We are in week eight of our ten week 1st term. Remember I told you that 'Em' was suddenly 'ready' for school work at the beginning of the term! At Christmas time she could barely remember two thirds of her alphabet at any given time. We would revise the ones she did not know intensively and she would promptly forget the others and so we would go around and around in circles, never managing to get it all in, in one go.
At the beginning of the term every single word had to be sounded out painfully, with little remembrance of the word, even if the word had been read a few seconds ago. (We are using a combination of Blue LLATL readers and SMILE educational toys and remedial reading program, readers and games. Much credit goes to SMILE! ) We played lots of games, had 'big kid' spelling tests, used work books along side readers, used flash cards etc and made all words 'fun'! This term I also introduced the 'ready, steady, sweetie' (lolly/confectionery) method!
It started with one lolly for every page of a reader, then one lolly for every reader/story, then one lolly for every 5, until we build up to 12 readers/stories for a lolly. And now we are ready and working on the next set of readers! ch sh and wh words, plus, "who, what, where, when, why and they" type words...for Em it is a miracle turn about! I am sure the lollies helped as did her precocious little 5 year old brother who reads faster and better than her, and so keeps her motivated to keep going! But in reality I know deep down inside, not even mountains of lollies could have made it happen last year or the year before. As she heads up to her 8th birthday this Easter I breath a sigh of relief for her sake....life is so much easier and so much more fun when you can read!
So where do I find the time in the day to listen to at least 12 readers two times over( two kids) twice a day, making 48 readers/stories to listen to? I spent the beginning of the term taking my 19 year old to TAFE (now she is using the bus!) and used driving time as 'read to Mom' time, in between talking to the 19 year old...not ideal but it worked. Now we are using our two year old JJ's potty time as reading time. The only problem is he insists on having his turn to 'read' too and we have to give him a chance to repeat some words from the reader as he looks on...it, no doubt, will sound funny and cute to you, but on an everyday basis it requires much patience on my part! Teaching a two year old to 'read' during potty time is not exactly my idea of fun, especially an exceedingly determined one who really is not ready to read! But I guess one of these days he will be a "ready, steady, sweetie". Right now he gets his sweeties for doing the right things in the potty and he also gets to watch one of his favourite DVDs, Little Bear or Love to Sing if the 'big one' goes in the right place at the right time. We have had two days of no TV for this little chap which as far as he is concerned is a national disaster! I think the penny will drop long before the national disaster gets any worse, or at least I hope so! AS I said it he is very determined, a nice way of saying strong willed, and he loves TV! Given half a chance he would watch all day every day!
I highly recommend the 'ready, steady, sweetie' method. Firstly your child needs to be 'ready', then you must be prepared to be kind and steady in working with them and they are the 'sweeties/sweetie pies' who get the reward of a sweetie. When my big kids were little I felt guilty for using lollies as 'bribes'! Now I see it as payment for work, a way to bless them and encourage them and after all who doesn't want to instill a good work ethic in their kids? How much I enjoy my precious sweet children, what sweeties they are indeed!