Friday, December 16, 2005

Phonics, Shmonics

TheLittlestPrincess is very resistant to phonics lessons. When any mother of a 5yo tells me this, I advise them to wait until the child is a bit older. I've taught six children to read and they were all ready at different times. Sometimes they are just not ready. Don't force it. There's plenty of time...yada, yada, yada.

Well, this is not the case with our little scholar. She insists on reading. She just doesn't have time to learn her phonograms and the rules about "when two vowels go walking, the first does the talking." I try to casually slip in these little lessons in when possible, but she's not interested in vowels. She is, however, very interested in words. She has been copying words for years already. Once when we were out of town, visiting a relative's church that was meeting in a gym, I looked down and saw that she had copied 'Visitors' and 'Home' from the scoreboard onto the empty spaces of the church bulletin along with her brothers' names and other miscellaneous words she could find.

Tonight, even after two days of fever and only doing better now because of the advil she had 3 hours ago, she was just pestering her father with, "What does N-E- (holding up 3 fingers in the shape of a W - she keeps forgetting the name of this letter) and this say?"

"It says new."

"Read it to me Daddy", as she leans the Reader's Digest book America The Beautiful toward him.

"Although New England is the smallest regional division of the nation..." he reads then grins and says, "Honey, this is a hard book for you."

"I know Daddy, but I can read some words in it."

"Why don't you get an easier book."

"Ok. Mom, can I get my green book?"

Three days ago I took down an old Rod & Staff reader (the green book) that her sisters read when they were little and she is on lesson 23 already and at this very moment is begging her dad to come and listen to her read some more. She wants us near to help her with new words as she comes across them, and she is doing a good job at remembering those words. When we try to give a little phonics instruction along the way, she politely, but with a distinct air of indifference, nods her head.

It's not looking like I am going to get to "teach" her to read. She is not supposed to be able to read 'about' yet. She has never been taught that word and doesn't she realize that I haven't taught her -ou- yet? Where are those flashcards, anyway? I don't think she knows that I have boatloads of reading instruction materials tucked away in bins just waiting for her.

One of our older daughters did something similar to this. She did have some phonics basics but took off on her own by sitting on the couch and calling out the spelling of any word she didn't know but at least she started doing that with the children's picture books, not Reader's Digest America the Beautiful! It's been quite a while since those days, and four children since then who have made teaching reading a hard job requiring large doses of coffee and chocolate to make it through. Maybe this time, God wants to demonstrate His sense of humor. Just when I think I've got this teaching thing down, He gives me a child who doesn't need it!

For years my mother has been snickering and saying, "This one is going to give you a run for your money!" I guess I should have paid a little more attention to that little gleam in her eye each time she made this statement. Grandparents enjoy this kind of thing a little too much!

1 comment:

Steph said...

It reminds me of the way my DD11 learned to read. She had no time or patience for phonics rules, either :-)