Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Switching reading curriculums...

Ok, so.... I switched reading curriculums. I know, I know, stop the presses. BUT, this is a big deal for me. I'm the girl (so far) who starts a curriculum and finishes it unless its a total disaster. And this wasn't a total disaster. It just wasn't the fit that I was hoping for, and we got bogged down, and I got frustrated because Seth was frustrated.

We started out with All About Reading- Level 1. I did the pre-reading curriculum with him, and I loved the well scripted lessons, and the zebra puppet, and all the little games. Those were fun, and doing it with him gave me confidence that I could teach him to read.

AAR is not a bad curriculum. It has lots of games and is well scripted and moves in a logical progression. It's a solid, phonics based, reading curriculum. We both learned a lot while using it last year. But I think that Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading is going to help us progress with less frustration.

Honestly, AAR is so thorough that we both felt like we weren't making much progress. And I blame the blankity blank fluency practice sheets. Every other lesson teaches a new concept and gives you a fluency practice sheet to practice reading words using that concept and some review words.

I counted on Lesson 24 (yes, we only made it up to Lesson 24 in an entire year of kindergarten, and you'll find out why in a second), and there are 104 words to read. Yes. 104. I had to break up every other lesson into several 15-20 minute sessions to get through, and I was skipping every other word. It was just too much. And he and I felt stalled out.

We would spend several teaching sessions reading words. And then, after we struggled through that, the next lesson he would get to read a story in his reader. Finally! This was a problem. It motivates Seth to be able to read real stories... not just words and random sentences. He was not getting to read enough stories to feel like he was really becoming a reader.

I also discovered that he was using the pictures in the reader to try and guess the words of the stories. The pictures were a distraction for him because he's a visual kid. What I thought was playing to his interest actually backfired here.

So now we're on to OPGTR, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Every lesson involves reading a story at the level where we're starting. There are not a million words to read before you can get to it. There are no pictures to distract him, and the stories are interesting. Review involves just underlining a few words in pencil that he had trouble with in the stories, and we go back over them the next day for a minute or two before starting the next lesson.

The way that the author set up the lessons is genius in getting a child to feel like they are really learning to read. No bells and whistles and not as many games. Just steady, meaningful progress.

It took time and prayer for me to admit that AAR wasn't working for us and move on, but I'm glad that I did. Homeschooling requires so much listening to your child and revising and begging God to show you the next step. It's hard stuff, but I feel like I'm growing through this. Hopefully. :)

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