Tuesday, October 16, 2018

From Resistant Reader To Fluent Reader

Do you remember learning to read? I feel like I was born reading, which would be super weird, but as long as I can remember I've loved to read. My boys were both early readers. My oldest didn't transition well to chapter books and I had to pay him to read. I'd love to say he eventually became a bookworm but it never happened. My second son is a voracious reader. When a box of books was delivered, it was like Christmas for him. Along came my daughter and she was a resistant reader. She knew all her letter sounds and blends but truly struggled with any type of fluency. Her reading was choppy and interfered with her comprehension. This caused her to shut down and basically turned her off to reading. Did I mention that I have a Masters in Reading? And my daughter...the one I'm homeschooling...didn't like reading. Talk about a bruising my ego and making me second guess my ability to teach her. 

She did a little better but still was unable to read fluently. I'm not one to ever claim defeat, so I tried different things.

Highlight the Text
Based on some of the articles I read, it seemed she might be having trouble tracking when she read (all of the words confused her eyes). When she read, she would skip a line and never realize that she had skipped a line. She also complained about her eyes watering. During my research I read about using overlays for reading. I used a yellow highlighter and highlighted every other line of the text. The highlighting helped her use the yellow white pattern to be able to track as she read. Her tracking improved but still didn't read with fluency.

Shared Reading
Since her biggest complaint was that the text was too long, we read sharing the text. We started by alternating sentences. She would read a sentence then I would read a sentence. My goal was to build her confidence in her reading ability. After some time, when she was reading a sentence fluently, we increased it to two sentences and I still read one sentence. I won't lie, if she didn't stop at two sentences I wouldn't tell her I'd just let her read. We continued this until we alternated paragraphs and then pages. Eventually she was reading the entire story on her own.

Use Her Finger
As she felt more confident in her ability and started reading longer texts, I stopped highlighting the text. However, when she read on her own she stumbled on words as she reached the bottom of the page. I encouraged her to use her finger to help her eyes focus on what she was reading. Once again she resisted...did I mention she's incredibly strong willed? We negotiated and she only had to start using her finger when she skipped a line. She could tell the difference and started using this strategy on her own. 

Ditched My Expectations
Being a Type A personality has it's benefits, I can plan and organize just about anything. However in the homeschool world when you have a struggling strong willed child, a Type A personality can lead to discouragement, on both the child's and the parent's part. I stopped lesson planning for reading and decided that we were just going to read something...anything everyday. I followed her lead in choosing books, within reason. She knew my expectation was that she do the bulk of the reading. She also knew that I wasn't going to give up. 

Read Aloud
Regardless of how she felt about reading by herself, she loved to hear me read. I made it a daily practice of reading after lunch. I tried to pick book series that I thought she'd like and read the first book. This not only allowed her to hear me modeling good reading, but it gave us cuddle time to make up for any frustrations that we might have both felt that morning. 

If any of these sound familiar to you and you just don't know where to start check out Read Aloud Revival. They have a book list for every type of reader.

Eye Exam

As a last resort, I decided to take her to get an eye exam. She always passed the eye exam at the doctor's office but I did it anyways. It turned out that she did need glasses. She didn't need them all the time just for reading, which included all school work. The first time she read with them she was amazed and her eyes didn't get as tired either.

I'd love to tell you that she has turned into a bookworm, but she's only 9 years old and there's still time for that. What I'm here to tell you is not to give up and follow your gut. As a mom God has given you motherly instincts for a reason. He gave you this child because he knew you were the one that could do the job of raising them. Reflect on the day, learn from it, make the change and move on. Pray for wisdom and He will give it to you. 

Do you have any ideas to add to this? Do you have a resistant reader? How did you overcome this struggle? Comment below, I'd love to share ideas.

I'm praying for you on your journey!

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