Friday, January 14, 2011

Leave Her Be and She Will Read

I may have mentioned at some point that Emma really does not enjoy being taught. If I have not in the past, I will now. I would go so far as to say she almost hates to be taught. She fights it, pouts, and is just a general pain in the butt.

That is, if she knows she is being taught :0)

A few nights ago, as I was putting our broom away (it goes between the fridge and the wall), I rediscovered our old dry erase board.

Inspiration struck.

I grabbed the board, scrounged around for some dry erase markers, and wrote a few word family lists. Nothing crazy, just a few -at, -it, and -ot words. I placed the board back on the fridge, this time front-and-center, and went to bed.

I don't think Emma noticed the dry erase board the first day it was there, and to be honest, I forgot about it as well. But the following day I was sitting at the kitchen table working on something and Emma asked me, "Does this say 'bit'?" as she pointed at the dry erase board.

Me- "It sure does." Then I continued working on whatever.

Emma- "Does this one say 'fit'?"

Me- "It does, good job reading."

Emma went on to sound out and read all of the words I had written down. When she finished, I asked her if she would like to use some of those words to write a sentence. Emma asked what a sentence was, and so we sat on the floor in front of the fridge while I wrote out a few simple sentences explaining as we worked/played. She even wrote a few of the words from her list.

Every other night or so I will update the list on the white board. Last time I even added a few simple math equations (1+1, 1+2, 1+3, etc.).

It is not teaching per se. She decides when and if she wants to learn whatever happens to be written on the board. If she goes a few days without trying to figure out the words, I will write a new set of slightly easier words so she can regain her confidence.

By letting her decide when she wants to sound things out, we are finding that she is willing to sound out odd and random things.

For instance, today was my day 'off' (I took a meditation class then spent some time at the library, then took a crossfit class) while Jared and Emma got some father-daughter time. They read for a bit from the Bella Sara series, then Emma started tickling Da (her favorite thing to do), then went on to play some Bella Sara on line.

Yes, she LOVES Bella Sara.

Anyway, as I was getting ready to write this post, I was remembering that earlier today as I was laying in bed, trying to take a quick nap, I could hear Emma in her room sounding out some words. I loved it.

When I mentioned it to Jared, he was like, "Oh yeah! She was doing that all day. She sounded out 'power', and 'skittles', well, just 'skit' at first because the bag was folded in half, then the whole thing."

So, for Emma anyway, if there is no pressure and she is allowed to read as she pleases, read she will.

This approach may mean it takes her a bit longer to learn 'what is required', and we are fine with that. The achievement will be that much sweeter for Emma because she will learn what she wants, when she wants, not what/when someone else tells her she has to. It will also be sweet for me because I don't have to put up with her whining and complaining, and her general pain in the buttedness.

Well, not where teaching is concerned anyway.

*Here is just a fun picture. Emma on her 5th birthday, sitting next to Da at the movie theater waiting for Tangled 3-D to start.*
(She figured out after last years birthday movie picture that it is very wise to close your eyes when Mama takes pictures in a movie theater)

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