IS THERE A MAGIC BULLET for READING? YEP. GO IN THROUGH THE HEART.
HERE’S ONE STORY…
If you’ve read my latest book, “Whole Child Reading,” you know that my premise for teaching reading to our offspring with Down syndrome is, “Go in through the heart and teach to the brain.” This means that in the beginning of the reading journey, we offer reading material that totally floats their boat; and we design that material so the brain can easily perceive and retain it.
BUT DOES IT WORK?
Answer: here’s a story about one of my students. I’ll call him Jeremy, since that’s not his name. Jeremy is a Total Teen with a joker attitude. In his first session, I found myself fist-bumping him and speaking teen jargon just to get myself in the front door with him.
He was, like, soooo not interested in reading. Which of course is why his mom brought him to me in the first place. He had some ability but was just flat-out not interested in reading.
A few sessions in with teaching Jeremy, I suddenly remembered a Shrek 2 book I had painstakingly modified. (See how to modify books.) It was originally a long read-aloud book, and took a while to modify. Was it worth it? Ask all the teen boys I’ve taught. They love it. It’s not only on target for their interests, it’s brain friendly: large type, double spacing between words, all the things I preach about. So I got the book out for Jeremy.
TIME TO STOP?
Fast forward to the end of his session. We had gotten about halfway through the book. “It’s time to stop, Jeremy,” I said. “NO!!” he said, grabbing the book. “Keep reading!” My logic that our time was up did not prevail, and I had to resort to fetching mom from the other room. She came in, sized up the situation, and her jaw dropped. “He has never felt that way about a book in his entire life.”
With Jeremy still clutching the book to his chest, I let them take the modified book home for a while. This week, Jeremy and I plunged right back into Shrek 2, and his enthusiasm and willingness to work were undaunted.
The proof is in the pudding. Or in the kingdom of “Far, Far Away,” if you’re a Shrekkie.
“Go in through the heart and teach to the brain.” This works. Trust me. It really works.
From Far, Far Away-