Sunday, December 10, 2006

A reading list of a different sort

This post will be about MY reading list, and the first entry on it is a book that I heard about on Lisa's homeschooling blog (link to be added after I get permission), Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books. I had to get this book in Interlibrary Loan, so I've been waiting a little while for it.

I am only 2 chapters in, and I already suspect that a copy of this book will be making it's home in the Language Arts section of the Black Pearl Academy's library. This bullet point from Chapter 2 especially strikes me, since I am reading this book in particular interest for teaching Reece to read:

"Phonics programs overlook the fact that knowledge gained by rote memory does not readily apply to the complexities of actual reading."

I am learning more and more about the nature of autism spectrum disorders, and I have seen readily that this is true with my children especially. They are excellent rote learners, but when it comes time to apply that knowledge, to put it into practice, they struggle. It does not generalize.

I have taught 2 children to read, so far. Austin struggled through phonics programs (3 different ones). He is doing much better with his reading this year, but it's just from the years of practice. He much prefers for me to read aloud to him. Riley was around 3 when we started homeschooling, and she immediately started begging me to teach her to read. Finally, when she was just over 4, I sat her down and showed her how to blend words. Then I had to get back to teaching Austin to read because he, after all, was 6 and in Kindergarten! ;) A few weeks later, when Riley was 4 and 3 months, she read the first of the Bob Books. I guess, long story short, she taught herself to read. When I tried to sit her down and do phonics with her again when she was 5, I found out that she could already read fluently.

*** Ok, funny story here! I had purchased at a used booksale, the phonics primer from Abeka. I wanted to use it for Riley because Austin was still working through Phonics Pathways. So I sit her down, and hand her the primer, and she proceeds to read off the cover: "Abeka Reading Program A Handbook for Reading". Very well, phonics lessons are complete! LOL ***

I have posted some of the "learning to read" experiences I've had with Reece this last year of teaching her to read. She has picked up the sounds very quickly (Thank you Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD!), and she even figured out blending quite easily, too. But she just gets no meaning from it. And without meaning, I do not see a point. Part of her RDI program is that she communicates (uses language) for meaning, not just for the sake of using language. Reading should be no different. I have backed off, because I want to get a love of being read to instilled in her. Unfortunately, since she's the tail end of the homeschool, she hasn't had alot of 'snuggle and read a picture book' time. She's mostly had 'sit here and hush so I can read this chapter book/history book/science book' to your siblings. Not that that is bad, but I don't think it gives her a love of books as quickly as picture books might, especially considering her developmental level.

OK, I'm getting all rambly here. I'm going to continue to read this book, and see what other information strikes me. For the record, he does not advocate abandoning phonics, but rather utilizing phonics within a context of children's books. On a first glance, it reminds me a bit of Ruth Beechick's 3 Rs book on Reading, mixed in with a little bit of Calvert's approach in their Kindergarten program. Regardless, it's got my interest. Will keep posting as I read more!

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