More and more I see that it’s all about reading. Reading is the foundation we build everything upon. I can see it clear as day in my classes – if a student doesn’t get the reading portion, they struggle in everything else. Even math, which doesn’t need reading skills per se, is something they struggle with. Because Math has a form of reading too – number sentences are like reading. You read from left to right, – 3 + 4 = 7. Three plus four equals seven. And that’s not even mentioning story problems.
But I think it’s more than that. I think reading unlocks something in the brain. It’s like a video game, where you can’t advance to the next level until you’ve picked up enough coins or somehow aquired a weapon or magic pouch or something. You just can’t succeed until you’ve learned the reading portion of our life videogame.
Teaching 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 year olds reading I know that one size of instruction does not fit all. The 6 year olds especially need phonics and sentence work. They need to work on sounding out words, and getting those words so they then DON’T have to sound them out. But the 8 and 9 year olds need to start learning to LOVE reading, and I think that’s the trickiest part. You can’t teach love. You’ve got to somehow help it grow. I’m from the “work hard and it will pay off” school of thought, but you have to remember that more pushing will not make them love reading. Somehow making them realize that it’s THEM who wants to read – not just you who is making them read, is the key to unlocking the next level. All you need is patience, understanding, perseverence, and some really awesome reading material.