We have covered language reluctance and writing resistance so now what about reading? What about these lovely novels that come with LLATL and your child doesn’t like to, or can’t read, or is in tears over reading.
There are a few ways to approach this, firstly, we need to know that you have placed your child in the right place, not too far ahead of their skill level or behind, where they are going to get bored with the reading because it is so immature or beneath their skill level, or too difficult. There are placement tests on the Oikos site for you to do so you can assess their reading level and their language skill level.
So you have pegged them at a certain reading level, you might have chosen to start a little below their reading level, as the placement test could indicate that they haven’t got their grammar quite right yet, they may have gaps in that. That is ok, the child can understand that and know that he is reading books below his level, until he gets his grammar skills to a matching level. That should be alright if you have shared that with them and they understand that.
If you have started them too high up, then you are just going to have to peg them back a bit and actually keep the higher level book for later on and get a lower level and start them off there. Let us assume that you have done all that and have the child on the right level, but you still have a child that is just generally struggling to read.
I know all about this as my daughter really, really struggled to read. What I did was I read the reader to her and instead of getting her to read it back to me, which she couldn’t do (I did show in a previous clip that she didn’t write in her LLATL student book) and she didn’t read her books either. I read them to her so she was still getting the full language experience. You might ask “What about reading and teaching her, you can’t just leave her not being able to read?”. Well, I agree and I found the McGuffey books very, very useful in this instance, the Moore McGuffey readers that start with big writing, the basic and take the child from Book 1 to 2, 3 and 4 up to University level. Those readers move an inch at a time and if you look at LLATL readers they start at one level and then hop up to the next and then again hop up to the next. Whereas the Moore McGuffey readers are line by line, story by story, incrementally creeping the student along. They start with the three hundred most commonly used words and then add to those very slowly. So we used those and that was helpful, but reading was still a struggle.
So what did I do? I worked with her carefully to learn to read but I also read volumes to her. I read the books for her, sitting next to her, letting her “read” along with me, using my finger to underline the words, in the hope that she would pick up some skills that way. My goal was for her to have pleasure and have joy in reading, so that she could learn to read specifically the Word of God, which was my main objective. So my aim was to make it as pleasurable as possible, at the same time knowing that there was a reading difficulty. I don’t like to call it a problem.
Just like our son who was reluctant to learn languages and who ended up blessing us in the way that he did, by the time that he got all the way through, so our daughter suddenly became able to read at age twelve or thirteen. By fourteen she was going to her LLATL books that I had read to her and taking them off the shelf and reading them. She read Farmer Boy which is a thick book and she was so amazed that she could do that, that she was able to do that. She just continued from there on and devoured the books, she loved reading.
So here we had a fourteen year old starting with the Yellow LLATL readers and just gobbling them up, enjoying them in the process. So yes, it was a struggle, and yes, she wasn’t reading well up until then, but in all that time we were not allowing the struggle to result in tears, despondency and a hatred for that subject that we were learning.
I can’t go into all the science of learning difficulties and all the different approaches, mechanisms and tools you can use in order to help a child who is struggling to read. I can only share with you what we did, how we did it and why we did it. I wasn’t going to apply the method to fit this, if it did not work in our case and our environment. I could not go with the solution of taking her to various different therapists, you cant do that when you have a child who is having blood infusions. Some of our most treasured moments where reading aloud and so I gave her volumes and volumes of read aloud and that resulted in her loving reading and a passion for literature. I believe that I can’t leave God out of this. Our Lord is the one who directed our path, He was the one that showed us what to do with these difficulties and how to overcome them.
We have done another series called Pain to Pearls which is about the actual difficulties that we faced and how we went through those challenges How we felt that we were victorious in those because of Christ and because of His guiding and leading.
I hope that has given you some help with reading difficulties, that you might be encountering. I would like you to relax and not stress over it I hope that this has helped you to view the struggle in a different way but rather to see it as a challenge and to look at this in a way that makes this more enjoyable and have as much fun as possible.