Sunday, August 23, 2015

When Your Own Child Struggles with Reading ~ Taking Action (Part 1)

Hello Friends!
Happy Sunday!  Got that cup of coffee?  Good!  Today I share about how I am taking action to help my daughter with her reading struggles and what your first steps can be.  If you're just stopping by for the first time you can catch up on this series with my first two posts on this topic here.  I shared some real and honest talk about what it's like to be a teacher whose child is struggling with reading and how I came to the decisions that I did.

Now it's time to take action.  We are taking action.  We have "Mamacademy" every morning.  I plan just under an hour's work.  Some days we finish real quick.  Other days it has taken us ALL MORNING!!  ALL MORNING!!!  Can you feel me?  Can you sense what these days are like?  Can you hear my frustration, exasperation, and prayers for patience??

I don't make her sit for the hour.  We take frequent breaks.  Favorite breaks are to grab a piece of gum (not allowed right before reading out loud), jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, play dough, downward dog holds, and if we're having a really rough morning... a quick run to the little park for 10 minutes on the swing.  We intersperse these breaks between the tasks.  I also used to let her play a quick math game on her ipad but we are currently grounded from all electronics... another story for another time.  :)

So what do kids need in order to learn to read?  (Whoa!  Loaded question!)
     I'm not going to be able to go into every single detail in a blog post.  It would take several blog posts.  If, after reading this, you still have questions please leave them for me in the comments and I will respond via email.  Promise!

*Kids need to know their letters and letter sounds.  This is one of the things we do so well as parents when our kids are young.  Every parent does it differently.  Are we perfect?  Nope!  Thankgoodness for preschool and kindergarten teachers who fill in the gaps for us.  There are tons of resources out there to help you help your child learn their letters and sounds.  You can read books and do letter crafts.  This is what I do every Tuesday with toddlers and preschoolers in the neighborhood as well as my own son who is 4.  Here's our playroom wall where I display our letter projects...
  I've also just discovered play dough mats.  These are terrific for kids.  Not only do they get the sensory experience of playing with the play dough, they also get practice forming letters in a fun way.  This is a great resource for free mats...

If your kids are older and ready for more of a worksheet format, Babbling Abby has this free resource which Suri and I LOVED doing during her kindergarten year...

*After kids know their letters and sounds they are ready to start learning how to put those letters and sounds together.  We're talking simple two letter words like ~at, ~in ~if ~up ~of, etc...  Get those magnetic letters out, make some letter tiles, save your lids and label them with letters.  Whatever works for you.  Do you or did you watch Sesame Street as a child?  Do you remember the parts where they teach how to put sounds together to form words? Just like that!  Do it over and over and over again.  Do it in the bath, do it in the car, wherever, whenever.  Practice practice practice!

*Next comes three letter words.  This is what Suri and I are currently reviewing.  This is easy peasy for her but I'm building her confidence and feelings of success as a reader by going back to this step.  Plus I can make sure she REALLY knows them and clear up any and all confusions.  We are using a resource I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers several years ago when I was looking to change up my word work and how I taught reading strategies during my guided reading groups.  The resource is this one:

Guided Reading 101: Printables, Strategies and Word Work 

Deanna does a great job of explaining where to start with young readers...

 We are breezing through the short vowels.

Here's her word work in her notebook...

I had her build the words with the letter tiles provided in the resource.  Then she had to read the words.  Next I had her write the words.  Finally I had her use the word tiles to form the sentence and then she wrote it in her notebook.  This took her less than 10 minutes.

Now word work is only one component of learning to read and reading instruction.  Readers also need explicit instruction in what readers do when they read, what they think about, and how they respond to reading.

When readers read they need to pay attention to three different cueing systems:

*Meaning: does it make sense?

*Syntax: does it sound right?

*Visual: does it look right?

Readers are usually stronger in one area than all the others.  I was a syntax reader.  I could sound out any word put in front of me.  I just read words.  I struggled with meaning.  I still read fast and forget to check for meaning even as an adult.  

Tuesday I'll dig in deep and show you how I'm doing my daughter's reading instruction using an amazing new resource by my teaching besties: 2 Literacy Teachers.  You'll want to come back and see everything it has and how much it is helping!

~See you Tuesday!


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