“Timing is everything, in education as in many other fields. It’s not enough to teach well. You have to teach well to kids who are ready to learn, kids who are developmentally ‘ripe’ for learning.”
- Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax

Friday, June 19, 2009

Calvin and Hobbes

(Click on the comic to see it bigger!)

Gage's latest reading obsession is Calvin and Hobbes. I used to love this comic strip, and they had The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes on sale at the library a while back so I bought it. Gage saw the book and has been reading it almost every day for the past few weeks.

Most of the time he reads it on his own, but every now and then he'll ask me to read him a few pages. He really loves the story where they go camping, but it ends up raining all week (the one at top is the first comic in that camping series). Some of them still make me laugh out loud while I'm reading them to him.

I am amazed at how well Gage is reading. If any of you want teach your kids to read, I highly recommend the book Teach your child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I used this book because it was given to us, so I figured I would try it out and if we didn't like it we would switch to a different method. It has been great though! Each of the lessons is short and sweet, and can be done in about 10 to 15 minutes. The method is based on learning how to sound out words, rather than learning words by picture association. That way they will be able to read any word, without the need for pictures. The lessons build upon each other and have a sentence, paragraph or story at the end that your child can read all by themselves after they finish the lesson.

One of the things they talk about in TJEd is that it is perfectly acceptable if your child doesn't learn to read until they are older (like 10 or even 12), and there have been studies that show that kids who learn to read later on in life are more proficient readers. This has always made me cringe a little bit though, because I think reading is so important, but I can't read to Gage all day long. One of the big things with this method of education is helping your kids develop a love of learning, and that won't occur if you are forcing them to learn things, especially at too young of an age. So, needless to say I almost felt guilty wanting to teach Gage how to read, because I'm supposed to wait, right? However, I did it in a way that I felt I was inspiring his interest, and I felt like it was something he was ready for.

He has always loved reading and would have me read him several books every day. He started reading some stories to himself - the ones he had memorized. He has a remarkable memory, so I knew learning letter sounds would be easy for him. I mentioned to him way back in September that if he wanted to learn how to read I could help him. He said "okay", but he wasn't interested at the moment. About a month later he finally said "Mom, I want to learn how to read today." This was really funny, because he thought it was something he could learn in a single day. We did the first lesson, and then let it rest for a while. We would be done with the lessons by now if I made him do a lesson every day, but I decided not to push it. We do lessons when he wants to and he is more than halfway through the lessons. The problem now, is that he is reading so well that he isn't really interested in the lessons anymore. He would rather just read his other books all day long. I try to get at least one lesson a week in, because there are still things that he can learn. The most confusing thing is that a single letter can make so many different sounds, so sometimes that mixes him up.

I am constantly in awe at how well he reads, though, and I am so glad that he enjoys books so much. I can only read him so many books each day, so he is really happy to be able to read as many as he wants now. I feel good about teaching him to read, even if it is a bit young for TJEd standards. He is really happy to be reading, and has learned so many new things just by the books he picks out at the library and wants to read. That is really the beauty about homeschooling though, you can tailor the education to fit your child, and you can teach them things when they are interested and ready. :)

No comments: