Friday, June 20, 2014


Learning to read is a big, hairy deal whether you are home educating or not. My oldest could read novels before he was six. Like C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia novels. My second son was reading when he left kindergarten, but didn't love to read until around grade 2, and by grade 3 he was a prolific reader.

My first journey with teaching a child to read, all by myself, was with my 3rd son. And I didn't have to do much at all. By 4, he was very ready to learn. I modeled phonetics as we went about our days, we played games with rhyming words, when I thought of it... And before I knew it, he was reading. Little books within a couple months of his 4th birthday and very quickly moving into picture books, nature books and novels. All three boys love to read. They share novel recommendations, pass around the graphic novels and comics and enjoy non-fiction as well.

Then came child number 4. My only girl. At 4, she wasn't showing many signs of reading readiness. Closer to 5, we started on some formal phonics lessons. She could repeat the lessons, but could not sound out words. She just couldn't quite get the sounds to blend into words. So we waited. We read. I worried a bit, deep inside my heart. I knew kids had their own timetables, but I worried that I didn't really know how to teach a kid to read. After all, the boys either learned mostly on their own, or had help at school too.

Bit, by slow bit, the reading started to come. For 3 years, I wrote in her progress report that we were working on reading. Finally, this spring, the end of grade 3, my daughter is a reader. It has all come together. Every night, she is racing through novels by the waning daylight, leaking in through her window. In the last month she has read 3 novels. Little ones, but still!

You would think that by child 4, the thrill would fade. I can tell you that it doesn't. I am beyond the moon excited. My girl is a reader! And she loves it! Her book-loving parents are so stoked to have raised 4 book lovers so far. And our 5 year old son is well on his way to becoming a reader too. He is making his way through the Bob books and is so pleased with himself. He is a bit impatient for it to be easy, but he is learning.

To me, reading is so key to home education. Once your children can read and understand, they can learn anything.

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