Saturday, August 4, 2007

Thoughts on Reading After Week 1

On Tuesday of this week - and only the second day of school - I had an "Ah-ha!" moment: "I need to rethink my reading plan." This epiphany occurred while Thatcher was reading aloud to me and I was encouraging (aka. fussing at) him to stop mumbling. It's a conversation we had most days last year. I was hoping it had gone the way of Kindergarten but here we were, first week of school and already having "the talk". The one where he nudges me away and says, " I know mamma!" but he still doesn't do it.

Here is our current reading program:
  • Thatcher's read aloud time - usually 30 minutes but often not in one sitting
    • Purpose - for me to observe his reading, see how he is decoding words so I can support him ("Ok, let's look at that word. Are there any small words you see in that big word. Do you see any "chunks" you recognize?), answer any questions that arise, help him connect the dots to be certain he is comprehending and also to focus on oral reading skills - reading clearly and with expression and pace. I see this aspect as somewhat of a precursor to an oral speaking class! :)
  • History and science read-a-louds
    • Purpose - further knowledge in these content areas and bring them to life!
  • Bedtime read-a-louds -
    • Purpose - expose him to great literature with more complex themes, plots, characters and vocabulary than he is yet able to read on his own/many of these books he will read independently in a few years, too
  • Bedtime independent reading - usually 30 to 45 min after we read to him
    • Purpose - the pure joy of books: no restrictions or guidelines - just time to unwind at the end of the day and relax
Here's what I realized - during that initial read-a-loud time I am expecting too much. It is hard to work on elocution when you are still decoding! That time needs to simply be for him to read aloud and me support him.

I still want to work on oral reading skills though; I think it's important, even at his age. We're going to approach it differently though. Starting next week his read-a-loud time will just be us reading, discussing and enjoying books together. We will add a new part to our reading program that will look like this:
  • Presentation Book - each week we'll have one book he will re-read every day
    • Purpose - work on elocution: expression, pace, volume, and all the other things that make our reading interesting to an audience/then on Thursday he will "present" (i.e. read) the book to Daddy at the same time he shows him his weekly folder.
I am very excited about this. Thatcher loves an audience, especially when it's Dad; I think this will motivate him to work hard. I have learned that the McGuffey Readers are designed to be used this way, too. We will start with our own books for now, although I am intrigued and want to learn more about these readers.

One other part I want to add to our reading program:
  • Independent Reading - 30 minutes
    • Right now the only independent reading Thatcher does is at bedtime. He is in his room alone and we allow him to choose any reading material he would like - most often it's the Bible, a comic book or some sort of an activity book. I want Thatcher to have a reading time where I have a little more control over what he is reading and, although I may not be right next to him, I will be close enough to observe and help if he needs it. I also want him to fill in simple Reading Log where he will fill in the title of the book, author, and one fact about the book (I may write this for him.) We had a Reading Log last year but I filled it out each day. At the end of the year he was so thrilled and very proud to look at the list of books he had read.
I'll let you know how it works; we'll start next week!


Kerri said...


I really interested in hearing how the presentation book goes. I think it sounds like a great idea and it might work for my 2nd grader too.

Have a great week.


Jennefer said...

I'll let you know. We start tomorrow!

Hope you have a great week, too!

Trivium Academy said...

I just wanted to tell you that I think you're doing great. It is obvious that you have carefully weighed and considered many options and have decided on simple, workable solutions with your boys in mind. You are a wonderful mom, and homeschooler. I just wanted to tell you that and I pray your week goes more smoothly than the last and that the little man feels better.

Thank you for sharing your homeschool with all of us, it is a blessing- especially for me.

:) With love,

my5wolfcubs said...

How did your new reading plan go? :)

Thanks for commenting on my new blog...I'm really hoping to keep it up as a record of what we do.

We didn't get to the Tape Track today--there is always tomorrow!

tri3mom said...

Jen - the presentation book is such a smart idea. I have exactly the same problem with my 2nd grader. He gets SO frustrated with me when I try to make him read every word. Like Thatch, his reading level is way advanced and he just wants to speed-read, passing over the "unimportant" words. It's such a struggle for me, because I want to let him fly, but the "teacher" in me wants to check his wings all the time!! I think we will try your "presentation" book idea and in addition to Daddy, maybe use two neighbors for our listeners! Thanks for sharing your tip. You are so smart and your blog has been very helpful!