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Our Reading Journey
Rebeka Heath

Reading... is hard. Teaching a child to read... is hard.

See that handsome, smiling boy in the white shirt? For the FIRST TIME, he got "grade level" on his Star test. I don't put a lot of weight on test results, but this one makes me smile. He's in 5th grade. To say he was a reluctant reader is an understatement. To say trying to teach him to read almost broke me is not. In my eagerness and desire to get him to read, I did a lot of damage to our relationship; trying to force reading lessons, workbooks, and programs... it got to the point where we were both in tears, and he had anxiety attacks every time I picked up a book. That was the end of 2nd grade.

So I stopped. I stopped teaching him to read. I stopped dragging us both through lessons that ended in tears. I stopped comparing him to his sisters and his peers. I gave myself permission to be OK with learning a different way and knowing some people would not understand it. When something required reading, I read it to him. By the end of 3rd grade, he enjoyed being read to again but still wouldn't read by himself voluntarily. He was okay with Reading Eggs and Nessy but still wouldn't touch a workbook with written instructions. By the middle of 4th grade, he started to pick up "easy" books and graphic novels in his free time. This summer (after 4th grade), he started voluntarily reading chapter books. And now, at the beginning of 5th grade, he will tell you he loves to read.

It's a process, friends. If we can embrace it, we have the gift of teaching our kids to love learning, which is so much more important than the learning itself.

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