Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Co-schooling: reading help for 2nd grade

Brady's ever-expanding "library."
Gosh, we love books.

Brady has several crates in his room stuffed with books that he calls his "library." I like that he thinks of it as his own personal library. We're always adding to it.

The things is, Brady may LOVE books, really love them, but he's still a little hesitant about reading. (And writing will be our next goal)

He's improving. He looked over my shoulder the other day and easily read an entire reply I left to someone's comment on one of my posts.

And he didn't even HAVE to do that. He just did it because he could. Now, either he's getting better, or my comments aren't all that complex. Ha! Maybe both.

The other night he brought home a "Step 2" book. "What does that mean?" he asked. I told him: "It says, 'reading with help," to which he said proudly, "I don't need help! I can read it myself!"  

Eureka!

The school sent home a note that he was getting further reading assistance at school. That's great. But I didn't want to leave it at that. I want to help from home to alleviate his hesitancy, motivate him and help improve his skills.

Here are the ways we are achieving that:

Communicate with teachers & support the school

First and foremost, I want to understand what they are observing, and both get and give suggestions. I immediately emailed the reading teacher and we exchanged a few emails. I also encourage Brady to participate in the reading groups and do his best. I ask him every day how they went, what he learned, what was good or bad about it and we talk it through.

Read things other than books

Notes, words on TV shows or commercials, boxes at the store, signs when we're out. I want him to see reading as practical as well as fun. And the more practice the better. At the dentist's office he read this cartoon on the wall, after which he cracked up: 

 
Get new books regularly 

We order books from school every time they send an order sheet home. I work it out so they are usually both cheapy and interesting, so it is usually less than $15 for 4 or 5 books. It tells Brady I think it's important and keeps him excited about reading. You could also have a regular library time to check out books or trips to the Goodwill or used book store.

Alternate readers

Sometimes I read to him, sometimes he reads to me. I don't want all the pressure on him, but I don't want to let him off the hook either. He gets challenged but then gets to relax and enjoy the story too. 

Feed the passion

We choose books he's really excited about, like Star Wars or Transformers or Little Critter. If he's not into a book, we don't read it right then.

Make it a routine

Reading has been a part of our daily routine forever, always at bedtime, and sometimes throughout the day too. No day goes by without reading at some point, even in the summer. 

Why is it important

I remind him reading is the basis for everything - the math he loves so much, the books he enjoys, becoming an inventor, going to college, finding a good job. I show him the ways in which I have to  read every day to be successful in my life.

Speak your attitude

Lastly, I tell him if he changes his attitude he will enjoy reading more. That if he speaks good things about it, he will feel good things. Doesn't always work, but slowly I think we are changing his perspective.

18 comments:

  1. Hi Steph. This is a great post with some great tips! My daughter's friend is really struggling with reading, so I'm going to send this post to her. I think some of your ideas might help :) Thank you for sharing!

    I found your post through Mom's Library Link-up.

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    1. Thanks Missy! I'm glad you liked it. I'm working even more with his reading teacher so may have more tips down the line. I hope it offers some ideas to your friend and thank you for sharing it.

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  2. These are great tips for parents! My boys are in first grade now, so they are just starting the transition from being red to 100% to reading to us sometimes. I will be sure to keep your suggestions in mind. :)

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  3. Both my husband and I love to read, and I taught 2nd grade and wanted to instill in my students the love to read too. I had roommates at college who struggled in some classes just because they weren't great readers and hated to read. You are doing everything right. Surrounding him with books is necessary and easy with all the libraries and thrift stores, and just letting him read books he likes is great too.

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    1. My hubby and I are avid readers too, which is SO good for kids to see. He tells me all the time he loves his "library." Appreciating books is a big part of it. Appreciating reading, at least for him, is taking a bit longer.

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  4. I agree completely that reading is SO important. Granted, I think that blogging has increased my reading abilities. I learn so much from research and reading friend blogs! My mind is always busy. My two boys love to read! Oh how I am very happy with this! We have lots and lots of books! We also use our library for adding different variety to our lives!

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    1. Thanks, Jill. Oh geez, I learn a lot now too from reading blogs. Especially cooking and parenting, two biggies! The potential for knowledge is endless and fun.

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  5. Peanut is finally getting interested in reading. I think with him, it finally just clicked. He's learned quite a few sight words and is learning to sound out words. We make a big deal out of it when he recognizes words and when he takes the initiative to sound words out on his own to try to figure them out.
    It just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy that he's finally interested!
    You're doing a great job Mama!

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    1. Thanks Missy! :) Brady's "clicks" sometimes take awhile to fully engage and fall into place, but I have no doubt we will get there. Confidence is a big thing with him, feeling comfortable that he CAN do it and can work through words he doesn't know.

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  6. This is great! I love the things you're doing with your son. I have a 2nd grader that struggles with reading. He does well when he's not pressured, but when it's reading time he's groaning and hiding, unless I'm the one reading. I have done some of the things you suggested, but I'll have to try the others. I do like the last idea, about speaking your attitude.

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    1. Thanks, Rochelle :) Yeah, Brady gets concerned about reading groups at school for that reason, I think. We're going to start practicing reading groups, kind of role playing and swapping up teacher and student roles to help with that. It's hard to keep a good attitude when you don't want to, ha! But a good life lesson.

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  7. My son loves books, but no usually reading them himself. However, he now likes to go back to books he struggled with at the start of summer and can cruise through them, which is a great confidence boost! We will definitely be doing more reading this week than we did last week. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Crystal! I hope you have a good week too :) So great to see progress in your son's reading and confidence. That's awesome!

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  8. Hi Steph. Doing a little catch up. I love how involved you are in your son's education. When my daughter was little, a good friend told me that I should volunteer in the school at one grade level above her. She said this would give me the opportunity to know what is going on and what is coming up for her. I volunteered for years and in fact created the first school volunteer program (received a national award for it as well as tribal recognition) on the Navajo Reservation in Utah. So, I am totally in agreement with encouraging our children to become the best they can be. I have never met a child that wasn't extremely intelligent. They may struggle with some things, but that doesn't mean they aren't intelligent.

    Thanks for sharing the things that you do with Brady.

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    1. Hi Regina! I do the same thing, get behind and have to catch up :) Thanks for your words. I love being involved with Brady. I want him to see me as a teacher too even though I don't homeschool. That's so great you were involved with the school and amazing you helped create something so cool! Wow! I wish I could volunteer more, but I try to get to his classroom a few times a year to lead a craft. I agree with, every child has amazing potential if only the adults around them could see it :)

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  9. This is great information! I have pinned this to my "Reading" Pinterest board.

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    1. Thank you Bonnie! I appreciate it, and thanks for stopping by :)

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