Thursday, April 18, 2013

100 Easy Lessons

To teach a child to read is a heady thing. I began teaching children to read nearly 10 years ago when Cole and Meg were late into their 3rd and 4th years of life. Why I thought teaching a three year old and a four year old to read was a good idea is beyond me now, a decade later, but I'd snagged the teaching book for a mere $4 at a discount bookstore and I was raring to go.

I do know that there was something deep inside of me that wanted to prove something to the world, that even though I was staying home with my children and that the most important part of my day was keeping them fed and safe, there was still something else I could contribute to their preschool existence.  I suspect that I wanted to, on a much less noble level, be able to brag that I'd taught two very young children a vital life skill and notch a belt on behalf of homeschoolers everywhere.

Motive aside, instruction began curled up on a green-striped couch and continued sporadically, very sporadically, until we quit altogether when our family moved 10 hours north. The reading book was packed up and ignored until the Wright Academy officially opened a year later with students who were a grand four and five years old.
{Cole, 5 with Rescue Hero backpack; Megan, 4 with Dora the Explorer backpack}

Reading lessons were the focus of that school year with each student finishing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and moving on to read actual books. You can rightly imagine that this green teacher was patting herself pridefully on the back. {Green as in new and fresh and also green from morning sickness...Kate was on the way.} Yes there had been some stressful lessons in those 100, not all had been as easy as advertised but with relatively few tears and no visible twitches or mental scarring we, the three of us, had survived teaching and learning to read. All of us pros...or so I thought.

Then, just four extremely short years later, I began to try to teach Kate to read. Kate had no interest. None at all. No big deal, I've got tons of time. So I quit trying to teach her and she was free to concentrate on her fashion and her baby dolls for a few more months. When Kindergarden officially began in the fall, Kate was not one centimeter more ready to tackle learning to read than she had been earlier. I, however, was beyond the no big deal frame of mind, and insisted that we get down to business.

After months and months of tears, stress, bribery, begging, loss of flip-flop and lip gloss access, Kate decided she might like to be able to read. Do not think that any of the above actions convinced her. She took all of the discomforts of life that I threw at her in stride and waited until she was nearly six years old to take things seriously. Then, on her own terms, she learned. Toward the end of her "100 tear-filled and ulcer-inducing Easy Lessons" the light of success began to shine brightly at the end of the's video evidence...

I'm thrilled to report that three years later Kate is an avid reader who is currently enjoying mysteries and is consuming them at an impressive rate. 

I was just about recovered from teaching Kate to read when a small voice following me through the house said, "Mommy, can you teach me my ABCs?" 

"Sure," I said, and not turning around I began to sing the old tune, "ABCDEFG..."

"No, Mommy. In here." I turned to see in her raised hands the battered and bruised "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". 

And so we began and have, just as in my maiden voyage with this book, been proceeding with stops and starts and stops and starts. 

I'm not in a rush this time for there is absolutely nothing to prove, there never really was. 

There is only the joy of a lesson well taught and a lesson well learned.

I'm taking these lessons as slow as Molly will let me...

 ...because its my last time through these "100 Easy Lessons."

It's been my favorite book and my most dispised book and my most loved book all through these years, 

...and I'm not looking forward to retiring it.

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
— Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

1 comment:

G'ma suz said...

To quote Meg," Grandma, my reading book is beautiful". And it always will be. Mom

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