out of her need to teach her own severely dyslexic child to read and
spell because none of the existing programs were working. Armed with a literacy
education, thousands of hours of research, a thorough understanding of the OrtonGillingham methods, and the giftedness to make even the most complex strategies
simple and easy to understand, she created the programs that have gone on to teach
tens of thousands of children to read and spell fluently, even those who struggle with
learning. To learn more go to www.allaboutlearningpress.com.
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Deborah Wuehler: Overcoming Hurdles
Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, will talk
about her own struggling readers and the practical things that helped them jump those
hurdles. She will remind us that the uniqueness of each child is really the revelation of
God’s fingerprints on their lives. Deborah will encourage and inspire you to continue
on as you face your own hurdles in this homeschooling journey.
www.TOSMagazine.com
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Time4Learning has been providing online education for students in PreK-12th
for over a decade, helping more than 200,000 homeschool families. It combines
the technology kids love with the education they need to make learning fun!
Time4Learning is a convenient, online homeschool curriculum that combines education with
interactive fun. Animated lessons, interactive activities, printable worksheets and detailed reporting
make the learning system a top selection of the Homeschool.com “Top 100 Educational Websites” list,
year after year.
The Time4Learning program has been refined through years of feedback from educators,
parents, and students. Lessons are presented at the student’s pace by an automated system. Science,
social studies and art are also available as a bonus in most grades.
Kids love the computer, so let them learn on one! The Time4Learning curriculum gives
preschool to eighth graders who are homeschooled the independence they crave, as they progress
at their own pace. The program also helps kids who are homeschooled advance, by teaching with
individualized learning paths that assure skill mastery.
Parents like the automated grading, lesson plans and detailed reporting that track
progress and make record keeping simple.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back
guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your kids, satisfaction guaranteed!
www.Time4Learning.com
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15% off Summer Program + Annual Family Premium Membership
VocabularySpellingCity offers award-winning learning activities and games for vocabulary,
spelling, and writing. Homeschoolers find VocabularySpellingCity to be helpful for reinforcing
literacy skills through word recognition, multiple exposures, word meanings and writing practice.
Vocabulary, Writing and Spelling
More than 30 learning games and activities engage your children while providing
practice in word and letter recognition.
Self-Paced
Whether your child struggles or excels with spelling and vocabulary, with
VocabularySpellingCity, she works at her own pace and level.
Customizable
The Summer Program offers 40 ready-made, customizable assignments. With the
bonus annual Family Premium Membership, you can transform any word list into
a fun activity or custom assignment.
Review and Advance
Reinforce learning by matching your child’s ability with appropriate reading level
word lists. With each activity, your child receives immediate corrective feedback,
for a powerful learning experience.
Web and App
Access on the web and via our app.
Special Pricing Package for the Schoolhouse Expo
Schoolhouse Expo participants get an additional 15% discount on a package that
includes the Summer Program plus an annual Family Premium Membership! Use coupon code
15offSummer15 at checkout. (Valid through July 15, 2015)
The Summer Program offers 40 ready-made assignments, packaged for convenient summer
use while traveling, and offers you a break from daily lesson planning. Just enroll and go!
The Family Premium Membership of VocabularySpellingCity offers full flexibility for
customization of assignments, and can be used year-round with any homeschool curriculum.
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A word from homeschool mom and author Barbara Beers . . .
If you are perplexed with students who read okay, cannot spell well, and hate to write,
I would love to show you how to teach your children’s language skills precept upon precept,
reasoning from spelling, through handwriting, to reading, building grammar and composition,
all the way to Latin with The PHONICS Road to Spelling and Reading. With over 30 years of
experience, I am pleased to prove to you that English DOES make sense and you can confidently
teach your children all aspects of beginning and intermediate English skills without confusion.
Instead of stacks of books to muddle through, in about 40 minutes per week you can watch
me model this multi-sensory language curriculum in all its aspects. There IS a method to the
madness!!
Let me help you learn Latin and teach it to your students at the same time with The
LATIN Road to English Grammar. Not only do your students earn high school foreign language
credit, but they also build all their advanced English grammar and vocabulary in the same study.
No other language in the entire world’s history affects English as much as Latin, and your
students will also learn all the principles of spelling that Latin offers to more difficult English
words revealing . . . the rest of the story!
Visit me at www.thelatinroad.com for more information, samples, video tours, and more. I
especially invite you to read my article entitled Spelling AND Grammar AND Latin, O MY!
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Essential Skills Advantage (ESA)
Help your kids ages 4 to 12 (K to 6th) improve their reading and language skills, and
discover their love for reading! ESA has been proven to support children with varying learning
abilities--whether it’s to introduce new skills or for review. Gain access to ALL courses (1000s of
activities and fun rewards) and give your child the advantage he deserves!
ESA makes a great addition to any homeschool curriculum. Units include sight words,
phonics, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and more! Our FREE online
reading program is proven to build confidence, increase motivation, and improve grades.
Incorporate ESA into your homeschool day, and discover the benefits for yourself! Sign-up is
completely FREE at www.learnwithesa.com/TOS
Coming Soon: mobile/tablet-friendly version. Compatible with iOS and Android
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Institute for Excellence in Writing
IEW offers a guaranteed-to-be-effective language arts curriculum, incorporating Andrew
Pudewa’s proven writing methodology, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. This outstanding
video seminar provides proven strategies for teaching writing, grammar, speaking, and more! For
K–2 and struggling learners, we offer Primary Arts of Language (PAL), our learn-to-read-and
write program based on the same IEW methods. Download free gifts to help get you started at
IEW.com/gifts.
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All About Learning Press
All About Learning Press is the publisher of the award-winning, multisensory language
arts programs, All About Reading and All About Spelling. Marie Rippel, author and curriculum
developer of the programs, started the company in 2006 with a passion to teach all children
to read and spell fluently. That passion was born out of her need to teach her own severely
dyslexic child to read and spell because none of the existing programs were working. Armed
with a literacy education, thousands of hours of research, a thorough understanding of the OrtonGillingham methods, and the giftedness to make even the most complex strategies simple and
easy to understand, she created the programs that have gone on to teach tens of thousands of
children to read and spell fluently, even those who struggle with learning.
All About Spelling and All About Reading are complete, research-based programs.
The spelling program teaches phonograms and reliable spelling rules, spelling patterns and
homophones, word segmenting and syllables. In reading, phonics lessons are paired with
learning decoding skills, plus children learn phonological awareness, fluency, expanded
vocabulary, and comprehension strategies--all five Key Components of Reading.
Both programs are fun and engaging, making them easy to learn and easy to teach, even
for struggling learners. Lessons are multisensory, step-by-step, and mastery-based so each child
can learn at their own pace. The teaching is “open-and-go,” requiring little prep time, and both
come with lifetime support via phone and email. To learn more go to
www.allaboutlearningpress.com.
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Reading Aloud:
A Stairway to Academic Gains
By Anna Buck
Eric is a gifted 15-year-old homeschooler. He is a good student, yet his mother
came to me with concerns about tests that showed Eric had scored low in processing speed,
working memory, and auditory analysis. I listened to Eric read aloud and observed that he
was uncomfortable with hearing his own voice and did not like to read aloud. His reading
was choppy, and words were often mispronounced or misread. When I read aloud to him,
comprehension was quite low.
Chris is a 10-year-old advanced homeschooler. Reading, comprehension, and verbal
expression are his weakest areas. The first time I listened to him read aloud, his voice was soft,
he mumbled and mispronounced words, and then he sat and looked at me blankly when I asked
him comprehension questions.
Rebecca, an 11-year-old fifth-grader, is above grade
level
in
all subjects. She is an avid reader with interests in
I have seen many children
several genres. One day I read a few short chapters to her
start reading aloud from
from a second-grade chapter book without allowing her to see
books that are several
the pictures. I was captivated by her ability to recall the story
levels below their reading almost verbatim. Interestingly, when I asked her questions
about implied information, she was unable to answer. She
abilities, and it typically
read too fast and partially sounded out difficult words before
isn’t long before they
she skipped them and continued reading.
Many children who come into our office are not
initiate increased reading
comfortable with reading aloud. Both reading comprehension
levels and extend genres at and the ability to discuss and interpret reading passages are
the same time.
often affected. Inferred and implied information is typically
inadequate, and many children are unable to provide a
synopsis or summary of key information from a passage. Testing centers regularly document
results in areas such as processing speed, working memory, auditory analysis, logic and
reasoning, and selective attention. Each of these areas, however, is affected by a child’s reading
experiences.
Reading to your children is essential; listening to your children read is just as critical. Jim
Trelease excellently substantiates the importance and value in reading aloud to our children in
his book The Read Aloud Handbook. I add to that the necessity of listening to our children read
aloud daily.
