Teaching a child to read is no easy feat. It’s a pretty Herculean task regardless of special needs. You need to take into account many factors like developmental age, readiness, learning style, etc. The main thing to remember is that sometimes it just takes repetition and more repetition. How many reading lessons does it take to teach one child to read?
Logan learned to read at public school so all I needed to do was reinforce what he was already learning from someone else. Madison has been homeschooled her whole life. Reading lessons were my responsibility with her. I truly thought that she was going to be a kindergarten drop out. Is that even possible? She was a young kindergartner having just turned 5 when school compulsory age started in Florida. I thought it would be best to enroll here in the Florida Virtual School instead of coming up with the curriculum myself while I worked with Logan. I should have known that she was out of her zone when we had to stop at Christmas and redo the first semester of phonics. I’m not the quickest learner. For some reason, it never occurred to me to apply all the concepts of development to her like I did with Logan. She was my typical child. Those rules didn’t apply to her, right?
The light bulb finally went off at Spring Break when I unenrolled her from the virtual academy. I got the bright idea to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I mean it sounds easy, doesn’t it? In 100 lessons, your child is reading. Yeah, right. Unfortunately, Madison had some bad memories of phonics lessons. She wanted nothing to do with it and just wasn’t getting it. In hind sight, I should have backed off and let it go. She wasn’t developmentally ready and definitely didn’t feel competent.
We started out doing 100 lessons. No reading like not even sounding out the letters. OK, so let’s try again. 200 lessons. Minimal reading as in sounding out letters but no getting the words. Here’s where a wiser homeschool mama reminded me that she was making progress. Progress is progress no matter how slow. You could call this my lightbulb moment. I would keep trying if it was Logan because of his autism. Why would I give up on Madison just because she had no special needs? That made no sense. Onward to 300 lessons we went.
I am a firm believer in teaching a child to read when they are ready. It lays the foundation for a lifelong love of learning and takes the child to places that they can only imagine. But do they need to learn it before age 6? No, they need to learn how to love learning and make connections on their own. There will be plenty of time for learning later. We think they need to be reading because all their public school peers are doing it. No one wants to be the homeschool parent with the child who can’t read. I’m here to remind you that the reason we homeschool is teach our children at their pace and in a style that works for them. If this means they are 10 and still working on reading then so be it.
Remember that it may not take 100 lessons. It may take 50 or 70 or 150 or 700. Some children learn fast while some need more time. Take it at your child’s pace. Give them time to make the connections. You won’t regret it later. When you feel like you are failing, remind yourself that slow progress is still progress. We all learn at different rates.