Friday, July 2, 2010

Update: Summer Reading - think outside the box

What a weird school year we had last year.  My Sugar is quick to point out that as odd as it was for us loosing so many friends in a few weeks of each other, just imagine how "weird" it would be to be one of those families!  She is watching her best friend Kat become a perfect daughter in her mother's memory without her guidence but still confidant of her love.  We planned to take a break this summer.  We plan to get back to book work soon.  I was going for July 1st but decided to push most of it off until August.  The month of July is not going unmarritted though. I wanted to push independant reading from the high school crowd.  Those three all struggle with verying degrees of reading issues.  After all the work we accomplished this spring I knew that they were all reading.  The only way to work on getting them to grade level is practice, practice, practice. 

I wanted to push them but not school them.  My goal was for them to realize that reading can be fun and take you places.  I don't love reading but I love learning.  I read a lot in that endeavor.  How can I encourage that in my children?

Goobers is an almost 16 year old girl that enjoys her time with her family.  She is now life guarding and spending time Pooker, Bear and Sugar.  They play so much together.  She was the one I was most worried about because she is out of the house so much for work.  How can I push her over the summer?  Well apparently I don't have to.  Pooker has a stack of books that she is pushing on her.  I drove by the pool a few days back when it was raining and found that she had one of those books and was reading away.  She also was able to download audio versions of a few of the books and put them on her ipod.  This giver her the ability to read and yet not get stumped by words that she is unfamiliar with.  

Bear is 14 (soon to be 15) year old high school sophomore.  He is very close to his sisters.  He loves to be the clown and get the laughs.  He also likes to fiddle with picture taking and electronic film editing.  So this young man that appears to struggle with reading a simple book can spend hours pouring over "how to" manuals to figure things out.  I know he is reading but he needs to practice to get to age level.  I keep buying all kinds of stories that I think might intrigue him.  Often I would stick with a more simple reading level because I just thought that he needed that.  This was embarrassing him, because he knew he needed to be reading better. 

We finally broke down and got dad his Kindle for his birthday.  This was something that surprised Jason and I.  Bear picked up his Kindle and continued to play with it.  New technology has always been fun for Bear so he was enjoying playing with this new gadget.  Then Bear asked his dad if there might be any books out there for him available on the Kindle.  Bear and his dad spent a few hours looking.  They agreed on one and dad downloaded his book, then dad made an offer.  "If you finish this book within a week, I will consider getting you your own Kindle."  Talk about motivation. 

This is what is working for Bear.
  #1  No one can tell what age lever he is reading.  He feels cool because he is using a knew device which takes away that barrier he was creating in himself. 
#2   The version we have includes an audio chip.  If you are struggling with a work it will read it too you.  (I don't mind this because it is still very computer sounding so it isn't like you want it to read the entire story for you.) 
#3  Bear is one that loved holding things over his sisters.  I guess he is a typical boy in that respect.  He is so motivated because he has permission to use dad's cool new toy and no one else does. 
Goobers pointed out that she was able to use a Kindle Ap for her ipod touch.

Sugar.  She is my precious 13 year old.  She will be starting high school this year.  She is smart but sometimes slow or lazy in doing her work.  Other times she is s speed demon and doesn't spend time getting the details.  Her reading issues were solved by a friend's birthday party.  Two of the girls at this party were talking about a set of books.  The mom spend some of the party time talking with me about how cool this serious of books are for her daughter.  This friend of Sugars is a great reader so I was worried that she would not be able to read them no matter how great they appeared to be.  She got one of the books and showed me.  It didn't look too hard plus it has other aspects that draw the child in.  Sugar loves on line games and this serious of books were connected to an online game.  Perfect.

I went straight home, signed into our Amazon account and ordered all of the 39 Clues books.  This needs its own post.  Here I can say that I am very happy at how Sugar is reading.  This series is doing the trick at inspiring interest.  Yeah!  3 highschool aged kiddos struggling with reading now showing signs of success.  I pray that each of you with learning issue children find what works.  No matter what it is do what works.  Don't beat yourself up over the latest "program" no working.

 I got these three started in reading by giving them phones for texting.  I know it sounds silly and we set many rules.  (No texting at the table and complete words must be used.)  It got them started and now we are moving forward.  It might seem like small steps to those with children without reading issues but to those with children with reading issues you will share in my joy of this post and hopefully you will be inspired to not lose hope.   Keep the strength and encouragement to try anything that you child is interested in to inspire a reader.  Don't be afraid to resort to the latest technology to inspire your little ones to succeed.  I don't encourage using everything out there just what works.  Always keep them safe by using rules and constant supervision.

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