How can parents implement a profitable reading aloud program? The first step is to
determine your child’s starting level. A young child new at reading can start with word cards,
phrases, or sentences written from dictation or copied. As reading skills increase, continue
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having your child read aloud her own writing, and then add oral reading of easy, fun books so
that she becomes comfortable and accustomed to hearing her own voice. Always start below
current reading level. Your child needs time to tune into his or her own voice and develop the
proper speed, expression, and comfort with reading aloud without the added complexities of
sounding out difficult words or attempting to follow higher-level processing. Children should
experience daily reading aloud even through their high school years. While a new reader might
be able to read for 5 minutes at a time, an older child should increasingly read aloud 10 to 20
minutes each day.
Explain to your child that you are the listener and that he or she should attempt to read
like an audio book reader does. This means your child should not see how fast he or she can read
but rather to read so that the listener is able to follow along and visualize the story. A fast reader
is not listening to his own voice. One who mumbles or reads in monotone is not tuned in to his
voice. Point out the use of question marks and exclamation points for reading inflection. Insist
that your child demonstrate the emotions of written dialogue.
The practice of children
Your child may need to imitate you, phrase by phrase, in
order to learn to read with inflection.
engaged in daily reading
I have found that most children need to be taught
aloud, followed by
how to read a book with pictures or illustrations. I teach a
discussion, can enhance
child to look at the picture for as long as she likes, but once
she starts to read, she cannot look at the picture again until
all areas of academic
she has finished reading the entire page. Then, before turning
learning.
the page, she may look at the picture once more for as long
as she likes. This teaches new readers to become mature readers. Eye tracking improves as they
read line by line without their eyes moving back and forth between an illustration and the text,
and selective attention improves (being able to attend to the text without being distracted by the
competing stimuli—the illustrations).
Be sure to talk about the passage after your child reads. Ask questions about the events
that took place, the scenery, or surroundings, but also ask what the child thinks about what he or
she reads. Ask thought-provoking questions such as these: What do you think will happen next?
What do you think he meant when he said . . . ? Why do you think she made that decision?
Spend time discussing the passage read, as well as reviewing what was read the day
before, and the day before that, and back to the beginning of the story, chapter, or book. Ask
about moral implications and use them as teaching opportunities to help your child learn to
discern and respond to moral situations that are part of daily living.
As children become more comfortable with reading aloud, they naturally increase reading
levels on their own. I have seen many children start reading aloud from books that are several
levels below their reading abilities, and it typically isn’t long before they initiate increased
reading levels and extend genres at the same time.
The practice of children engaged in daily reading aloud, followed by discussion, can
enhance all areas of academic learning. I have observed improvements in math, such as recall of
previously learned math facts or logarithms, as a result of having stimulated recall from reading
material. Improvement in writing occurs because children write based on how they read. A
child who writes run-on sentences is a child who reads the same way, without pausing at noted
grammar notations such as commas and periods. Once he learns to slow down and read with
appropriate pauses, his writing typically reflects those changes.
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Experience with good verbal and written sentence structure comes when children hear
their own voices as they read. Verbal expression improves as they experience daily challenges
of putting their thoughts into words from reading passages. Vocabulary increases. The areas
evaluated in testing, such as processing speed, working memory, auditory analysis, logic and
reasoning, and selective attention, improve. After several reading aloud sessions with Eric and
Chris, both boys presented more fluid reading with good enunciation, improved comprehension,
increased verbal expression, better articulation, and faster processing. Eric’s, Chris’s, and
Rebecca’s parents have all implemented daily reading aloud for their children. Commit to
completing this school year with 10–20 minutes of daily reading aloud from your child, and see
what improvements you notice!
A former homeschooling mother, Anna Buck has been active in the educational field
for more than thirty years. She is a certified Neuro-Developmental Delay Therapist, a certified
Listening Fitness Instructor, and an advanced trainer in Bilateral Integration. She is certified by
ANCB as a Certified Traditional Naturopath. Anna established Anna’s House, LLC, in 2005 as
an educational remediation center. She is the author of Miracle Children and Anna’s SOUND
Bits curriculum. For more information, visit www.AnnasHouseLLC.com.
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Sorting Out Reading Difficulties
By Anna Buck
When reading or learning to read is difficult, how can a parent know what to do? Is it an
inefficient curriculum for the specific child? Could it be a lack of motivation, laziness, a learning
difficulty, or developmental delay (which means the child isn’t developmentally ready to read)?
Or, as many mothers feel—is it that Mom is doing a poor job of trying to teach her child to read?
A discussion of the various possibilities can help parents sort
out their children’s difficulties with reading.
If a child is unmotivated
Struggles may result from an inappropriate curriculum.
While one child may perform well with a particular
or lazy toward wanting
curriculum, another child may find it to be too difficult or
to read, he or she may be
too complex. When meeting with a child who experiences
feeling overwhelmed, or
reading difficulties, I have frequently pointed to, for example,
the letter “a” and asked the child to make its sound. He then
it may be due to a lack of
makes every possible sound for the letter “a;” yet, when I ask
reading readiness.
the child to read an unfamiliar one-syllable word that contains
the letter “a,” the child doesn’t know how to read the word, or
which of many sounds to apply to the vowel. In this situation, the child is overwhelmed with too
many sounds. When I then tell the child we’re going to focus on only one sound for each vowel
(e.g., only the short-vowel sounds,) and we start to read unfamiliar words, the child typically
reads accurately and confidently. This is a case of an inappropriate curriculum for the child.
Many children learn to read more easily when they maximize use of one vowel sound at a time.
For example, saturate reading with only short-vowel sounds. This can be through word lists
(containing one and two-syllable and compound words.)
A good follow up to reading simple word lists is to do sentence dictation. Dictate
sentences using words from a given word list, and then have the child read his written sentences
aloud. Once the short vowel sounds are mastered, introduce long vowel sounds. And, once long
and short vowel sounds are mastered and can be read accurately, introduce other vowel sounds
one at a time with appropriate word lists.
I often meet children who read well prior to middle-school age, but then reading of multisyllable words has become guessing. This usually indicates a lack of knowing how to apply
vowel sounds within syllables. I back up a bit, and have the child review the short and long
vowel sounds and their applications to syllables, and suggest15-20 minutes per day reading aloud
to their parent(s). The parent’s job is to insist that words are sounded out and read accurately, that
pauses occur at commas and periods, and that appropriate speed and inflection are applied.
If a child is unmotivated or lazy toward wanting to read, he or she may be feeling
overwhelmed, or it may be due to a lack of reading readiness. I begin to push reading when I
see that a child is able to imitate sounds of the alphabet and then retain those sounds with good
recall. It may be a slow process, but if the child is able to retain a few sounds at a time, start
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there. Once the child shows good recall and clear enunciation of the majority of the sounds of the
alphabet, reading can begin with simple two and three-letter words.
Sometimes a legitimate problem prohibits a child from becoming even a beginner reader.
A few helpful tools can enable a parent to begin to sort out the source of her child’s difficulty.
Is your child able to do the following?
Retain what she learned from one day to the next (e.g., specific letter sounds?) If this is a
concern beyond what would seem age-appropriate, it may be a symptom of developmental delay.
Imitate short vowel sounds as she hears you pronounce them? If your child does
not imitate your sounds well, and enunciation difficulties are noticeable, you may be seeing
symptoms of developmental delay and/or auditory processing difficulties.
Sound out simple two or three-letter words, soundby-sound? If this is your child’s primary difficulty, she may
Most mothers are terrific
need a slower pace and opportunities to read words on a white
teachers but occasionally board or index cards so that book reading is avoided until
reading simple words becomes more fluid. If this is one of
need encouragement
several difficulties, there may be underlying problems such
and affirmation, and
as developmental delay. Separate blends and hear each sound
within a blend (such as /b/and /r/ in “br” or /s/ /t/ /r/ in “str”;
now and then a few
or separate ending blends such as /n/ /t/?) If your child cannot
suggestions.
separate sounds in blends, it may be he has a need to move
at a slower pace, such as reading words sound-by-sound that
have been printed on a white board or index cards. If a slower pace does not show improvement,
the problem may be a symptom of auditory processing difficulties and/or developmental delay;
(additional symptoms would also be observable.)
If any of the above is difficult for your child, try working with it first. Purchase a curved
PVC pipe at your local hardware store; (it looks like an elbow macaroni and is used like a
telephone.) Have the child hold the PVC pipe to his right ear so that his ear is covered by the end
of the pipe. The other end should be near his mouth so that he hears his voice as if talking into
a microphone. As the child makes the sounds of the alphabet, or imitates sounds that you make,
or attempts to separate sounds in blends, the use of the PVC pipe allows for clear discrimination
and enunciation. This may improve reading if used regularly for as long as necessary. If the
problems continue without progress, you may want to have your child checked for possible
auditory processing difficulties or developmental delay.
