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January 25, 2009

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Mister Dad

We had the same thing with us. My son has Sensory Integration issues and a seizure disorder. He was yanked out of activities he excelled in during first grade to feel like an idiot in "reading resource" class. His personality and passions totally changed. At first I tried really hard to keep him up to speed. Would've pulled my hair out, if I didn't shave my head, but my beard did whiten, until I remember not enjoying reading-- except comics and gaming directions-- until college. As an unschooling parent, I read comics aloud, along with some Capt Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Calvin & Hobbes, pausing for his "help" every now and then. We also get him to pick out a phrase every time he sees words on the TV or a video game menu. It's like a game in itself.

Anyway, thanks for the great post. It's good to read we're not alone...

freelearner

You make a great point about kids being moved on to the next reading level as soon as possible, keeping them constantly frustrated. That's really unfortunate. Even when kids are reading books below their reading level, they are still cementing spelling & grammer rules simply by absorbing them from the text. Plus, not only does it make them more confident readers, but it allows them to read the book more dramatically (whether out loud, or just using their internal, mental voice) because they aren't distracted constantly by challenging words. My daughter used to say that yes, she could read, but she couldn't read "like the audiobooks." She meant that it was hard to imagine the setting, the voices, & the emotions because the text itself was still quite challenging. I submit that if you can't get wrapped up in a book enough to imagine the characters & their tone of voice & so on, you are not fully reading that book. But of course, in school it's simply a matter of being able to say the words aloud. (I'm sure we all remember listening to other kids reading aloud in a total monotone, with no regard for the ends of sentences!)

When we found the Freddy the Pig audiobooks, I realized that my kids can learn an immense amount of vocabulary, random cultural knowledge, figures of speech & proverbs, grammar and syntax, all from audiobooks. All that's missing is deciphering symbols (reading, as it's often measured in school) and correctly arranging symbols (spelling and punctuation). They get everything from an audiobook except the mechanics, in other words. In fact, they get more, because the voice acting is usually quite good, and those vocal cues help kids understand unfamiliar slang or vocabulary. The Freddy books are chock full of old proverbs and odd slang (plus the word "phaeton"). I guarantee my daughter learns more listening to Freddy than reading any of the crappy early readers used in my old elementary school.

Lisa

I love that! A dead "reader soul" saved from hell and made into a reader--by his own choice. Awesome tribute to the power of a loving and observant parent--as well as to unschooling or homeschooling.

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