Learning to Read

Bern will be ten soon and up until September 2012, he was complete lost when it came reading. Frankly, I’d like to say I was calm in the face of illiteracy and convention. I cannot count the number of times I was asked when I would hunker down and teach him to read. The HS naysayers would brandish his inability as proof of the wrongness of HSing.

But something shifted last September. He asked again to be taught to read and this time, the letters and sounds came together to illuminate his life with the wonders of the written word. Over the course of three weeks, he diligently practised his phonics, memorised sight words and attempted to read the DK Beginner Readers Star Wars books. If I was too busy, he would bring the books to me and sound out the words while I cooked. He pinned me down every night and made me listen to him decipher the squiggles into blends into words. His dogged determination was inspiring and I am grateful to have been included.

Reading to the younger ones

In six weeks, he figured out reading. Just this month, he’s asked for and read novels for his age group. It took him six month to go from illiterate to reading at grade level.

He asked for Zac Powers novels

So here is my advice to parents with ‘slow’ or ‘weak’ readers

  • Be patient, wait until you child is ready
  • Numerous professionals agree, that when the desire is present, it takes about 100 hours to teach someone how to read
  • Have faith that he will want to learn one day and until then, you yourself must read at every opportunity; to yourself, to him.
  • Don’t stop reading to him as a way to get him to read to himself. The joys of a good story should never be withheld for any reason.