Sometimes a child’s reading difficulties are related to dyslexic-type tendencies such as
reversals, changing or dropping suffixes, or an inability to follow line-to-line while reading.
In each of these situations, I would suggest parents start by having the child read aloud while
holding a PVC pipe to her right ear. Sit with your child and use your own finger or a guide of
some sort for line-to-line tracking. Insist that your child read accurately, even if you have to
cover syllables or suffixes and help the child sound out words sound-by-sound or syllable-bysyllable. If the child skips letters or words, try enlarging the print. Reading and writing with
reversals is typical until at the latest, age eight. If these difficulties do not work themselves out in
a short period of time, your child may be showing symptoms of vestibular dysfunction, and you
may want to have your child checked for possible developmental delay.
When comprehension is a problem, have your child read aloud daily (5-30 minutes
depending on the age,) and interrupt often to ask questions about the passage. You may have to
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interrupt after a phrase, a sentence, every few sentences, every paragraph, or every page, but
comprehension should improve as you continue this daily exercise. Ask more than just factual
questions. Ask questions like “What do you think will happen next? How do you think this is
going to end? Why did he say that? What type of person is so-and-so? Describe the character
of so-and-so.” Determine whether or not your child is grasping implied information. I have
witnessed tremendous growth in reading comprehension from this exercise in reading aloud. It
should be a daily activity.
I work with many homeschool families, and, in general, I have been impressed beyond
words with the teaching that parents provide their children. Most mothers are terrific teachers
but occasionally need encouragement and affirmation, and now and then a few suggestions.
Sometimes the answer to a problem is simple and can be resolved with a bit of creativity. And
some children need a little more help before they are ready for reading. Keep after it, and if you
suspect your child needs more than your ingenuity for better reading, seek appropriate help.
Former homeschooling mother, Anna Buck has been in the educational field for more
than thirty years. She is certified as a Neuro-Developmental Delay therapist, a Listening Fitness
instructor, and a bilateral integration trainer. Anna is also certified by ANCB as a Certified
Traditional Naturopath. She established Anna’s House, LLC, in 2005. She authored Miracle
Children and Anna’s SOUND Bits curriculum. For more information, visit
www.AnnasHouseLLC.com.
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Read! Read! Read!
Capture Your Children’s Minds with Exceptional Literature!
By Cathy Diez-Luckie
One of the most attractive aspects of homeschooling is the ability to spend time together
reading. Whether it’s reading the Bible together in the living room after dinner or tackling a
major work of literature, such as Little Women or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, memories of
reading exceptional books together will be cherished. Your children will quickly grow to love
this family time with everyone involved in active listening as you explore new worlds, learn
about great moments of the past, and share the hopes, dreams, and struggles of others who have
gone before us.
One of the best ways to
When I first learned about homeschooling, more than
ten years ago, a friend handed me several homeschooling
develop an interest in
catalogs and described the joy she had in educating her
history is to learn about
children. The catalogs were the equivalent of receiving a
the people who came
map to a buried treasure! I couldn’t wait to embark upon the
journey of reading with our children, especially the classics
before us. Read about
and books about history and the people who lived before us.
their lives. Understand
Reading together continues to be a blessing today as our oldest
is entering eighth grade and the youngest two are entering
their struggles.
sixth grade.
What will reading do for your family? It will improve vocabulary, memory skills,
analytical thinking, and listening and writing skills. Filling your child’s mind with wellformulated sentences and descriptive words creates a reservoir from which he or she can draw
in the future. The benefits will show up in your children’s ability to express themselves through
writing or speech. The research of Jane Healy suggests that linguistic stimulation is especially
critical as a child’s brain develops (from preschool through middle school).
A father who reads with his family is giving them a priceless gift. Children learn from
example and will enjoy having a special time with their father, especially if he is away from
home during the day and unable to participate in the daily routine. Before he was diagnosed with
brain cancer three years ago, my husband would come home from work and lead everyone in
a Bible study and continue on with the book we were reading. Today we are thankful that he is
able to sit with us during this time and pray with us. No matter what your situation, reading with
the whole family builds bonds that will last a lifetime.
One of the best ways to develop an interest in history is to learn about the people who
came before us. Read about their lives. Understand their struggles. Appreciate your own life. A
number of wonderful historical fiction and nonfiction books are available to supplement your
history lessons with biographies of people and descriptions of events from the time period you
are studying. The Landmark and World Landmark series of books first published by Random
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House in the 1950s contains more than a hundred books covering United States and world
history. Many of the books are out of print but are still available through the public library, either
locally or through interlibrary loan. Use the Resource link below to see the full list of Landmark
and World Landmark titles.
The Childhood of Famous Americans series by Augusta Stevenson, originally published
by Bobbs-Merrill and now partially reissued in paperback by Simon and Schuster, is a series
that introduces younger readers to famous Americans during their childhoods. The We Were
There (various authors, published by Grosset & Dunlap) and The Immortals of Science (various
authors, published by Franklin Watts, Inc.) are both series that are out of print but also available
through your library, interlibrary loan, used bookstores, and online retailers.
Bethlehem Book’s Living History Library series has
Taking a break and
several titles from various time periods. Joy Hakim’s series, A
History of US, is one of the most complete volumes describing
asking questions about
the history of our country. You may also enjoy The Landmark
what you have just read
History of the American People. Scholastic’s If You series
helps pull children back
includes several volumes of fact-filled historical nonfiction
from the early history of the United States for younger
into the story.
readers. The Lamplighter collection and books by G. A. Henty
are based on true stories and historic events that will inspire your family.
With so many books available and so little time to read them all, how do you select the
best books to read? There are a number of resources that may provide the guidance you need.
We have used the following books to help us select titles for family reading time in the evening,
read-alouds during the day, and independent reading for various age levels:
• All Through the Ages—History Through Literature Guide by Christine Miller
• Who Should We Then Read? by Jan Bloom
• Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
• Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature by Elizabeth
Laraway Wilson
• Lives in Print by Ava Bluedorn
• Hand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children by Nathaniel
Bluedorn
We generally choose classic literature for our family time. We are currently reading Uncle
Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Some of our favorites have been Little Britches: Father
and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody; Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight; Freckles and Laddie:
A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter; The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle; Mother Goose
in Prose by L. Frank Baum; Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder; The
Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis; The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R.
Tolkein; and the list goes on!
You may want to consider Newbery Medal Winners. Some of our favorites have included
these fine books: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (1923); Hitty, Her First
Hundred Years by Rachel Field (1930); and Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (1947).
These are delightful books to share with your children. Use the Resource links to search the
Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor books to find something that may be of interest for
your family.
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While it is good to read to your children stories that are at a higher level than their
independent readers, what do you do if your child doesn’t seem to be listening? It’s easy to lose
the interest of younger readers when you are reading a work with intricate setting descriptions
and character development. Taking a break and asking questions about what you have just read
helps pull children back into the story. Try allowing your children to draw quietly while you
read. You may be surprised to learn how much detail they will be able to tell you, even though it
appears that they are not listening.
The time you invest in reading aloud with your children will reap a multitude of benefits,
from improving their word skills and comprehension, to bonding as a family and sharing special
moments together, to cultivating critical thinking skills. No less important are the excitement
and love of learning you will kindle as you share the history of influential people from the past.
Establish this valuable habit with your children today!
Resources
• Newbery Medal and Honor Books from 1922 to the present
• Caldecott Medal and Honor Books from 1938 to the present
• Landmark and World Landmark books
• A History of US by Joy Hakim
Cathy Diez-Luckie, author and illustrator at Figures In Motion, is thankful for being
able to educate her three children at home and loves to study history and literature along with
them. Her award-winning children’s book series (Famous Figures) integrates art and history
and engages children with hands-on activities and movable action figures as they learn about the
great leaders of the past. www.FiguresInMotion.com
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5 Ways to Help Teach Your Child With
Autism How to Read
Heather Laurie
A child with autism can present a number of unique challenges in homeschooling; I never
thought that learning to read would be one of them. I am blessed with four children who are highfunctioning autistic. Over the years I have learned a few tips that may help you teach your autistic
child to read, and I’d like to share those with you.
I was taught how to read with the whole-word
Just as having a child method: Show the student a word. He memorizes it and can then
recognize it in books he reads. If a new word comes along, the
with autism opens
student must stop, memorize, and look up this word to understand
your eyes to new
it. Being able to sound out words or names in the Bible was not part
of my training. Being able to identify prefixes and understanding
paths of living, so
the basics of what a word means were also not included in the
does teaching a child
instruction I received. The whole-word method is a cumbersome
with autism.
way to learn to read.
