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Reading, Reading, Reading

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by , 06-10-2011 at 07:59 AM (2404 Views)

Reading is so important to me. You will always find me with a stack of books or magazines nearby. And yes, we also have the stack of magazines in the bathroom for uninterupted reading time. We have two walls of our bedroom that are totally lined with books from floor to ceiling. Recently I have discovered the wonderful world of Kindle. Guess what, now they have Kindle for your PC so you don't even have to buy a separate machine to use it. Oh man, you can't believe how fast I jumped on that one. We are so running out of room to store books in our house. With my new little tiny netbook I can take my favorite book with me anywhere. Now whether I'm waiting for soccer to get over or sitting in the park while my son plays, I've got a book to read. (As long as the battery holds out.)

Before we had even adopted our son we started buying books for him. His first book was bought long before he was born. While we were waiting for two governments to settle all the details of our adoption we sent a Spanish language copy of Goodnight Moon to his foster mother in Guatemala. She read this book to him often. When we brought him home it was easy to make the transition to the English version. Whether or not he understood the words you could tell that he was used to seeing the pictures. At five months old he really enjoyed being read to.

I've been reading from a very young age. My husband taught himself to read when he was only three years old. So you can see why reading to our son was so important to us. When he was tiny our favorite form of entertainment was to go to Barnes & Noble. We would sit in his stroller and play with his toys or nap while we read books and drank coffee. Then he became mobile. Boy was that a change for us. Our trips to the bookstore became less and less frequent. Usually we took turns with one of us sitting and reading while the other one took him to the train play area.

We still found time every day to read to him at home. The day came for him to start learning to read. We bought letter magnets for the side of the washer. We bought alphabet puzzles for him to play with. We bought little word magnets for him to put on a board and make sentences. I started out doing Letter of the Day. I put a big cut out letter on the side of the washer. I made sheets for him to trace the letter. We read books that started with that letter. We even sometimes cooked food that started with the Letter of the day. Guess what? He was not interested. Not interested at all. He could care less what the letters meant when they were put together. I finally quit trying so hard to "make" him read. My husband was read to put him in remedial reading programs. I decided to just sit back and see what happened. We would still work on his curriculum every day but I didn't emphasize the reading much any more. In the younger grades most of the curriculum was animated so there wasn't a lot of reading to do. I started pointing to the words as I read to him, but that's as far as I pushed it. When he was about six he started asking, "What's that say?" By the time he turned seven, he was starting to read street signs. As he began to play video games he started asking more and more for help in understanding the directions. Now, he's almost nine. He can read the directions to most of his games. He usually only has to ask one or two of the words. He likes to play a lot of the phonics games that we have found online. Every day I find him reading more and more. I can't tell you how exciting it is for me an avid reader to walk into a room and see my son with a book in his hand.


Do you like to read at your house? What are some of your favorite books?
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  1. idariley's Avatar
    I enjoyed your reading your post. Like you, I've always encouraged my 9 year old daughter to read. She just completed 4th grade. Even before she turned one, I started working with her and hoping that she will eventually enjoy reading and I got frustrated at times that she didn't have a lot of interest. I continued reading to her at night until she was 7 or 8 years old. She sees me reading too than watching tv. She always excel in her class too and I know she can do much better. At her magnet school, the new principal started giving students' incentives if they reach their AR goal. In her class, all students had a goal of 30 points. They are to read books to reach their goal. As soon as they earn points, the teacher will post their points on the board for everyone to see. My daughter and another student competed for these points. Lo and behold, that has changed overnight. In the first 2 quarters in 4th grade, she finished all 7 Harry Potter Books (with each carry about 30 or so points). She was determined that nobody will beat her as far as points. On the 3rd quarter, her teacher raised her goal to 100 points. She started reading books that carry a lot of points like Eragon series, Fablehaven, etc. At the end of the schoolyear, she beat the 5th graders and had the highest # of AR points in the whole school - she read over 3.5 million words and 48 books for the whole year. She just recently finished her 2nd Twilight book which we picked up from a yard sale. I thought the incentive system has worked for these students. I am so glad that she turned around and started to really enjoy reading. It may sound like bribe, but we started giving her two bucks for each book (that has at least 200 pages) she finishes that goes in to her savings account or for her to buy anything she wants when we go shopping. As parents, we have to be creative and unfortunately in this day and age, they don't work without incentives....hope your son will have a change in her attitude towards reading....Just be patient. I think we overteach, overparent that our children will likely resent.
  2. sher33's Avatar
    So now your baby is beginning to sit up. Babies are more aware of you and all of the things around them. Even TV is an attraction that can have your baby captivated. So the question we ask is, "...should we start teaching our babies things like reading and spelling?.." As far as we have seen teaching a baby early on in life can only be beneficial for them when they begin school. Whether you're baby will be going to nursery school or kindergarten, having that edge of being able to read early is a benefit. Most children born before the 1980's didn't have access to all of the learning tools . It's not that parents didn't care about it, alot of households had 2 parents working(as they do now) and it was difficult for alot of parents to spend enough time with their child. Or to have the type of tools that could really benefit the working parents of yesteryear. But things have certainly changed. There are many tools now available to increase cognitive skills and teach learning abilities for young children and babies.

