The boy has always had a hate-hate relationship with reading. When I recently said to him he would be able to read his superhero comics if he learnt to read, he gave me a belligerent look and said he could carry on looking at the pictures and making up his own story thankyouverymuch.
I am a firm believer in letting kids progress at their own rate with learning. All children are individuals and it’s important to let them go at their own rate developmentally. However there are caveats with this that I’ve been forced to acknowledge. If a child, particularly a boy, drops far enough behind his peer group, it can be pretty discouraging for him and there is a risk it will affect his willingness to learn. Imagine the situation where you’re doing a project on something cool, like the Egyptians, and everyone else is busy reading and writing interesting stuff but you’re still sounding out the requirements of the task.
Now I know that learning to read isn’t linked to intelligence but explaining that to a 5 year old who started the year in the same reading group as the youngest kid in the year, the special needs kid and his mate from the year below didn’t exactly foster a joy in learning in the boy, it instead lead to a degree of resentment and moans that reading was rubbish.
We felt really bad over this; wifey and I are lifelong bookworms and had a love of reading from a young age. I know I stopped reading kids books when I was 11 years old- I was off full tilt in adult science fiction and fantasy at that point- so we find it a bit of a shame the boy doesn’t want to give reading a chance.
Slowly though we (and by “we” I mean mostly wifey) are making progress. We grabbed a whole load of Oxford Learning Tree material as this is the phonics system they use at the school and we’ve recently paid up to use the Reading Eggs system. Reading Eggs has particularly been a revelation since it’s computer based and tricks kids into learning by using games.
At the start of the academic year, the boy was on level 2, last night he read a level 6 book (which was out of his comfort zone but he chose it). How much of an improvement is that? Look and see: