Learning to read, for Clara Anne, has been a slower process than I anticipated. We struggled through the first 67 lessons of "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" and finally decided to take a break for a bit; she was tired of it and I was tired of it. Technically she was doing fine, but it was like pulling teeth to get her to sit down and do it every day, and the lessons took an agonizing amount of time to keep her on task and focused. So, we took a long break, pulled away for awhile, went back to just enjoying stories and noticing interesting words. That coincided nicely with the time we were in the States last year. Then, I purchased a new phonics and reading program called "The Scaredy Cat Reading System" and we began with that again in June of 2010. We reviewed, took things slowly, incorporated handwriting, word family studies, spelling tests, alphabetization, word usage and vocabulary, and other skills along with reading. So, taking time to add in all those fun "extras" like worksheets, reading games, and activities also slowed down our reading progress. I wasn't worried about this, it was just the fact of how our studies were going at that point.
But I think we've finally crossed a crucial point. Clara Anne has gained enough skill now that she wants to read more and more, rather than me requiring her to read. She wants to spend time reviewing books that she knows and trying harder ones. The desire is there, and it's making all the difference.
Last night she was begging to be given a small flashlight to read for a bit after the light was off in their room. In trying to plead her case, she said, "Mommy, I just love to read! I just love reading now! All this time, I've been wondering what the pictures mean when I look at books, and now I don't have to wonder anymore...I can read! I can read, Mommy!" She was simply thrilled about the books she was reading and so excited to spend more time reading.
Wow! I truly praise the Lord because this is an area I really wanted to work on with her this spring--gaining reading fluency and confidence. I'm so thankful! I want to feed the fire in her now, so we did let her take a flashlight to bed, with instructions to turn it off after two or three stories and to keep it under her covers so as to not bother the other girls. The last thing I saw as I left the room was Clara Anne, sitting up in bed, a blanket thrown over her head and the light shining from within.
What a treasure to see Clara Anne developing her love for reading! I wouldn't have missed this process for anything. It's such a gift to be able to home school and see her gain these skills and fire up her desire to keep learning. I love it!