Thankfully, by the end of my third-grade year, in my
school district the whole-word method of teaching reading was deemed a waste of time and effort,
and consequently we were taught phonics. As I started to teach my child to read, I firmly believed
that the only way I would teach would be with phonics. I even thought about adding Latin to
provide a fuller understanding of root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
I knew there would be areas that I would need to pay close attention to or even get outside
help for because of my children’s autism. When my oldest child with autism began learning his
letters and started using phonic workbooks, everything was fine at first. Then we hit a brick wall.
Just as having a child with autism opens your eyes to new paths of living, so does teaching a child
with autism. My preconceived ideas needed some adjustment.
Here are the tips that have worked in my family, to help my children with autism learn to
read.
1. Use sight words. The brick wall my son and I hit were phonics rules. The basic first few words
were fine, but then we came to . . . “the exceptions to the rules.” There are so many exceptions
to phonetic rules that my black-and-white thinker could not master any of the rules. To his mind,
either the A made the same sound each time or there was no rhyme or reason to it. At the age
of 5 he could not understand that an E at the end of the word changed the sound of the letter
combinations or that in some words, some letters made no sounds at all, such gh in the word light.
After trying for months to work through and around phonics rules, I had to bend my rather
strict thinking and begin teaching sight words. We started with the Dolch Word List, which is
a list of the most commonly used words in the English language; many of these words do not
follow phonetic rules. Learning sight words provided our first real breakthrough into reading.
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When my son started reading words that he saw in his books, he began feeling much
better. As time passed, he became a much more confident reader. Sight words were exactly what
my son needed to start reading.
2. Use pictures with words. Another way we increased my
children’s reading vocabulary was to put labels throughout the
house on all kinds of objects. For example, their dresser had a label
that said “shirts” or “pants” on the dresser drawer that corresponded
with that label, which included both the word and a picture. This
was a wonderful, concrete way to help my children learn words.
You have years to
help your child learn
to read, so don’t
stress. Enjoy the path
to reading!
3. You can teach a nonverbal child to read! I would make picture/words with magnets to put on
the front of my refrigerator. My daughter had a very difficult time getting us to understand what
she needed. She would use these pictures to show us what she needed. She slowly progressed
from nonverbal “showing” (without understanding the words) to verbal communication and then
to being able to read the word well enough to take away the picture. This cut down on frustration
in our home tremendously!
My daughter was able to understand those cards before she was able to use the word. The
same holds true for children that use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and
other speaking assistant programs. Put the word with the picture so that your child is getting a
constant reinforcement of the word, and he or she will begin to learn to read.
4. You can reintroduce phonics later. My daughter who is autistic picked up reading very early
just by being read to and having books available to her all the time. She skipped all the phonics
workbooks that I started my other children on. Still, she needed those early rules in order to learn
to sound out harder words and to continue to make progress in her reading.
I was able to pick and choose phonics rules and work with her on them. She has been
reading for years, but she still has moments of complete black-and-white thinking. On the whole,
success in reading in general and maturity (she became more teachable as she matured) have
helped her make use of phonetic rules that are not absolute.
5. Reading comprehension needs some extra attention. After your child has gotten over
the hurdle of deciphering letters and words, he now has to work on comprehension. I have
talked with several mothers of autistic children and have found that reading is one thing, but
understanding what they are reading is different.
One little guy who is very near and dear to my heart can read a book lightning quick.
He can even remember whole sections of the book, but he will completely miss the storyline or
meaning of the book altogether.
You can also see this problem creep in when using multiple-choice tests. Take a test
that has A as a correct answer, but C is also correct, and so is D, which says “Both A and C are
correct.” A child with autism tends to have that black-and-white thinking. In other words, if
A is correct—that’s it. Period. He won’t read further. It makes no sense to him that more than
one answer would be correct when most of what he deals with are problems that have only one
correct answer.
First, to develop reading comprehension, try stopping your child after every page and
asking him what he just read about on that page. How does this page relate to the previous
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pages? Having your child read the comprehension questions before he reads the text is another
way to encourage him to think more critically about the entire story.
As for testing, make a habit of having your autistic child read all the test possibilities.
When you run across a multiple-answer question, relate it to your life. Here’s an example of what
I’m talking about: “Jimmy is my son. He was born first; he’s A. Then you were born; you’re B.
You are also my son. If asked, I will say that both you and Jimmy are my children. So both A
and B are correct.” When put in concrete, understandable terms, you can often see that light of
understanding go on!
You can teach your autistic child to read. However, it may take more time and different
methods than you had planned to use. It has enlightened me to think out of the box and leave no
option untried. I am glad that I chose to try whole word/sight reading with my son, because he
needed that. You have years to help your child learn to read, so don’t stress. Enjoy the path to
reading!
Heather Laurie is a wife and homeschool mom of five children with three more in heaven.
Heather brings a unique perspective to families with special needs children as she struggles
with special needs herself. She and her children have a mitochondrial disorder that causes a
variety of medical and learning problems. Four of her children are on the autism spectrum and
have varying levels of sensory problems. Heather’s hope is to help other homeschoolers be able
to homeschool their children to be the very best they can be, regardless of their weaknesses or
strengths. Heather has spoken at homeschool conferences and has a blog where she ministers to
moms with special needs kids: specialneedshomeschooling.com.
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Loving Reading
By Ruth O’Neil
I have always loved to read. When I was in Kindergarten my mom bought me a set of
books for summer reading. Even after I grew too old for those books, I kept them carefully
packed away in my closet so that my own children could read and enjoy them later in life. Who
knew that I would decide to homeschool my children? While I was growing up, homeschooling
was virtually unheard of. Who knew that the company my mother bought those treasured books
from would be the same company from whom I would purchase my children’s curriculum?
Coincidence? Maybe.
Those books set the stage for my love of reading. I
You may have reading
would visit the library regularly and borrow book after book.
issues such as I have
I read so much that sometimes I had a difficult time finding a
with my son. He can
book I hadn’t already devoured.
Reading is such an important part of anyone’s
read—and he reads well.
education. Once a child learns how to read, the floodgates of
The problem is he just
knowledge are opened. Anything he wants to learn more about
doesn’t want to read.
is possible through reading. Teaching our kids to read is one
thing; however, keeping them interested in reading is another
story. Getting kids to read on their own outside of class time can sometimes be hard, especially if
they struggle with reading.
You may have reading issues such as I have with my son. He can read—and he reads
well. The problem is he just doesn’t want to read. Whenever he has to read a chapter in a book, I
always ask him to tell me what he read about. Sometimes, he gives me plenty of information that
assures me he did, in fact, read. Other times, he gives me a vague one-sentence summary that
makes me question whether he read it or not. Sometimes, the description he gives comes from a
picture at the beginning of the chapter.
One way I got around this, and helped him to really enjoy reading the book, was to have
him read the first chapter out loud. At times, that was enough to get him hooked on the rest of the
story so he would truly read it. Other times, we would take turns reading out loud.
Another way to test your kids to see if they actually read is to give them a quiz. Create
a five- or ten-question quiz on the book or story and give the child the quiz when they finish
reading the book. (One great resource book with quizzes already made up for you is Quizzes
for 220 Great Children’s Books by Polly Jeanne Wickstrom.) Make these quizzes something the
child looks forward to. Give the quiz orally so it doesn’t seem so much like a test. Give a special
reward if your child gets all the answers right. Most importantly, make it fun so that your child
will learn to love reading.
Then there was one of my daughters. Dyslexia kept her from reading books thoroughly
enough to really comprehend them. Along with some other options, I figured practice would be
one of the best ways she could learn to read better. Since her dyslexia was not severe, I bribed
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(yes, I bribed. Sometimes we have to resort to whatever means necessary!) her to read more by
promising to pay her for each book she read. I created a scale based on the number of pages in
a book. She could read to herself as long as she could tell me about the story. Money is a great
motivator! I did this with all of my kids, and guess who made the most money? Yes, the one who
struggled the most.
So, how do you get
Then there are the kids that just don’t like to read
books. My brother wasn’t a huge book reader when we were
young children who don’t
kids. He spent his time reading magazines. Although my mom
necessarily like to read,
would have liked him to read more books, she allowed him to
reading? Fake them out.
read his magazines. She would say, “At least he’s reading.”
That, after all is what is truly important.
Get creative.
So, how do you get young children who don’t
necessarily like to read, reading? Fake them out. Get creative. Make them read without them
knowing what they’re doing. Encourage them to read anything and everything.
Here are a few suggestions on getting your kids to read more, even if it isn’t exactly from
a book.
