SUCCESS STEP 1: YOU HAVE ONLY TWO CHOICES IN TEACHING YOUR CHILD TO READ
I’ve talked about this before, but I’m going to talk about it again because it’s so important. I’ll say it differently this time, so you won’t get bored.
One choice is effective and the other isn’t, so of course you know what my recommendation’s going to be!
CHOICE ONE: The “start-and-stop method” is used sporadically for years, with parents giving reading support maybe a couple of days a week for a few minutes, on and off. This method includes the indispensible addition of a school system using a teaching method which doesn’t work for your child. The end result of all this is a teenager or adult who is frustrated and discouraged.
CHOICE TWO: The “pedal-to-the-metal method.” You hit it consistently starting with 5 minutes twice a day for maybe 3 years, and then you successfully retire as your child’s reading teacher. You’re done, because he’s launched as an independent reader. This scenario is, of course, my favorite.
The young man in this picture is Shawn, whose mom homeschooled him (and his older siblings) and kept the reading pedal to the metal. She brought him to me for some help with fluency and speed, and at that point the poor kid had TWO feet keeping his reading pedal to the floor mat. The result? Shawn is an absolutely wonderful reader. And so proud of it.
Please Start Small
Here’s your prescription: 5 minutes twice a day.
5 minutes+ 5 minutes + 5 minutes + 5 minutes +5 minutes + 5 minutes + 5 minutes spells success. You just have to link all those mini-sessions together to get to the end goal.
Q. Do I stay at just 5 minutes forever?
No. Here is the exciting part: as your child’s confidence and success grows, and you say, “Okay, we have to stop now,” your child is going to ask for MORE. “Really?” Yes, really. As progress continues, you both become so excited that the building of “teaching time” happens quite naturally; you don’t have to force anything.
S.J. Scott has written a handy book titled, “Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less.” He talks about keeping a new habit to 5 minutes so we don’t get overwhelmed. I give that idea two thumbs up. When I recommend 5 minutes twice a day to the parents of my students, I can see their lives flashing before their eyes…No time! I don’t have the time!!!
But what they don’t understand is that I REALLY MEAN 5 MINUTES TWICE A DAY. I don’t mean a half hour. Really. Just start that mini-habit by building it into your day as a habit, and that will do it. You know how our kids love ritual, right? So make it a fun ritual.
Don’t get overwhelmed. 5 minutes, twice a day.
Good luck! Oh, and take two Dove chocolates and call me in the morning.