Being a voracious reader, one of the things that excited me about parenthood was sharing my love for books with my daughter. And so from the start, I did everything “right”…
- I read to her from day one.
- We invested in lots of books on various topics – all classics, well-written, no twaddle.
- Bookshelves abound in our home – the living room, by our bedside, her bedroom – making books accessible to the little girl.
- I read and made sure she saw me enjoying a book.
- We read-aloud for more than 20 minutes a day, I’m pretty sure.
She loved being read to, so imagine my disappointment and frustration when reading did not appeal to her at all when we started studying CVC words and decoding.
Thinking that our reading curriculum was not a right fit for her, I replaced it with simple printables that I got off the Internet. It made her read but I felt her boredom reading those forced, stilted material.
Knowing that she was an auditory learner, I did more research zeroing in on reading programs that addressed her learning style. I was thisclose to purchasing a very expensive but raved-about curricula, and even unknowingly purchased pirated copies of another program from Ebay (which until now we’ve barely used!) out of desperation!
I breathed a little bit easier, however, when I was reminded of our inspirational educational model – Finland’s. Kindergarteners there are not required to read, and reading about it yet again inspired and encouraged me to ease up on our battle in decoding.
After all, learning how to read, like childhood, is not a race! So…
- Into the drawer went our reading curricula
- I stopped printing reams of free CVC books from the Internet and other boring readers
- Out came the Dr. Seuss and early reader books that we’ve collected over the years
And then it happened
One day, my daughter literally begged me to make her continue reading. The key? A silly book that she just could not put down.
I should have remembered and taken this inspirational quote to heart:
Every child is a reader, some just haven’t found the right book yet.
The goal now is to find books that she enjoys to make her fall in love with reading. These books have been helping us achieve this goal.
The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat by Nurit Karlin
While the book had some questionable words (e.g., “stupid”), this was the book that held that golden key. A Level 1 I Can Read book, it had enough easy words to encourage her to read on her own.
I made her stop in an exciting part of the book, which made her beg me to let her read more. I almost cried!
I rushed to a nearby bookstore to hoard similar Level 1 books but I personally find the new editions of the series suspect, mainly because most are already TV-character-based . The new titles also seem to be more difficult than old editions of Level 1 books.
Life of Fred Eden Series for Beginning Readers by Stanley Schmidt
This series of six books was what transitioned us from BOB books to I Can Read books. The adventures of Fred and Kingie made it an interesting read too. With just one or two sentences per page, the reader does not become too overwhelmed with the task on hand, making it acceptable to very reluctant readers.
Each book is divided into several mini chapters, which I found to be quite encouraging too. Imagine how proud my beginning reader was after finishing the first chapter on her own!
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat did not quite charm the Energizer Bunny but Green Eggs and Ham is keeping her on her toes just as The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat did. We are reading it a few pages at a time and Sam-I-am is making her laugh silly every single day. Perhaps she can relate with Sam’s persistence? Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for your vision of making reading fun!
The “Right” Books
I am in a mad frenzy now trying to look for more “right” books to feed this new-found love for reading. My daughter is taking the slow and steady path to independent reading, but I am confident that we will get there someday.
In the meantime, we are reading aloud a chapter (or three!) a day of the Boxcar Children series, enjoying the stories, reveling in the mysteries.
I am starting to take it slow too, relishing these read-aloud times with her, because pretty soon she’ll start zooming into reading. I see it now – the two of us sitting beside each other at bedtime, each lost in our own books.