    Child development organizations have done alot of research and testing on several types of tools, toys, books, audio etc. that help teach our babies to learn easier. Some people believe that teaching children to read early may do more harm than good because they're cognitively not ready. It's believed that this could put too much pressure on the child. However this assumption is incorrect. By teaching your child to read early on would actually save them from the anxiety and/or overwhelming stress of new learning once they reach school age. They've also found that even while the baby is still in the womb, using audio has it's beneficial effects. It's benefits are a step up in the right direction. If a parent waits for their child to learn to read once they start school, the pressures of that alone could cause undue stress to a child, even a very young child. I was amazed when I saw little toddlers, 27 months old reading. I noticed that the way the words were written, with large letters and pictures that represent what the child was reading.

    I also noticed how the parent would point under each word and the child would say the word. Then the parent would show the picture and read what the child had just read. Of course the parent would read back what the child just read using all of the noted expressions. Today with technology learning is much better than the old "writing on the chalkboard" way. It seems to be much more easily received by children.
    Even using Flash-Cards seems to be useful for teaching words to babies. An article I read where a parent has been using flash-cards(twice daily) with her baby starting at 4 months old. She would introduce a new word when she noticed her baby getting board with an old word. The new structure of the word would get the babies attention long enough for the parent to repeat it a few times. With each day of doing this the baby learns to recognize the words and will make every attempt to start repeating those words shown.

    Amazing! So I guess with technology on the increase, learning has definitely gotten better. I believe using any means of positive teaching should be the base for teaching our children. We as parents know our children will need their education and learning abilities to carry them on through their lives. Shouldn't we give our children the best teachings we can to enhance their abilities for greater and further success in life? After all...they are our true assets for overseeing the future. For more information about teaching babies how to develop their learning and cognitive skills check out this blogsite I stumbled upon.
    THe Babytree2 at: THe Baby Tree 2
  3. sandy.ridge.academy's Avatar
    I'm so thankful for the local Library Book Mobile coming in our community every Wednesday including summer. We read, read, read even near the swimming pool!
    Have a nice summer!
  4. kzoomoo's Avatar
    I used opposite tactics with my first and second borns. With my oldest child, I read the same picture books over and over until she memorized them. favorite from this period is Sam and the Tigers, by Julius Lester. Reading came easy for her without formal instruction. She learned to read at 4 or so, and has been a voracious reader ever since. My second born learned to listen to long books from a young age, including the unabridged version of The Wizard of Oz, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I homeschooled him from the beginning, and tried letters of the day, letter hunts, and various phonics exercises to teach him to read. He wasn't interested either, and ultimately what worked for him was buying him his own Bible, and insisting he read a chapter book in the 2nd grade. He is 16 now, and a avid reader, comfortable with reading difficult classics, like The Count of Monte Cristo, and he loves comic books.
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