How Our Daughter went from Reluctant reader to Bookworm

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Our wonderful little H had a rough start to her schooling years.  After being told, on literally the last day of preschool, that the teachers had concerns about her going into Kindergarten (of which I quickly dismissed because of my experience with visual perceptual development), to days in first grade when she would crumple into tears as the schedule would transition too quickly, it was a rough beginning.  One concern we did identify is that she really really struggled to learn her sight words, and she would get very frustrated with trying to read her small reading assignments, but she wanted SO badly to be able to do it.  Of course, being the mom I am, I went in search of ways to help my little H and I found some GREAT resources and techniques.

  1. We always, always read to her.  Every night at bed, at down times, to help calm her down.  We did lots and lots of trips to the library and got as many books as they would let us check out!!
  2. We got SNAP WORDS available from child 1st publications.  ( check out their website- http://www.child1st.com/#_l_1s).  This was the single most substantial item we did with H.  Immediately after we got the cards, started giving context around the words, and providing and action with them, she started reading!!
  3. I started reading The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald Davis and Eldon Braun.  This is an amazing book about how children (and adults) can learn to read.  Its really the first time that I thought about dyslexia being a contextual thing, about giving our kids credit for thinking in 3-D and that if we can just communicate curriculum in the way they think.. they can learn ANYTHING!!! People with dyslexia are smart!! and lets not forget that.  Read this book if you want hope about your own child’s ability to read.
  4. We never ever believed that she wouldn’t be able to do it.  We praised every little success and encouraged her learning and interest in books.  This was such an important piece of her learning!

Fast forward three years and H is in the fourth grade now… and she is a FEROCIOUS reader.  Like run into stuff because she can’t stop reading long enough to get her nose out of the book.  Reads several 200 +books per week.  Reads all her brother’s middle school books before he can get to them.  She reads at the lunch table, at recess, all night if we would let her. And better yet, this reading has sparked many many conversations between her and us!! And for a little person who we have tried to get to talk more than one word answers.. a whole conversation about a story or a book, or a play, or whatever she has happened to devour that day is such a success.  We now have the reader I always knew she could be!

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Why I Take Away my Children’s Halloween Candy

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Yes, it’s true, I am that mom.  I take away my children’s candy.  Its really because I cannot stand the thought of my children eating all that sugar!! at once!! Like shove  it in your mouth and eat as much and as fast as you can.  Some of it probably stems from being so careful what goes in J due to his Celiac’s disease.  And some of it is because I have noticed my children do not do well with lots of sugar.  They tend to get very emotional and often end up with a stomach ache.  Now all this removal of candy does not mean I don’t allow my children to have any candy.. because we do and they get plenty!  We have discovered a great way to convince our kids that the WANT to give up their candy.

Ya, you read that right.  Our kids willing and happily give over their candy.  Every year, every year that is since we introduced one thing.. THE GREAT PUMPKIN.  So since we introduced The Great Pumpkin, our kids are so excited and happy to participate in the holiday and actually look forward to giving up their candy.

Here’s how it works.  So after a complete and crazy DAY of trick-or-treating ( our community does a school thing, then downtown business trick-or-treat, the Rec Center Fright Night, then town trick-or-treating- so when I say all DAY.. it is quite an eventful day) we have everyone dump their candy out  in individual piles and pick out stickers, tattoos, little toys, etc, and everyone chooses 10 pieces of candy to keep.  All the rest is placed in a pile on the table for the Great Pumpkin.

Now as you can imagine, and for those of you who have kids that need the Why behind everything, we had to create a back story about the Great Pumpkin.  We went somewhere between the tooth fairy and a Kris Kringle… Our backstory goes like this.  The Great Pumpkin saw how much fun kids had at Halloween, however, some kids in the country, world, etc didn’t get candy and so he comes and gets your extra candy, leaves a small toy or trinket behind and takes the candy to those kids who did not get to go trick-or-treating.

We usually spend less than $10.00 on each child and try to get them something they have had their eye on.  As we continue on our journey of less stuff, gift certificates for food places are a great choice, i tunes cards, or replacement pieces for toys that have been broken, etc.

This year is no exception.  As we have completed our Halloween round up, the kids are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, and I am glad to see the sugar go!