• Have them help you at the grocery store. Give them the grocery list and have them tell you
what you need. Have them read the packages and labels to make sure they have the right
item. For example, spaghetti sauce comes in all sorts of flavors. Have your child read the
choices and pick out which one he wants to try.
• Read road signs. Ask your child to help you with directions by looking for city or road signs.
A game my kids still like to play is the ABC Game. We go through the alphabet and find
words that begin with each letter of the alphabet in order. When a child finds the right letter
she shouts out the word in which she found the letter.
• Plan a vacation. Have your kids help you plan your next vacation by getting brochures. Have
the kids read these brochures and decide where they want to go and what places they want
to visit. Older children can help plan by finding the directions on the map spread out on the
dining room table. Have them jot down the names of towns you will drive through and the
road names you will need to know.
• Word puzzles are a great way not only to get kids to read, but word searches and crossword
puzzles help children read and spell. These games help take the drudgery out of reading. Use
spelling lists and make your own word puzzle.
• Recipes are another way to get kids to read. There are lists of ingredients and directions for
cooking. Encourage your child to read by buying him a cookbook that is age appropriate.
Sit down together and look through it for meal ideas. Children can also be responsible for
writing ingredients on the grocery list.
• Have them read to younger children. As your children get a little older, make them feel as if
they are helping you by reading to younger children. This can end up being a special time for
both the reader and the listener.
• The backs of cereal boxes are often geared towards kids. There can be fun games, interesting
facts, and puzzles. My kids actually fight over who gets to read the back of the boxes first.
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• Subscribe to age appropriate magazines. There are many magazines to choose from that
are appropriate and interesting to kids. You might be surprised at how they look forward to
receiving the next issue in the mail.
• Reading restaurant menus is a great reading exercise. Menus are full of new words for
children. When you get to the restaurant, hand everyone their own menu, allow them time to
look it over, and then tell you what they want to eat. Help with larger words if necessary, but
give them the opportunity to figure it out for themselves first.
Reading With All Five Senses
Another way to engage your children with reading is to bring the stories to life using a
multi-sensory approach. Marla Schultz’s Literature Kits on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the
curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, are a great way to do this! Would your
child rather hear about a man on a dangerous sea voyage or crawl into a homemade boat made
out of a cardboard box and take the voyage with him? Would he rather hear about foreign shores
or smell a native recipe cooking on the stove—and then get to taste it for himself?
Marla’s Literature Kits put all your child’s senses to use experiencing a different story
each month. Along the way, your family will explore geography, science, history, art, Bible,
language arts, and more! If you aren’t already a member, you can try the entire site out for $3.
Membership is only $12.95 a month after that, no matter how many children you have in your
family! Check out Marla Schultz’s Literature Kits and more than seventy other courses today!
Ruth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles
in numerous publications. She homeschools her three children. She and her husband have been
married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. Visit Ruth
at her blog ruths-real-life.blogspot.com or her website ruthoneil.weebly.com.
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From Barking to Fluency
Helping You Focus While Your Struggling Reader Figures It Out
By Kathy Reynolds
Book in hand, 12-year-old Brent barked1 nonstop throughout the reading. His frustration
mounted, he fumbled, and I felt awkward. My teacher-ingrained confidence trusted that my
young sons would fare far better than this young man was faring. Homeschooling? Scary stuff!
Uh-oh, my inflated ego was showing.
Later, having been humbled through our own struggles, I empathized with Brent and what
numerous other homeschoolers had experienced. I wish I had known more about the process my
later-age readers were going through.
My firstborn, Josiah, read early and easily. If one of my two middle sons had been first in
line, I’d have thought I failed, miserably.
•
•
•
•
A good teacher is not noted by how early a child masters important skills.
All kids don’t read and write fluently by second grade.
Those baffling, barking
The reading process varies, sometimes taking years.
days are over and
Poor readers in elementary school could end up as
thriving bibliophiles in high school.
we’ve been blessed to
Reading Can Wait
homeschool, which is
Parenting is a challenge. James 1:4 reminds us that
not scary and one of my
patience produces maturity (or perfection) with perpetual
favorite activities!
results. Better Late Than Early authors, Raymond and Dorothy
Moore, share many unconventional success stories through their
research and publications. Their conclusion is significant: “. . . We analyzed over 8,000 studies of
children’s senses, brain, cognition, socialization, etc., and are certain that no replicable evidence
exists for rushing children into formal study at home or school before 8 or 10.”2
I was eager, yet sometimes frazzled, as our homeschool adventures evolved. Gideon
and Ben were ages 11 and 10 when reading finally clicked, so that’s a five/six-year wait and
commitment to reading readiness activities compared to their older brother, who was fluent at 5.
We don’t just wait for their brains to get ready, though. In Different Learners, Jane Healy,
Ph.D. advises that we prepare the brains of late-bloomers by providing the right experiences,
and get this: she proposes that they may be smarter in the long run.3 She cites a study published
in 2006: “. . . Children who ended up with the superior intellectual abilities were the ones whose
brains took longest to mature—as much as four years longer—possibly because the extra time
helped them develop richer neural networks.”4 Was this the case for Albert Einstein, Thomas
Edison, or Leonardo da Vinci, who were noted for their learning glitches?5
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Attitude Is Prime
Many discouraged late-bloomers think of themselves as stupid. Children need
success—not failure, which can result in being labeled as some kind of failure. Thankfully, with
homeschooling, my sons were spared those disabling tags and accompanying ridicule, yet there
were instances in Sunday School, with neighbor kids, and with some well-intentioned adults that
we had to be wary of.
I believed that my sons would become young men of
character, great readers, and independent thinkers (they did!)—so
For us, phonics
my actions had to show it. It’s not about how quickly they get it or
wasn’t enough.
the number of books they read or how high they score on testing
day. It’s about meeting children face to face, loving them with the
We added a visuallove of Christ in us, being an example of His grace and goodness,
kinesthetic approach and enjoying life and learning together. Had I realized some things
earlier, my different learners would have figured things out with a
to our routine.
healthier can-do mindset, with less pushing and fretting, and with
more rejoicing and admiration for the mega-way God wired them.
Right Is Bright
In her consultation practice, Dianne Craft finds that 80% of the struggling learners she
sees are right-brain dominant.6 At 14, Jeremie asked me if I thought in pictures. “Huh?” It was a
Twilight Zone moment. As a visual-spatial learner,7 when he reads he sees pictures in his mind.
“Don’t you focus on and say the words to yourself?” I asked. Nope—he visualizes and then
stores it in his memory. Why didn’t I know this before?
“Aha!” That’s what I said while reading Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained
8
World. I now understood the tears and misunderstandings we had experienced. It’s no wonder
that reading aloud is frustrating: they see words, make the connection to turn them into pictures,
and then must verbalize them.9 But hey, these same kids will likely become great silent readers!
Just think—he who easily visualizes comprehends best.10 As a teenager, I remember devouring
difficult books with no comprehension; I read every word, but was I reading?
In college my husband and I took the same history class. My left-brained self attended
every lecture, studied and re-read every chapter in the book, and took copious notes, while my
husband just sat through the lecture—we both got a B. His and my sons’ method of figuring out
difficult problems in their heads astounds me; their memories are the notepads. Do right-brainers
have an advantage?
Phonics Plus Mnemonics
Eventually most right-brained children do learn to read by around third grade, probably
with the help of an expanding sight vocabulary.11 The more right-brained a child is, the less
progress you’ll likely see with your phonics program. For us, phonics wasn’t enough. We added
a visual-kinesthetic approach to our routine. Looking at color-coded cards and gazing upward
while visualizing, Ben clapped the rhythm with me while spelling words aloud. It appeared
that dictation and copywork—Charlotte Mason style, plus memorizing rhymes and Scripture,
reinforced the reading process and advanced their progress. Games like those found in Peggy
Kaye’s Games for Reading added an element of fun too.12
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Rule Out Dyslexia
According to Dr. Moore, dyslexia exists in brain-damaged children, and we should
not attach the dyslexic label to a child simply because his physiology is not mature enough
to tackle the complexity of reading at the moment.13 The subtle dyslexic tendencies my sons
displayed were not an issue after I read John Holt’s interesting perspective about dyslexia in
his book Teach Your Own.14 Prayerfully seeking knowledge about human biology, nutritional
science, and learning styles is important, and sometimes professional help and testing is
warranted. Become the expert.
Take heart and change your focus. Consider that your child is not delayed or
disabled—God’s design is that we don’t all learn in the same ways or on the same schedule.
Thank God, and revel in who your child is.
“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be
moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope”
(Psalm 16: 8–9).
