When I first thought about teaching my oldest child to read, I was filled with much excitement and, I will admit, a little nervousness. After all, reading is so important to future learning, not to mention lifelong enrichment. I wondered if everything would go well.
My mother-in-law had successfully homeschooled her children and taught them to read using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. So she loaned me her yellowed, dog-eared copy that had been sitting on her shelf for more than two decades.
As with the previous generation, the tried-and-true method in 100 Easy Lessons worked for us. Day after day, as I helped her carefully sound out the letters in the book, I watched my daughter slowly but surely learn to read.
It was thrilling.
I was so happy to be such an instrumental part of her learning such an awesome, life-changing skill.
A few years later it was my second daughter’s turn. At this point, I was a much busier person and waited a little longer to start my second child on her journey to reading. Thankfully, as we methodically plodded along, this time using Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, which I had switched to because it was more phonics-based, she started to get it. Soon my second child was also reading Bob books and other simple books. She dutifully wrote in her Explode the Code books as well.
All seemed to be going well for her, and I was thankful.
Honestly, I’m feeling a little battle worn at this point. The excitement is gone, people. Oh, yes, I try to be excited because I know she needs that. Reading is exciting. Yes. But, if I were to be excruciatingly truthful right now, I’m feeling a little bored of teaching phonics.
My eagerness to plow through this material, one page of Ordinary Parent’s Guide, and one page of Explode the Code at a time, is waning. There are a lot of things I enjoy teaching. Phonics has become not one of them. Phonics, that very necessary, once-upon-a-time exciting subject, now is very dull to me.
If anything is foundational, it’s phonics. Phonics is more than slightly important, right? So, I keep plodding along. I also try, for my third-born’s sake, to show that it’s interesting.
They say to act how you want to feel, and the feelings will follow. I am trying!
It probably doesn’t help that my third-born is very independent and strong willed. So, there are a lot of days when she fights me and doesn’t want to do it. Some days this seems like a character flaw that I should work on and other days I simply let it go. After all, she is still young. She just turned five. So, we read out loud a lot. I let her run around and play a lot and do creative things. She loves to draw.
She and her little brother have enjoyed watching the LeapFrog: Letter Factory DVD, which is easy, fun and effective, and something I don’t feel guilty about turning on, when I need more time to work with the older kids. So, because of that, she knows all the letter sounds really well.
I’m not excited about teaching phonics this time around. But I am excited about what the result will be. I love my daughter. Reading will open up new worlds for her.
So I will continue to plow on, one letter sound at a time.
Photo Credit: First photo taken by Alice Hampson; second photo taken by Amy Koons.