Notes From the Reading Nook: September 5
Headed to look for the Nash book right now!!
I was a Montessori teacher as well as a homeschooling parent. I taught my child to decode words phonetically when she was three-- she could sound out pretty much any word. One. Word. At. A. Time. She wasn’t reading, because by the time she got to the last word in the sentence, she’d forgotten the first ones. That continued through her first grade year, until about April, when she suddenly, magically was reading fluently and zoomed above “grade level.” In retrospect I’m sure that she would have read at exactly the same time if I’d waited and taught her phonics in first grade. All those earlier hours would have been better spent playing.
My kids didn't read until they were about 9. Here I was, a homeschooling parent (by choice, not covid-related), who had an English literature degree for goodness sake! and two kids who were read to since they were in the womb, and they *hated* learning to read.
Every few months we'd try a lesson and it would end in tears, frustration, and my own confusion. I would drop it - loving to read is the point, not hating to learn to read, so I'd set it aside. My kids were soaking up audiobooks left and right, and had seemingly perfect comprehension of what they were listening to, but from the ages of about 5-9, I'd offer them a few reading lessons and ... it didn't go so well. I find out later they're dyslexic (!) and then went on a hunt for who in our families have this genetic trait - we didn't know anyone!
All that to say, our kids finally did learn to read after remediation (oh the soul-sucking miniscule daily repetitive nature of an Orton-Gillingham program) and comics - which are usually written with plenty of pictures and capital letters; easier to differentiate than lower-case.
I've kept up reading aloud to them the whole time, and they are now huge readers in their own rights, but their main way of ingesting is through their ears - whether an audio book or listening to me read aloud to them. We're still homeschooling, and now my two teens (16, 14) still listen to me read all of their Literature and Socials subjects (we tie the two together every year) and have conversations about what they read. We just finished "A Narrative of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave" yesterday, and started "Uncle Tom's Cabin" today; books that I get to enjoy along with them, that I never read. It's a joy to share it with them.
All that to say is every family's journey is different, and consistency does push us forward. It's now part of our (and your) family culture. Those things matter.
The last thing - I wanted to leave this recommendation for you as it fits with these last two articles: "The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We've Shared" by Alice Ozma was a really lovely memoir of a daughter whose father read aloud every day (EVERY. DAY.) until she left home as an adult.
You can see it here: https://tinyurl.com/y9huuccs.