Encourage Independent Interests
Inspire kids to explore their fascinations and fine-tune their pursuits. If your focus is
on areas your child is enthusiastic about, reading won’t be as big of an issue. You should read
aloud, exposing your child to the wonders of language, but set a five-minute oral limit for your
child. Our sons craved books about facts, science, action, oddities, biographies—and those
that struck the funny bone. Enjoy growing your home library with the use of resources such as
Who Should We Then Read.15
Success! Our sons eventually figured it out while I focused on character with one main
academic goal: to give them the tools necessary for independent learning. Those baffling,
barking days are over and we’ve been blessed to homeschool, which is not scary and one of
my favorite activities!
Kathy homeschooled her four sons for twenty-three years—the youngest is a
2012 homeschooling graduate. All are excellent readers, lovers of life and learning, and
independent-thinking entrepreneur types like their dad. Kathy is a freelance writer and newly
re-licensed RN with interests in holistic natural health, raw food preparation, book collecting
and encouraging others. Visit Kathy at her blogs: LivingLearningatHome.blogspot.com and
RawChef30days.blogspot.com.
Endnotes:
1. Known as barking at print: sounding out the words, without expression or meaning.
2. www.moorefoundation.com/article/5/moore-formula.
3. Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Different Learners, Simon & Schuster, 2011, pg. 220.
4. Ibid., pg. 221.
5. Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T., and Laurie Parsons, Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1997,
pg. 31.
6. www.diannecraft.org. Excellent site to help with visual processing and a variety of learning problems.
7. www.dyslexia.com/library/silver1.htm.
8. Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T., and Laurie Parsons, Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World, Simon & Schuster, 1997.
9. Ibid., pg. 104.
10. Ibid., pg. 113.
11. Ibid., pg. 106.
12. Peggy Kaye, Games for Reading, Pantheon Books, 1984, www.peggykaye.com/target.php?ct=welcome.
13. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1994, pg. 102.
14. John Holt, Teach Your Own, Da Capo Press, 2003.
15. Jan Bloom, Who Should We Then Read, Booksbloom, 2001.
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Literature Turns a Struggling Reader
Into a Reader
By Melissa Campbell Rowe
Sitting with a 6-year-old who is struggling to identify fifteen letters can be disheartening.
It’s worse when his 3-year-old brother comes over and points to the letter B after big brother
guesses wrong for the third time. Quietly, the parent collects the worn alphabet cards as the
6-year-old glances at his 3-year-old brother. “Lucky guess,” Mom says, trying to comfort the
6-year-old. But the 6-year-old thinks reading is hard.
Many children struggle with reading into their teen years.
Struggles with reading do not limit a child’s potential. Personal
When readers make
success as an adult largely depends on the attitudes of people in
predictions about
the struggling reader’s life, and luckily for homeschool students,
the story, reading
the people in their lives are motivated to help the child reach his
potential. A child’s reading potential can be increased by shifting
comprehension
focus from phonics to literature and by following some simple
improves.
strategies.
Reading is more than sounding out words. Reading’s
purpose is to get to the story. Literature is the story and the key to transforming a struggling
teen-reader into a reader. The simplest strategy is to read out loud and focus on story rather than
phonics—the lessons of literature should not hide behind puzzlement over letters and words.
Keep reading out loud and discussing books despite struggles with phonics.
Literature teaches lessons. Focus on lessons found in literature. Discuss what Scout
learned in To Kill a Mockingbird rather than focusing on sounding out the vocabulary word
jubilantly.
Make predictions to increase reading comprehension. When readers make predictions
about the story, reading comprehension improves. Making predictions is a skill good readers do
naturally, but struggling readers can learn this skill by keeping a literature notebook. Begin the
notebook by writing predictions before reading. Evaluate clues gleaned from the cover photo
and the table of contents to make a “guess” about the book before even starting the book. This
gets the reader actively thinking about what might happen. It sparks interest, which in turn will
improve understanding.
In the literature notebook, predictions are written down. Reading has a purpose now:
to find out if the predictions are right. Readers are also learning to “read between the lines” to
make predictions about what will happen in the next chapter. In the notebook, write a prediction
about the next chapter and check to see if past predictions were correct. With this simple step of
predicting outcomes or events, the reader stays connected with the story. As the reader develops
prediction strategies, he may want to work more independently. Be sure to follow up independent
reading with discussion.
If possible, provide the struggling reader with books on tapes or audio downloads.
Hearing a story sometimes brings the book to life for readers/listeners. The teen-reader will glean
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sight words and phonetic clues as he reads along with the tape. Listening to books is not cheating
but rather is adapting, which enables a struggling teen-reader to delight in literature. Delight
leads to more interest, which leads to more reading, which leads to better comprehension.
Another way to bring a book to life is to choose a book that has been made into a
movie. Hamlet is a great choice for struggling teen-readers. Use Jenny Mueller’s Hamlet,
which provides the original text and line-by-line translations. Follow up by watching the movie
together. Hamlet starring Glenn Close brings the story alive even in the Old English. There are
many movies based on classic books.
Struggling readers should not miss out on experiencing
Thoughtful book
literature. Provide a struggling reader with the needed tools and
choices for the
he will become competent and confident in the world of literature.
struggling reader
Thoughtful book choices for the struggling reader include books
that intrigue him based on personal interest. For example, sportsinclude books that
minded kids may enjoy reading Sports Illustrated for Kids.
intrigue him based on
However, reading classic books should be part of a student’s
“required” reading. As a child, when General Patton struggled
personal interest.
with reading, his parents provided him with comic book versions
of classics such as Moby Dick. Some classics are available in condensed form, which may be
more manageable for struggling readers. Choose classic, high-interest, short stories and continue
the use of the literature notebook for predictions.
I asked my own struggling reader, now an adult reader, “What book first sparked your
interest in reading?” He said, “It was Holes. We rented the movie after we read the book, and it
was the first time I realized that movies were based on books. I knew what books were for.” This,
of course, set us off on a journey of reading books made into movies. Even though he is now in
college, we recently read The Lost World by Michael Critchon. Amazingly, there are only a few
characters and a couple of scenes from the book that made it into the movie. I’m not going to tell
which ones. You will have to read it for yourself to find out!
Melissa Campbell Rowe has twenty-seven years of experience as an educator. She
homeschooled her two sons from kindergarten to graduation. Currently Melissa is the director of
Grace Academy, which provides educational and enrichment classes to homeschooled students.
She also tutors privately and provides online instruction in English and writing. Melissa is
the mother of a young adult with autism and volunteers with Next Step, a program to provide
postsecondary education to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She
holds her bachelor of science in education, with certification in special education, speech and
language, and early childhood development.
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10 Tips for Teaching Reading
By Mary Jo Tate
1. Read aloud.
Read aloud to your children from infancy. Cuddle them on your lap and enjoy a special
time together. Start with simple picture books, and then move on to more complex stories. As
they begin to recognize letters and learn phonics, point out sounds, words, and punctuation, but
don’t overshadow the story. As they learn to read, take turns reading aloud.
Include younger children in family read-aloud time.
They can understand more difficult material than they can read
There is no specific age
independently. Continue reading aloud as a family even after
at which every child
all your children can read. Also listen to audiobooks in the car,
while doing household chores, or at bedtime.
should learn to read. Be
sensitive to when your
2. Emphasize language.
Draw your children’s attention to how words are used
child is ready, and don’t
in everyday life. Read labels, recipes, and instructions as well
push him too early.
as books, newspapers, and magazines. Point out billboards and
street signs.
Nursery rhymes and poems introduce children to the rhythm and fun of how words fit
together; read them aloud and memorize them together. Tell jokes and riddles, make up silly
rhymes or songs, and enjoy playing with words.
3. Consider readiness.
There is no specific age at which every child should learn to read. Be sensitive to when
your child is ready, and don’t push him too early. Be encouraging but patient. At some point, you
might want to have your child’s vision checked or have him tested for learning challenges; but he
may just need more time.
Persevere with struggling readers. When they hit a wall, take a break for a few days or
even a couple of weeks. Three of my sons learned to read around age six, but one struggled
simply to move from “c-at” to “cat.” At age nine, something suddenly clicked, and he was soon
reading fluently. Persevere with reluctant readers as well as late readers. Keep offering a wide
variety of books on different subjects—both fiction and nonfiction—and eventually something
will capture their interest.
4. Teach phonics.
Phonics is a time-tested method for teaching children how to read well. They must
learn how to identify letters and individual sounds, blend sounds into words, decode words and
sentences, and read fluently without stopping to decipher individual words. Elaborate, expensive
phonics programs are unnecessary; simple is best. Avoid pictorial clues; a child isn’t really
learning to read d-o-g if he sees a picture of a dog.
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Keep lessons short. Saying sounds while copying brief passages reinforces what they are
learning. Don’t push new readers into harder books too fast; reading lots of easy books at first
provides practice and builds confidence.
