Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Zooming through the Montessori Green Series

Sydney is just about a reader!

Our journey through to reading has been, shall we say... eclectic. Syd loved the Bob books... until she didn't.  She loved the moveable alphabet... until she didn't. She loved any kind of reading app on the ipad... until she didn't. I never could get too comfy in the game, never could plan for any one method to take us all the way to the finish line, because the kid would inevitably eventually decide that this way was no longer the way for her.

Only two things have remained consistent for the past two years:

  1. Syd is surrounded by books. My goodness, I can't imagine children who could be MORE surrounded by books than these two children here. They have their wall of picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books, comic books, magazines, and encyclopedias in their room. They have all the picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books, comic books, magazines, and encyclopedias that belong to me and Matt to explore (except the sexy ones, which are on high shelves). They have our entire bookshelf in the living room devoted to all our library picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books, comic books, magazines, and encyclopedias. They have the library itself, which we visit two to three times a week (a few weeks we've visited up to six times, Foursquare tells me--yikes!). They have their magazine subscriptions. They have me inter-library loaning the latest Rainbow Fairies paperback for them from England (Thanks, IU Libraries!). Syd has her own CD player and her own ipod just for audiobooks; she's got our family stereo and our car stereo and the ipad for more audiobooks. She's got twenty digital books and audiobooks every two weeks from our public library's digital library. She's got me and her sister who constantly have our own noses in a book, and me and Matt to read to her, and ample time to keep her own nose stuck in a book (or, lately, a Smurfs comic book) many hours of the day
  2. Syd has read out loud every day. Sometimes she's been proud to, sometimes she's been reluctant to, often she reads the same book over and over, often she succumbs to a giant temper tantrum if she can't figure out the next word, but she always reads. At least for my kids, "normalizing" something is the only way to get past certain roadblocks. If they are required to brush their teeth for two solid minutes every night before bed, eventually they will both stop pitching a giant fit about brushing their teeth for two solid minutes, you know? Even if Syd read that same damn book with "Mat sat" in it for a hundred times, she was at least practicing the notion that she is a reader.
Lately, at just the very cusp of being able to read for REAL real--as in, regular early readers that are actually interesting to a kid, not graded-level reading instruction readers that try to make something interesting out of three blends, five sight words, and all the consonant-vowel-consonant words you could ask for--I've been seriously grooving on the reading review train. Like the pedal bicycle that Syd can ride but refuses to because she lacks the confidence to try and the patience to struggle, Syd *can* read, but lacks the confidence to try and the patience to struggle. And unlike the bicycle, whose pedals we took off so that she could join family bike rides at her own level, I'm not ashamed to say that I am much more insistent, firm, and demanding with reading. I won't read her the directions on the box of macaroni and cheese or jar of soup or canister of oatmeal because I know that she can read them, even if she has to stop and throw a fit halfway through. I won't read her the directions on game cards, or the menu in restaurants, or the quiz questions on her Summer Reading Program form.

Yes, yes, I know, terrible parenting, but you already knew that.

To mediate that, though--back to the reading review train! As her life outside of school becomes suffused with reading for herself, straight into the deep end of the literacy pool, her reading lessons during school are super easy, all about going over phonograms that she already knows and adding and reviewing sight words. We love the Montessori Reading Series, and for our school lessons lately, we've been zipping through the printables of the Green Reading Set from The Helpful Garden:

I printed, laminated, and cut out the letter and phonogram cards, and kept one single, unlaminated copy of the word bank for myself. To play, I write one of the words on our dry erase board. Sydney reads it--

--and then I erase it real quick, with much fanfare and fuss. Then Sydney uses the letter and phonogram cards to build the word again from memory--

--and she reads it again after she's built it.

Syd really likes this game because it's do-able for her, so she has that happy feeling of accomplishment and mastery as she works, but it's also still a really great activity, since she's got to hold the word in her head and recreate it from memory, then read it again as her own construction.

For some reason, Willow is really intrigued by this activity, too, and likes to jump into Syd's work:

Very occasionally I can channel her enthusiasm into actually helping Syd--

But not for long, of course, because then otherwise, how would sisters fight?


Tina said...

That confidence thing can be so tough! I got so tired of Emma telling me, "I can't read!" then turning around and reading something, without even realizing it. Grr.

So, we kinda did the same thing with the tough love. If she wanted to know what something said, she had to try at least once before I would help her. Then it was a few times before I'd help. Now she hardly needs my help at all.

She just started reading a new (to us) series called Magic Ponies. They are chapter books along the same lines, reading wise, as the Rainbow Magic series. We'll be buying the books as our library doesn't carry paperbacks, and charges for inter-library loans.

julie said...

I'm going to look into the Magic Ponies!

It's funny--about half an hour after writing this post, we had to leave the library because Syd was pitching a quiet little temper tantrum. The girls had signed up for the summer reading program, and I'd told Syd that she'd be reading all the books for the program independently this year. She chose a beginner's chapter book that's quite within her ability, but got frustrated at sounding out a word and tried to go throw her reading program sheet away!

Fortunately, the long walk home put her mood to rights (yes, walking--she refused the balance bike today!), and she's spent the afternoon happily making a bunch of tile mosaics. I'll bring up the summer reading program again... later.

Tina said...

Totally forgot this till now, but when Emma was reading pretty well, but didn't have the confidence, I let her check out a bunch of board books from the library. The wouldn't count for a reading program, but they might help Syd build confidence.