Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading with Parker

Oh my gosh.....reading with Parker can be a very frustrating experience.    It is so hard for me to admit that too,  I don't want to get frustrated with him but sometimes I just want to tie him to the chair and make him concentrate on the words in front of him!  That sounds kind of harsh but I know other parents will understand what I mean about knowing their child can do something and do it well but they just simply can not at the same time.  It is a moment where I feel helpless as a parent because I see his frustration and I want to make it easy on him by telling him the words....but that is not helping.

He is so good at spelling.  The past two weeks he has gotten 100% on both tests and last week he even got the bonus words right!  It is easy for him to sound out words and recite the letters.  He can do it both on paper and out loud with the same about of ease.  He is also really amazing at his homework pages where you have to pick out the word that fits or finish the sentence.  The same with the math pages.  Even geography, which they haven't really learned yet, but he loves to look at maps and has traveled so much  It all comes so easy to him until you give him a book and ask him to read it out loud.  At that point his turns into a child who is distracted by the smallest thing, who wants to talk about the picture more that focus on the words, who suddenly forgets all of the letter sounds that he knew while he was spelling 5 minutes prior.  This child he becomes is not the same boy.  He gets mad at himself, at me for trying to help, he guesses the words, skips pages, does anything he can to fly through without really reading it.  I posted something about it on facebook during the first week of school.  A lot of people had suggestions for me and one was really great that I had never heard of....the five finger rule.  If a child can not read five words on a page than that book is not at the same level that the child is ready for.  I love it!  I started counting how many times Parker wouldn't even be able to begin a word.  Although he never made it 5 on one page, I realized that maybe the books were a level or two too high.  So back to the library we went.  My aunt said something about how phonics is no longer taught in school.  I completely forgot about learning phonics and it seems silly to try to learn to read without having the sound combinations down first. He did learn a lot of phonics in Kindergarten but without the practice over the summer, he has lost a lot of what he knew.  Yesterday I noticed that Parker was struggling the most with vowel combinations or vowels with the letter "R".  Solution?  Flashcards!  It is a good thing I am such a nerd and like to make flashcards with letter sound combinations on them for him!  (I get excited about his homework too....some one needs get back in school too huh?!)

So today we started the flashcards and he picked the book instead of me.  It worked.  Yesterday reading time took over an hour and today, including flashcards, it took about a half hour.  Parker was so proud of himself too.  Once he was done he made up a song and dance about how the rest of the night was free choice (a school reference).  Hopefully we are walking down a better path towards reading without frustration and with more ease.

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