How Do You Teach Reading?

This is another great question! I am sure there are many more qualified people than me to answer this, but I’ll tell you what I have learned from my little at-home education experiment. First, learning to read has happened at a different pace for all five of the children I have taught so far. With some, they are so receptive and eager that repetitive reading of favorite books and a phone app have been enough to do the trick. For those that need a little bit of a push, my next step is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. If that doesn’t make things start to click, I add in practice with phonics and sight word memorization. But here’s the catch, if you have a child with reading issues, none of this may seem to make a bit of difference, especially in the time frame you were expecting. If that is the case, take a deep breath, it is all going to be ok! I can say that now as the mom of teenagers, some of whom threw every book I tried to read with them across the room until they were almost ten! Yes, ten! But guess what? They read now. They read well. They even like it sometimes.  Teaching my reluctant readers has been my biggest struggle as a homeschooling parent. It is also been the one that has taught me the most.  Among the many lessons I have taken away from our adventures in reading is, when it comes to learning, there is more than one way to skin a cat (or to peel a potato, sorry, PETA) . I am often asked about what homeschooling wisdom I’ve picked up from Taylor’s parents, and this is one area where I’m so grateful for their encouragement. I’m sure they saved me from several panic attacks over my children’s reading abilities. Years ago when I expressed some of my concerns over the matter to Taylor’s mom, she said, “You know, humans haven’t always been able to read, it’s a fairly new skill over our evolution, there are other ways to get the information in them.” I had never thought of that!  With this new information, I started to take a new approach with my reluctant readers. I decided I wouldn’t let their reading abilities stand in the way of their understanding and absorption of information. I started reading more and more out loud to my children. I would also spend more time talking through the comprehension of a subject, rather than have them write everything. It wasn’t easy, and it was often much more time consuming than dealing with my easy readers who I could throw a book to, and they could figure out the rest on there own, but it worked. Through all of this, we didn’t neglect the practice of language arts completely, but I did make it less of a gatekeeper to all other abilities. We all know reading issues are common, but based on how traditional learning occurs, it is difficult to not equate reading problems with so many other things.  Taylor’s mom also told me, “Don’t worry, when they are really interested in something, they’ll read it.” This scared me as a teaching philosophy when I was started out, but lo and behold, she wasn’t wrong. My most reluctant readers are teenagers now, and when they want to read something, they do. It still feels miraculous when I think back to my earlier panic.  I was raised with the idea that “Readers are Leaders!” and growing up I was an avid reader, so it took me longer than I wish it would have to see who my children were and to stop believing that being a book worm was the only way to be successful. I’ve edited that phrase to “Learners are Leaders”, and I am beyond thankful for the empathy, wisdom, and understanding I have gained through homeschooling these precious, unique babies of mine. 

Here are some of my favorite reading resources :

Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Overcoming Dyslexia

Homeschooling with Dyslexia