Saturday, June 13, 2009

Creating a Reader

I posted this over on the Sonlight Forums, but thought I'd post a copy here as well. Melinda has made such amazing progress in reading this year, and I'm deeply thankful. I'm thankful for Sonlight, who not only put together good reading packages, but provides a wonderful community through their forums--from which I've gained a tremendous amount of wisdom. I'm thankful that God laid it on my heart to homeschool, and worked everything out in His perfect timing. I'm thankful that God has helped me grow so much this year, and that He saw my heart's desire for Melinda to experience the joy of reading (not just the duty). Here is the story:

This last year was the first year I've homeschooled all 4 of my children.

Last spring and summer, my (then) 7yo dd came up with her personal mantra that she would adamantly declare multiple times a day: I hate reading!

So as soon as we'd decided to homeschool, and I reclaimed responsibility for her education, we backed up in the instruction. Totally took off the pressure for reading level and expectations. She was required to read every day, but at very easy levels. We started with SL Fun Tales, and then went through all the easy readers I could get my hands on. Meanwhile, she continued to tell everyone she met: I hate reading!

We began nightly read-alouds, and when school started in the fall, she continued on with SL Readers 1 and 2. Slowly, the mantra faded away. She started reading the Beginner's Bible by herself, without telling me--I only found out when she announced that she'd read the entire Old Testament. We were all so proud of her, and when questioned, she said: I guess reading isn't so bad.

When we moved up to SL Readers 2 Intermediate, I was surprised to see that she made the transition to longer books without complaint. I started noticing that Reading was always the first thing she completed in the morning. Today, now that our school year is officially finished, I asked what her favorite subject was. She said, Reading is the best!

Yesterday afternoon I told her that if she reads 8 books this summer, she will get a free book of her choice. She's already on book #2!

I'm so thrilled. This year has changed my daughter's life--in more ways than just this, but this is a tangible example of her growth. I'm humbled and honored by this thing called Motherhood, by the blessings God has given me.

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