5. Integrate language arts.
Instead of teaching skills in isolation, integrate
write in their books. This vocabulary, spelling, grammar, penmanship, composition, and
literature as much as possible. Copywork and dictation provide
makes the book their
practice in all of these areas. Reading good books provides
own, makes reading
models of well-written sentences, paragraphs, essays, and
more active, and makes stories. Discuss how authors craft sentences, choose words, and
structure arguments or plots.
it easy to review.
Assign essays about what your children are reading in
literature, science, or history. Encourage their creativity with fun
assignments such as writing their own stories, imagining alternate endings, or rewriting a passage
from one author in the style of another author.
Teach older students to
6. Read good books.
Avoid dumbed-down, poorly written books. Instead, focus on classics that are well written,
contain thought-provoking ideas, and have stood the test of time. Classics include both enduring
children’s books by authors like Beatrix Potter and Laura Ingalls Wilder and the “great books” by
authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
Choose age-appropriate books. Young children need positive examples to emulate; older
students can also learn from negative examples to avoid. Ask questions about characters’ choices
and discuss how they could have handled things better. Use books to teach discernment. Reading
books with which you disagree stretches your mind and teaches you to defend your position more
skillfully.
7. Use narration and discussion.
Comprehension worksheets that merely test recall of facts destroy the pleasure of reading.
Instead, provide open-ended opportunities for children to share what they have heard or read.
Don’t look for specific answers; let them decide what is important. Ask them to tell you the story
in their own words or explain what they learned about a topic or character. Write down some of
their narrations; this is early practice in composition.
Focus on discussion with older students. Encourage them to form their own opinions about
what they read and teach them to find something to appreciate about a classic, even if they didn’t
enjoy it. Co-ops provide great opportunities for group discussions.
8. Write in and about books.
Teach older students to write in their books. This makes the book their own, makes reading
more active, and makes it easy to review. They can underline, star, or bracket important points;
write captions or keywords at the tops of pages; argue with the author in the margin; create a
topical index; and mark favorite quotes. For library or borrowed books, they can take notes as they
read or use an index card as a bookmark and jot down page numbers to come back to.
Older students should keep a reading journal to record their reflections on what they read.
They should focus not merely on facts but on ideas, themes, characters, and literary style, as well
as questions or ideas they want to discuss.
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9. Make reading a family priority.
Set an example by letting your children see you read. If reading isn’t important to you,
it probably won’t be to them either. Make reading a daily habit. Have older children read to
younger children and vice versa. Encourage children to read books of their choice as well as
assigned books. Provide a wide variety, both fiction and nonfiction.
When someone has a question, try to find the answer in a book before searching Google.
Visit the library and the bookstore. Enjoy activities such as cooking foods mentioned in a story,
drawing pictures, acting out plots, or traveling to locations where favorite books are set. Make
books accessible by placing bookcases throughout the house and keeping young children’s books
on low shelves. Set out baskets of seasonal books or books on interesting topics.
10. Build a home library.
Building a family library creates a culture of reading and an atmosphere for learning. You
can find great deals at secondhand bookstores, thrift stores, library sales, and yard sales. Aim for
breadth (books on a wide variety of topics) and depth (lots of books on specific topics). Collect
books about your children’s interests, books by favorite authors, and good series, such as the
Landmark history books.
Give books as birthday and Christmas gifts build your children’s personal libraries.
Provide bookshelves in their rooms to hold their own collections as well as favorites from the
family library.
Recommended Resources
• The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick
• You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick
• Alpha-Phonics by Samuel Blumenfeld
• How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren
• How to Grow a Young Reader by Kathryn Lindskoog and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker
• Who Should We Then Read? by Jan Bloom
Mary Jo Tate, author of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, has been educating
her four sons at home since 1997. She is a book coach, international editor, time management
coach, and speaker. Visit www.FlourishAtHome.com for a free e-book, From Frazzled to
Focused, as well as ongoing encouragement, inspiration, and practical strategies to help you
balance your busy life.
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What Would Happen if You Did Not Teach
Your Children to Read?
By Pat Wesolowski
Would you scar them for life? Would CPS take your children away? Would your children
grow up illiterate? One year I made the decision not to teach my youngest two children to read.
Why would I make such a decision? Being an enthusiastic homeschooling mother, I found it easy
to teach my oldest two girls to read at age 4. Piece of cake. Then the three boys came along. No
more cake for me.
Having a father who taught at FSU and a sister who
Being confident that my
is a university professor, I succumbed to the pressures of
youngest two would
meeting the expectations of others and tried, repeatedly, to
teach the boys to read. Finally, at the suggestion of a friend,
eventually learn to read,
I read several books such as Homeschooling for Excellence,
I made the decision not to
Better Late Than Early, and Learning in Spite of Labels.
Realizing I was probably causing all kinds of problems by
teach them to read in order
forcing this issue, I backed off and relaxed.
to see what would happen.
The older two boys did learn to read, but they did not
develop a love for reading. The third boy (fifth child) was
fortunate in that I had relaxed before he was old enough to be damaged by my desire to make
all of my kiddos read by a certain age, and out of my nine children, he is my most avid reader.
With the next two children I continued to be relaxed but did teach them to read, eventually, using
the book Teach Your Child to Read in One Hundred Easy Lessons. They were both reading by
Lesson 40.
By this time I had authored a few homeschooling publications, and I was often asked
to speak at homeschool conventions. During my talks I suggested that a parent could attempt
to raise a child without teaching him anything and then, in his senior year, catch up to where
the world thought he needed to be, educationally speaking. There are a few problems with that
suggestion, to-wit: (1) It is impossible not to teach your child something every day, and (2) those
of us who love learning and teaching would find that task impossible. However, in light of the
pressure so many moms were putting themselves under, I did decide not to teach my youngest
two children to read and see what would happen. Knowing that it is far more important that a
child eventually learns to read than it is to brag about the age when one learns to read, I was
willing to take a wait-and-see attitude. Guess what happened?
Before I tell you the rest of the story, let’s discuss the importance of developing an
educational mission statement. If your number-one desire is to raise children who make high
scores on standardized tests, you will have different goals than a parent who desires to raise a
child who loves learning and who can find information independently, verify it, and share it with
others. For many years now I have encouraged parents to be the master of their ships, setting the
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sail toward their desired destinations, planning their academic adventure based on their goals
instead of commonly held ideas about scope and sequence, segregating subjects. I frowned upon
the idea of duplicating the school system with which we are all most familiar.
Instead, I suggested that parents concentrate on developing a Biblical worldview, reading
good books, and creating public speaking opportunities, as well as teaching logic, debate, and
current events. In addition, and perhaps most important, I suggested that parents teach their
children how to ask the right questions, question the answers, and be secure in discovering the
truth (developing strong research skills). Being confident that my youngest two would eventually
learn to read, I made the decision not to teach them to read in order to see what would happen.
What I did do each year, with purpose, was to plan and expedite co-ops that were designed to
create a safe and friendly learning environment. These co-ops created opportunities for honing
the skills most important to raising functioning, thoughtful
There is no magical
children who can think critically, who understand why they
formula for when a child believe what they believe, and who can articulate and defend
those beliefs orally and in writing.
should be taught to read,
Was I concerned that my experiment would harm my
children?
Absolutely not, or I would not have been willing
nor is there one particular
to forgo reading lessons. When an adult applies for a job, he
method that will work
is never asked this question: “At what age did you learn to
with every child.
read?” Employers do not care when you learned to read; they
only care that you can read. Did you know that there is a U.S.
President who did not learn to read until his wife taught him at age 17? (Use your research skills
and verify that fact.)
Reading is a means to an end—not the end itself. We want to fan the flames of interest
and show our children how reading is a tool that provides encouragement, comfort, information,
and more.
By the way, I love to read, and I have always read aloud to my family. Our read-alouds
were chosen to enhance the co-op studies. I’m also a book-aholic and a firm believer that there
are never enough bookcases in a home to house all the books one should have on hand. Our nonreaders had access to quite a few picture books and easy readers, which they could enjoy during
rest time and play time.
The year I had decided not to worry about teaching my youngest two to read we were
involved, as usual, in a co-op. We met once a week with several families whose children ranged
in age from 4 to 16. Each week the students would give oral presentations to the group. My
youngest, Ben, was quite shy and was usually clinging to my leg. The next to the youngest,
Courtney, loved giving presentations, and since she could not yet read, she would memorize
her reports. Even if I had been planning to teach these two to read, I would not have begun the
lessons that particular year, because they were only 5 and 6 years old.
A wonderful thing happens at co-ops when children give weekly presentations: A few
of the students give such great presentations that it motivates the others to reach higher levels
of skill. Some of the children progressed from reading their presentations to using note cards
as reminders. Courtney noticed this and asked me to put her presentation on note cards for her.
