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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