Knowing When to Take a Break

Posted by  | Monday, November 14, 2011  at 12:58 PM  
This year I have been working through The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading with Samuel, my five year old. About a month ago, he and I were really struggling each time we sat down for a lesson. We were stuck on Lesson 48: ank/ink/onk/unk. Did anyone else have problems with that one? There had been rumblings leading up to this lesson, but the bottom really fell out when we got here. We tried this lesson three times in one week, each one ending with Samuel being disciplined for having a bad attitude and me needing to take a break to cool off.

I realized I was crossing over into "reading isn't fun" territory - a place I didn't want to be, especially since we're just starting and because Sam is young. BUT, I also didn't want him to think he could just give up on reading. Part of me feared rewarding a bad attitude. So I had to think of a solution that gave him an opportunity to show he could do reading with a happy heart without building a dislike of reading.

What to do? We simply started over. I had a talk with him about how proud I am of him and all he is accomplishing. I also talked about things being tough and that we can always choose the attitude we will use to approach tough work. So I told him that the focus of our reading lesson for the next two weeks wouldn't be how much he read, or getting through a lesson, but the attitude he chose to have. We would pray and ask Jesus to give him a happy heart. And then we started back at Lesson 27: Words with Short-A Vowel Sounds. It took us the next two weeks to go through all of the lessons again and for him to make it through each time with a happy heart. But we made it and it worked.

Each day I would also go over the ank/ink/onk/unk lesson with him. I just had him read the words after me each day. I was dreading that lesson like you wouldn't believe! But we made it there and we made it through. Praise God! We pressed on through a few more lessons, but then I sensed it was a good time to take a break from the book. Samuel was approaching reading time with a good attitude, so I didn't feel that taking a break now would be rewarding a bad attitude. So we're taking a break for a couple of weeks.

Now I have a collection of easy readers that he can work on each day during reading time. Our bookshelf this week includes: Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman, The Baby Bunny by Margaret Hillert, Crabby Gabby by Sue Graves, Whose Hat Is It? by Valeri Gorbachev, and Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (all from the library - praise God for our library!). Here's to happy reading!

1 comment:

Meg said...

Thanks for this, Leah! Karis has just gotten kind of tired of the work of reading as well -- she loved the first few lessons that were easy for her and then decided it was too much work to progress. Thanks for your tips -- I'm going to try your suggestions and I think it will help a lot!

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