When I asked her why she wanted note cards, since she could not read, she told me that she
wanted to be like the older students. (Little did she realize that her memorization skills made her
presentations better than the ones given by those who read reports or used note cards.)
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I humored her and wrote a few sentences on some 3 x 5 cards. Rather than write her
exact report, I made up sentences that pertained to her subject matter, but they weren’t verbatim
to what she had memorized, since I believed she would only be pretending to read. Imagine my
surprise when Courtney gave her report that day and instead of sharing what she had memorized,
she read what I had written on the cards. After she finished her report I exclaimed, “Courtney, did
you know you could read?” She smiled, and this was the beginning of her reading adventure.
Ben, who for weeks simply clung to my leg, began to relax and enjoy co-op so much
that he was soon giving reports as well. He did not ask for 3 x 5 cards, and he was not reading
that year, but he, too, eventually learned to read without a formal lesson! Although I did not use
formal reading lessons with the youngest two, I did take advantage of opportunities to reinforce
rules of phonics, pronunciation, and spelling, as those opportunities arose.
Is my goal to stop parents from teaching their children to read? Absolutely not. Reading
is a vital and necessary skill that everyone should perfect. What I hope I have conveyed is this:
Children learn at different ages and in different manners. There is no magical formula for when a
child should be taught to read, nor is there one particular method that will work with every child.
Research shows that a child’s eyes can be damaged if he is expected to read at too young of an
age. From my experience I know that trying to force lessons on children before they are ready
only creates additional problems.
Decide on long-range goals and then make a plan for reaching those goals, but keep in
mind that raising children who enjoy learning is far more important than raising children who
can read by a certain age. You can do it, and you do not need to worry if your child is not reading
by a certain age, as long as he eventually learns to read!
Pat Wesolowski has been married to Don for forty years. She is the mother of nine
children and soon-to-be grandmother of nine, and she has been homeschooling her children for
more than twenty-seven years. Pat began writing curricula for homeschoolers in 1993. She has
written several unit study guides that can be found at her website: www.dpkhomeschool.com.
In addition, Pat blogs about homeschooling co-ops and worldview issues.
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Surviving Struggling to Read
By Melanie Young and Samuel Adams Young
I thought I was one Super Homeschool Mom. Our three older children learned to read
early and were taking off academically. No problems. I can handle this. Then, I began to teach
Samuel to read.
He was just as smart as his brothers, so it was a shock. Some days he remembered
the letters and even their sounds, but at other times it was like he’d never seen them before.
Sometimes he’d say his stomach hurt when we did school. I thought he was trying to get out of
working. It was so frustrating! I felt like crying many days.
My earliest memory of learning to read was in the den
When I said the alphabet with a ring-bound curriculum we have. Mom was trying to
get me to read the first page or two over and over. The words
forward and backward,
were just dancing around on the page. I was crying and she
when I’d been unable to
was frustrated. I kept wanting to go to the bathroom. Mom
learn it at all, I think that said I was old-soldiering and that I could go when I was
done. I just remember crying and crying. Finally she gave up.
was the first time I cried
I don’t think I made it to the bottom of the page.
with joy.
I thought it must be the curriculum, so we tried
phonics program after phonics program. Meanwhile, I felt
like an absolute failure and so did Samuel. I prayed and prayed for wisdom and cried rivers over
it. Samuel was sure that he was the problem.
For a while, I was scared to death people would find out I was dumb. I just took it for
granted I was dumb at that point.
I didn’t think he could have dyslexia, because sometimes he could sound out the words.
On the days that he couldn’t, I just thought he wasn’t focusing or wasn’t interested. I was so
wrong. I wish I could go back and be more understanding. Finally someone suggested The Gift
of Dyslexia by Ron Davis. What he had to say about the way someone with dyslexia thinks was
completely foreign to me, so I described it to Samuel to ask him what he thought.
I remember that—the mind’s eye and the anchors. Finally, I realized what was the
matter with me. Finally, someone understood and explained what it was. It gave me relief and
excitement. At the time, all I could think was that it made me feel special—it made me feel
different. For the first time, I thought of dyslexia as a gift and not as a problem with me.
I bought clay for Samuel to make the letters in 3-D, as Davis suggested. The book said
that when he was done, he’d be able to say them backwards, so I asked, but I thought there was
no way on earth—he couldn’t even say them forwards prior to that day. I nearly fainted when he
did it perfectly both ways.
I didn’t want to do it. I felt like it made me different from other guys. I felt like it meant I
was too stupid to learn to read any other way. When I said the alphabet forward and backward,
when I’d been unable to learn it at all, I think that was the first time I cried with joy.
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It was about this time, when Samuel was 9 or 10, that I heard Dianne Craft speak at a
conference. What she was saying made sense. I bought her Brain Integration Handbook and
decided we’d use it every day for a year. I was desperate at that point. I was wondering if Samuel
would ever be able to read. It was a challenge, though, because all the different exercises and
activities didn’t seem to have much to do with reading.
When we first got it, I was rather upset because I thought there was no way it would help;
there was nothing that could help me at that point. At that age, I thought I was a lot more grown
up than I actually was. I was bigger than most kids and people thought I was older. I saw myself
as a grown-up and this seemed like preschooler stuff. It was really hard.
Samuel learned to read that year. The exercises didn’t make it all better right away,
but over the course of that year, it all came together. Then he realized that he could read like
everyone else.
I was reading some children’s book, I think. I slowly
I wish I could tell the
read each word, sounding each one out. It was a simple book,
young people struggling
just a few words on each page. I got to the end, closed it
and got tears in my eyes. I thought, “I actually read a book.
with this to just keep
Maybe this is conquerable. Maybe I’m not just dumb. Maybe I
trying! People that learn
can get over this.”
to read late usually learn
From that time on, his reading just took off. It
happened so quickly! It was amazing. Now Samuel is in high
very quickly.
school, doing well, and managing a couple of businesses on
the side with his brothers. They run Grain of Truth Bread
Company, selling grain mills on the Internet, and Samuel, though the youngest partner, is really
the driving force behind it. They are just starting a new business selling handmade bow ties—
Carolina Clothiers. So what does Sam think about reading now?
It’s a gift. They say you never really appreciate anything unless you can’t have it. I know
lots of people who don’t appreciate reading or never really thought it was anything special, but
I worked for years and shed buckets of tears over it. I thought I was dumb. I thought I couldn’t
do it. Now that I can read, I know how beautiful and good it is. I really think it is a blessing and
altogether one of the most useful and fun things you can learn how to do. For every page of
unpleasant stuff you have to read, you’ll end up reading fifty or a hundred pages of good rich
history or great novels or the Bible.
I wish I had been way more patient with Samuel and less hard on myself. I asked Samuel
what he would say to mothers teaching a struggling reader.
Two things, really: Never, never stop encouraging. My mom did a very good job. Nearly
every day she told me about someone who had dyslexia and became great—Thomas Edison,
George Patton, and others. Number two, do not blame yourself for pushing your son or daughter
so hard when you didn’t understand they had a learning disability, because the gift of a loving
mother in a son or daughter’s life is one of the biggest blessings God ever created.
I wish I could tell the young people struggling with this to just keep trying! People that
learn to read late usually learn very quickly. Samuel is reading the same things his brothers did in
high school. Samuel encourages them to hang on too.
Just know that no matter what you may think or what anyone tells you, whether you think
you’re dumb. whether you can’t read, can’t write, whether your problem is physical or whatever,
you can conquer it. You can conquer dyslexia. Don’t be afraid of who you are or who God made
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you to be, because God made you perfectly just the way you are. He made you dyslexic for a
reason, because without the battle, you don’t have the victory.
And the victory is so sweet.
Melanie Young is the author, with her husband Hal, of Raising Real Men, Christian
Small Publishers’ 2011 Book of the Year, and an upcoming book on marriage, My Beloved and
My Friend. Melanie is the mother of six boys and two girls who were homeschooled from the
beginning. www.RaisingRealMen.com, www.Facebook.com/raisingrealmen, www.Twitter.
com/raisingrealmen
Samuel Adams Young is a homeschool high school student and the third son of Hal and Melanie
Young. He is part owner of Grain of Truth Bread Company and Carolina Clothiers.
www.GrainofTruthBreadCompany.com, www.facebook.com/CarolinaClothiers
Resources:
1. Davis, Ronald D., and Eldon M. Braun. The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest
People Can’t Read— and How They Can Learn. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2010. Print.
www.dyslexia.com.
2. Craft, Dianne. The Brain Integration Therapy Manual. Denver, CO: Child Diagnostics, 2010.
Print. www.diannecraft.com.
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