Is your child struggling to read well (or at all)?
I’m listening to a podcast (suggested by a Brave Writer fan) called “Sold a Story” about the failure of a popular method of teaching reading that doesn’t emphasize explicit phonics instruction. Emily Hanford, the show’s host, cites data that indicates that nearly 65% of fourth graders are poor readers.
Most home educators use a phonics-driven program to teach reading. I remember using a little book by Ruth Beechik to begin that instruction with my oldest son. He sat at the table while I used a white board to connect vowel sounds with a variety of consonants on either side: hat, cat, pad, bag; pig, sit, bid, sip.
Lots of tortured sounding out followed, but it was the act of noticing each letter that eventually unlocked his ability to read. I discovered with my daughter that she was doing such a good job of paying attention to the alphabet, she struggled to differentiate the different fonts for the same letters! Once we figured that out, she took off.
The Starting Place: Phonics
Phonics is the place to start because reading is foundationally the capacity to use the alphabet to transcribe and signal the familiar words we speak orally. In fact, it’s a pretty ingenious system that has made it possible to learn other languages. We transcribe the sounds our mouths make in order to remind us of the words or to preserve oral language for others to read later.
Certainly reading must be taught (it’s not caught like speech). The power of reading does more than introduce kids to a world of fascinating ideas and stories. It also allows children to become their own transcriptionists (writers). Those who struggle to read will struggle to spell and handwrite too.
If you wonder where to find a reputable phonics program, I recommend Pinwheels by Rooted in Language. Check it out.
And remember to read to your kids. A child’s academic imagination grows in direct relation to immersion in story.
So whether you homeschool or not, you can teach your child to read. Be patient, take your time, add treats and snuggles.
Let’s raise readers!
This post is originally from my @juliebravewriter Instagram account. Follow along for more conversations like this one!
Posted in Reading | Comments Off on Struggling to Read
October’s Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot selections spotlight protagonists who are brave and thoughtful. These stories provide loads to talk about and consider as your family explores writing, mechanics, and literary devices!
And this month’s Quill—Music & Song Lyrics—will get your feet tapping and fingers snapping as your family reads picture books, looks at lyrics, and explores a symphony of symbols!
Music & Song Lyrics
Tune up your singing voices and get ready to tap to the beat! The Music & Song Lyrics Quill is here! Check out the Music & Song Lyrics booklist to help curate your read-aloud stack!
In this Quill, we’ll:
look lovingly at lyrics on the page;
spot a slew of symbols that make meaning;
enjoy a bit of rhyme time—and make a few of our own;
In this historical fiction novel, Zomorod Yousefzadeh is making a fresh start with a new home and a new name. But fun and adventure can’t distract her from troubles brewing back in Iran and anti-Iran sentiments hitting too close to home. This poignant but lighthearted story will spark Big Juicy Conversations your family will remember!
October’s literary device is Figurative Language.
In this Arrow, we’ll also:
consider the clever comma;
dive into dialogue punctuation;
assess the power of snazzy synonyms;
discover the power of detailed descriptions;
gather golden lines;
see how a hearty dose of humor lightens a tense scene; and so much more!
We’re continuing our deep dive discussion into Amber O’Neal Johnston’s new book, A Place to Belong.
Previously in Part One, we talked about what led Amber to write the book—having a big juicy discussion around family culture, normalizing difficult conversations, and building a framework for inclusion within the family. We also talked about the different ways books can be viewed through a cultural lens: As mirrors, windows, or sliding doors.
Today on the Brave Writer podcast, we’re picking up the conversation around curating the home library.
Representation in Children’s Literature
Children’s literature plays a pivotal role in shaping young minds. It’s essential for every child to find themselves mirrored in the stories they read, building both self-identity and empathy. However, the landscape of children’s books isn’t always as diverse as it should be. Black, middle-grade authors, for instance, often find themselves limited by industry expectations, pressing the need for a broader range of stories that reflect varied experiences. Still, we must work towards expanding our children’s libraries from ones that are colorblind to ones that are colorful.
The Problem with the “Single Story” Approach
Relying on a “single story” approach in literature can inadvertently limit a child’s understanding and perpetuate stereotypes. Imagine a librarian recommending books based solely on racial assumptions, missing the mark on the actual experiences of the readers. Such instances highlight the broader challenge of biases in literature and underscore the importance of diverse narratives.
Living Books & Home Libraries
The term “living books” captures the essence of literature that deeply resonates with readers. But how can parents curate a collection of such impactful books at home? The key lies in selecting stories that not only entertain but also:
and mirror diverse life experiences.
A well-thought-out home library can be a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration for young minds.
Family Culture & Legacy
Family traditions, recipes, and shared stories form the bedrock of our cultural heritage. By cherishing and passing down these memories, we offer children a sense of shared history and identity. This rich tapestry of familial experiences serves as a foundation, grounding children and giving them a clear sense of belonging and identity.
Every action today shapes the legacy of tomorrow. Instilling a “legacy mindset” in children means teaching them to recognize the importance of their current experiences in crafting their personal and collective histories. Whether it’s cherishing today’s moments or planning for the future, understanding the significance of the present empowers children to shape a brighter, more intentional future.
The stories we share with our children, the traditions we uphold, and the values we instill form the backbone of their worldview. As guardians of the next generation, it’s our responsibility to curate experiences that are both reflective of their identity and expansive in perspective. By embracing diverse literature, cherishing family legacies, and fostering a forward-thinking mindset, we empower our children to navigate the world with:
and a strong sense of self.
Let’s commit to laying down a foundation rich in stories and values that will guide them today and inspire them tomorrow.
Sign up for the Brave Writer newsletter to learn about all of the special offers we’re doing in 2022 and you’ll get a free seven-day Writing Blitz guide just for signing up: https://go.bravewriter.com/writing-blitz
I once met a lady who homeschools While juggling a baby who drools She fought to teach writing Stop the toddlers from biting And forgot a semicolon’s rules
Is this you? It was surely one of my best friends. She came to me with exasperation.
How was she supposed to know all the rules of punctuation?
How could she teach it without the kids devolving into a fight?
We talked—and lo and behold! She discovered she, too, could lead a writing program even without a copyeditor’s knowledge of all the grammar rules! You can too.
I designed a bunch of programs that are kid (and parent!) friendly.
You can purchase two-product bundles to get started or to supplement Growing Brave Writers(if you’ve already got it). These products teach literature, grammar, punctuation, and developmentally scaled writing assignments.
Brave Writer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees (at no extra cost to you) by advertising and linking to amazon.com