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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Oscar P. Lion sat down"

Almost a year ago, in a moment of insanity, I committed to trying to simultaneously teach Tess and Jude to read. Summer vacation had just started and I guess I bored?  I had taught Sunny how to read 15 years ago, and didn't remember it being too painful. I was wrong.  It quickly became obvious that I had forgotten how excruciating it can be!  As an adult that is.  It wasn't painful for the kiddos at all, and they enjoyed their daily one-on-one time with mom!  I evidently had forgotten that teaching a child to read is much more than a 10 week endeavor.

Well 11 months, 5-6 diligent days a week about 20 minutes per child per day, LOTS of easy readers later, and lots of cyber-glasses of wine later (all mine) I can say that the fruits of our labor has paid off!  Both Tess and Jude are reading and are now working on building their vocabulary and their fluency. 

This was Tess reading about pigs and pens a few weeks into Operation-the-slowest-and-most-painful-summer-project ever.  Thank you for your comments back then.  I read them and was comforted that I wasn't the only mom to undertake the mission only to realize how difficult it was.  

Here she is reading about Mrs. Goodkind with 3 months under her belt.  I think I had started having my 10am glass of wine at that point. 

And here she is 11 months later with Hop on Pop and Oscar P. Lion!  

She had crawled up on my bed with a big ol' pile of books just to relax... reading and liking it!  I mean that was the whole objective after all!  Hop on Pop of all things.  I distinctly remember my papa reading Hop on Pop to me.  I remember thinking it must have been written just for me since I was the only kid that actually called my dad Pop.  I remember getting to the page where the little bears are actually hopping on their pop. Oh I loved that book!  
And Tess is no different!  

In the beginning of this project, I decided to document just Tess's journey. Because of other things, I assumed she'd have more difficulties learning to read than her brother.  But she actually picked up sounding out and making the leaps faster than Jude. As a teacher, it has actually been quite amazing watching the progress of two emerging readers learn to do the same thing at the same time!  He has his strengths and her's are different.  She has difficulty with something that he picks up on right away. All that to say Jude is reading quite well too!  Like his character, he's much more carefully and deliberate with reading, (and life) not wanting to make a mistake and looking for affirmation on every page. Which is completely unlike Tess who would rather go as fast as possible and damned be the mistakes.   During this last year, sometimes she read better than him.  And sometimes he read better than her.  But kinda surprisingly to me, on the whole they've both advanced at about the same rate.

Mimi is next.  I keep thinking I'll start with her this summer, but I'm not sure.  Maybe we'll just concentrate on learning how to make mud pies, blow dandelions and savor popsicles!
But that might mean I won't have an excuse for drinking a glass of wine at 10am!


  1. WAY TO GO TESS!!!!!!! WAY TO GO NANCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Yay Tess! I love the book, Hop on Pop! Great choice.

  3. You have no idea how much hope this gives me! As Kindergarten nears its end, my B. is somewhere between Tess's first try and 3-month video. Then again, some days she's more like Tess in the latest reading, and the next day she's back to struggling with "is" and "and!" So frustrating, especially since her vocabulary and overall intelligence is so good. The teachers even hinted at retention due to her reading struggles, but in the end we all decided she's ready for first grade. My summer vacation is going to be dedicated to strengthening her reading so if you have specific words of advice, send them my way! And, great job mom!

  4. Michelle, my only advice is to do have her read to you every single day, even just 10 minutes. Since it IS HARD WORK for them too. I was shocked how LONG it took and how slow the progress was but the daily consistency is what I think made the big difference in the long run!

  5. I think I enjoyed watching Mimi, Jude, and puppy just as much as Tess! She has come such a long way. I don't even know y'all in real life, but I am proud of her!

    1. I thought I was the only one who liked that part! You can tell I told Jude to not walk behind her, but obviously the dog didn't get the message!

  6. This is my goal for this summer, as I feel that PreK & K was NOT a step forward for Jacob academically. He was sounding out words and beginning to read BOB Books at 3 1/2 and while he is reading the books that he is bringing home for K, I KNOW he should be doing SO much more!! In the Fall, when he was just starting to read books in K, he began to REFUSE to read the BOB Books because he admitted that the school books were easier!! ARGH!! He was also doing Sight Words, by HIS choice, for FUN, before PreK, then has stalled since. We are going to get the words HARD this summer with Flash Cards and Apps. I would LOVE to hear what you did (I will read the entire post tomorrow), WHEN you get home AND recover!! THANKS :-D


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