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July 15, 2008



So we see where folks who liked elephant and piggie can recommend the next step. My younger daughter was and is such a stubborn non reader we told her we'd take herout of her school, and then she started her turn around. A big threat combined with interesting books and enforced reading time...with a reading closet makeover! Woo!


You hear about toddlers who never say a word until they can start speaking in complete sentences. Maybe he's waiting until he's really good at it.

Stephanie T.

and the problem is?
let me get this straight...He knows sounds and symbols, can 'sound out' new words, you feel he has more 'inner' reading comp. than he lets on...and will occasionally read on his own (ummm, when he feels like it???) There is no known developmental/identifiable delay.Nothing organic? Can he track the letters and lines visually without getting lost or a headache? (if you haven't gone to a pediatric eye doctor ...do it...and rule it out...tracking problems are VERY common in kids) Frustrates easily if threatened with failure (omg, that part is Lauren...cries and gives up)
Seems to me, all you need to do with your 'minnie me' is find the right carrot! Does he have a current obsession? Natalie's carrot was writing her OWN stories,which lead to reading books about the subject she was writing about. Lauren's was a complete, undying fascination with turtles (she has read at least 30 books about them!).

let me know what happens...
breathe mom...breathe
Each one responds to a different reward system too.


My voracious reader of an oldest child didn't have reading "click" until he was in the middle of his first grade year, and then like Helena posted, he just took off into reading.

He'll get there. I know.


you can email me at willkat@gmail.com and I will call you and talk to you for hours about this because WE JUST WENT THROUGH IT ALL.

Outline: kids need to read the books they feel safe reading over and over and over

an new book should pass the "five finger test"

yes, put aside other studies for now - unschool for now

find a story HE LOVES for you to read to him. Something additively good, preferably a loooooooooooooooong series. then start "traders." He reads you one of his books - yes even if its the same book of Bob the Builder over and over and over. Then you read him a chapter. Do this seemingly forever. Begin to slowly require more from his reading, a new Bob the Builder book. Another book just as easy.

He sounds like a site reader. So. You read the "easy" book to him. Then he reads it to you. You read every word he can't get - or sound it for him. He will memorise them all. (Astounding, really.)

Have him make his own books. He dictates to you. You type and bind them. He decorates them. He reads them over and over because they are his words. They become indelible - voila - site words.

Call me. We can talk.


Also, perfectionism is an issue with these kids. Does that sound familiar?

Love and courage to you, I forgot to say that before.


Also, I can forward you all the information I got from my dear friend who is an elementary educator and started her own school and is a general bad ass. She was very helpful to me. I'd be happy to share her advice with you.


Also, I feel you, Dog. Can you tell? Did I mention we JUST went through this? So just did. Fuck, its hard.


One more wee little comment. Do you read Blueyonder? I link to her from my blog. Today she blogged about this book: "A week or two ago, we hit upon a REALLY good story. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate Dicamillo." And how very very much her boys are into it. So there's another tip for ya. :) Is there a comments limit here? Are the Portland Blog Police about to come get me?


My stepson was like this. His teachers were concerned he had a learning disability and put him in an 'extra' class for awhile, until they decided he was just lazy. I don't know the reason for his initial lack of reading, (between ages 8-14) but at home we just kept reading fun. I read Harry Potter out loud to him every night. Then he got hooked on audiobooks. Finally, somewhere around the mid-teens he got sick of waiting for new audiobooks and went to his school library. He is never without a book nearby now. One of the biggest readers I know.

If it's just reluctance and not visual problems or something, then don't worry and offer him the reading options he enjoys. Pressure free exposure to books creates kids who love reading.


I hate to sound like the bad guy about the threat, but we felt like if we were paying so much for a school she couldn't keep up in, wouldn't she be happier at one that is not such a challenge? Now she stays up too late reading teen thrillers.


Dr. Suess: Fox in Sox.

Get Rhys to try the tongue twisters with you; then take turns reading lines; then take turns reading pages. Best: make up new ones and write them and illustrate them.

Fox in Sox rewards mistakes with laughter. Making mistakes should be as much fun as getting it right.

It took a while, but Dr. Suess and I helped Curtis get over his reading fears and now he's a voracious reader and danged successful college student.

Blue Like the Sky

Oh, jeeeez, I have one, too! My Anna, age eight, can read just fine, thank you very much, but announces that she "HATES TO READ!!!!!" She wants us to read to her all the time, loves books, exactly as you describe. And she's a perfectionist. And more than a wee bit lazy.

Drives me crazy.

My amazing teacher friend tells me to just lie low and let her find her way. But I still "make" her read 30 minutes a day, her choice. She announces, with high girl drama, "If you want me to love reading, the worst way to make it happen is to MAEK me read, Mommy!" and huffs off into her room. Then reads for 45.

Blue Like the Sky

Uhhhhh...that would be MAKE.


ok i know you know all this, but you asked so:
1. don't compare your kids. you set yourself up for a world of hurt (yours and theirs) and doubt and it does nobody any good.

2. for goodness sakes, don't bother dumbing anything down. not anything. if they don't understand they will ask questions. you'll get it if it's too hard a concept for them to understand and you can come back to it. they don't have to see pic after pic of broken and bloody, but explain the facts and carry on. dumbing down in school is why you homeschool, nyet va/n'est-ce pas?


Most of the kids I know (homeschoolers mostly, plus some nieces and nephews) have become fluent readers somewhere in the 2nd to 3rd grade zone, so I definitely wouldn't freak out at age 7. I also have a 7-year-old beginning-reader (and so was my daughter). As long as we're making steady progress, I'm not worried. If he reaches a point where he seems stuck, isn't making much progress and getting frustrated, I'll consider taking him to a reading specialist for an evaluation, but not at age 7, since he doesn't seem to have any particular organic issues.

The thing I wanted to weigh in on was your second dilemma about whether you should pitch all other school stuff out the window and just concentrate on reading. I don't know what other school stuff you do, but I'd advocate for liberal use of video and audio format stuff for topics he's really interested in. You want to give kids a steady diet of the stuff they find fascinating, and you don't need to read to do lots of great history, science, and math, if those are things he loves. Don't forget online videos, too--there are tons of great sites that have free online clips. If you haven't already, try PBS for starters (http://www.pbs.org/video/?campaign=pbshomepage_videoagg_link). Also, The History Channel (http://www.history.com/media.do?action=listing&sortBy=1&sortOrder=A&topic=WORLD%20HISTORY)

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