Thursday, February 2, 2012

learning to read

If Boo was in public school I would be telling you this story sitting on one of those little chairs placed in the hallway outside the door of the Resource Room, or perhaps if it was a very nice school, outside the Occupational/ Physical Therapy space.  The reason, although Boo has been reading words since before the Kindergarten age & can spell amazingly well, she has a small complication preventing her from progressing into fluent reading beyond a 1st grade level.  The trouble is her vision.  She is legally blind in one eye.  Her brain receives a different image from each of her eyes creating some tracking issues but those are minor compared to the crowding.  Her Ophthalmologist helped us to understand the letters/words on top lines, bottom lines, or the outside of paragraphs blur a little but the ones inside clump together, the letters appear one on top of the other.  Boo’s mind has to iron them out.  She can’t simply know how to read words she needs to unscramble them correctly as she goes.  That is a lot to ask from a kid.
We have exercises to help & tricks to use like a little view finder we make from an index card or reading with carefully placed pencil marks.  Font size & spacing matters a ton.  She has the desire to read, the phonics, the whole language; it is all there waiting for her to 'see' it.  Now, I am aware home school children tend to learn to read later than their school counterparts and that 8 is actually the average age one learns to read.  And we are 8!!!  But no matter where or how she is educated we can’t dis-the-ability; if we have to work hard to get something we need then we work hard.    
We have lots of fun ways to encourage her.  We play our own version of Scrabble (huge help in the unscrambling words thing).  We call it 'Nice Scrabble'.  Each player has 7 tiles & we each take turns but no scores are kept, very little secrecy, & often players place words to help each other.  Today Boo wanted zero help from mom.  After several rounds she said, "Okay, now I need help..." but as she began to turn her tiles towards me she sprang into motion, "Oh, except 'enter'. E-N-T-E-R."  Placing the little wooden squares on the board.  "Never mind, mom, I don’t need you."
After the game I made pumpkin bread while I listened to her upstairs cleaning up.  I heard her flip on the TV.  Sesame Street was on.  I was sure it would get a quick boot, being 8 and all.  But instead I found her twenty minutes later (bread in the oven) watching.  The story line was one of the monsters wanted a book read to him but no one could or would so he was encouraged to read the big book himself.  He keep telling them it was too big & he thought he couldn't- I'm sure it turned out great I didn't wait around to find out.  I did some picking up then asked Boo if she wanted to run to the bread store with me.  She did.  As we put on our jackets I noticed she had a book tucked under her arm, one of the Frog & Toad books.
"Oh," she shrugged, "you are probably wondering about this.  Well, I just realized something, I can read now just like Ramona and that monster on TV."  I knew this was coming.  I have seen it all week as she reads aloud to me from her reader.  I have been waiting for her to see it too.  If I'm honest, part of me is a little scared.  Her reading was the last 'item' holding us to early childhood.  E-N-T-E-R a new day…Welcome to the world of books Boo.  We are now standing with two feet firmly planted in the middle.     

1 comment:

  1. Another great game to consider might be scrabble slam, a fun game where the cards look like big scrabble tiles. The point of the game is speed, but we play this game the same way that you play Scrabble.