Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Persistence. That long awaited day.

He learned how to read very early. Pointing to words and asking what they were at 18 months old soon led to asking what the letters were and how they worked. So he read his first book the week he turned three. At four, his favorite game was one he made up and called the “rhyming game.” He would write an ending sound like at, or ack, on the white board and we would take turns writing words that rhymed. He started simple with cat, rat, fat, and back, rack, track, but then kept going until he was soon using homophones and multi-syllabic words. I never pushed, but just continued to play games with him.

So, imagine my surprise when he got older and began really reading whole books, that he hated it. He hated it and he told me so every day. He took every opportunity to tell anyone he met how much he hated reading. I, as a teacher, had failed. When it was time for reading, he complained. When it was time to read science, he complained. When it was time to read history, he complained.

I talked it over with friends and family and the advice I received repeatedly was that some people just don't like to read and that's just the way it is. I refused to accept that. I plugged away and kept insisting on that 30 minutes a day for reading. I honestly believe that anyone who can read well, will enjoy reading when they find that certain something that sparks an interest in them. Our friendly bookmobile lady took up the case with me to find that spark for him. Any interest I heard him mention, I would ask her to bring books on that subject. We've tried basketball, football, martial arts, war books, books on how things work, solar system, joke books and anatomy. He enjoys all of those topics, but still didn't want to read about them.

Lately she's been bringing him dog books. He would read a chapter and put it down. He did enjoy one that was full of charts and facts about various dog breeds. So he read the charts.

Then she brought The Good Dog by Avi, a book written from the dog's point of view. The dog doesn't know what to call things, so he names them for what they do. A glow box for television, a staring paper for newspaper, a freeze box for refrigerator, and human pup for a boy. During reading time, he read a chapter. The next day, he read another. All week he read the entire 30 minutes without complaint. And today, yes, today was the day my persistence paid off and he said, “Can we do reading first? I like this book.” Oh, what music to my ears! The words I have longed for! And then for icing on the cake, when the timer went off, he asked if he could keep reading. Yes, my boy, yes! Today will be a reading holiday! Read as long as you like.


  1. Oh this is very encouraging. I am struggling with one of mine and I can't seem to figure it out. I will keep at it. Thanks!

    1. May God bless your efforts, Emily, and make them fruitful! Keep'em reading! At least 20 minutes for second grade and 30 minutes for third, and so on.

      I found that if I let him read a certain amount, rather than a time limit, he would skim the material just enough to be able to give some basic information. Whereas, when I sat next to him, with a book of my own, and set the timer, he had nothing else to do but stare at the page, so he decided to read it rather than stare at it for 30 minutes.