Saturday, March 3, 2012

Addressing an Aversion to Reading in the Homeschool Environment

English: King Alfred the Great was fond of rea... King Alfred the Great was Fond of Reading and Learning - Image via Wikipediaby Ms.Tirtza Koren Gal, Home Educators Resource Directory:

Ms.Tirtza Koren Gal is the founder of SkillaDo and the EasyPhonics™ reading program. Her mission as a teacher is to empower children by teaching them to read and control texts, allowing them to build strong self-images as readers and achievers. You can read more about teaching children, children & learning, and children & reading at the SkillaDo blog.

Reading together can be one of the greatest bonding experiences a parent and child have. Of course, teaching your child to read in a homeschool environment can be stressful and overwhelming for you and for your child - after all, reading is an artificial process and the exact opposite of natural speech.

What if during this already difficult process your child begins presenting with an aversion to reading? How can you effectively intervene to encourage your child to engage in reading and enjoy the experience?

Assess your child’s emotional needs

Is he or she intimidated by reading? Is the anxiety presenting due to self-consciousness or concern that he or she can’t perform well? Try providing constructive encouragement, not adulation, to give your child a realistic and true confidence in his or her abilities.

For example, instead of saying "You're the best reader in the world!", give him or her specific encouragement on specific tasks: "You did this exercise very well." This kind of grounded sense of achievement can build lasting self-confidence that can make a big difference in the long run.

Determine whether a learning difficulty is at play

Is there a learning difficulty present that may be compounding the problem? Do you believe that there may be signs of dyslexia or some other reading disorder present? Try to determine where in the reading process the difficulty is occurring. Is it a matter of decoding? In other words, is your child having a problem "translating" the sounds on the page into the spoken word they represent?

Does he or she even understand that this is, in fact, what is supposed to take place in reading? Or is the difficulty a matter of comprehension? Your child may be able to decode the sounds, but then is unable to really grasp the line of the narrative or string the words together into a larger concept.

There might even be a retention difficulty at stake, which could relate to an attention disorder. Investigate all three areas and try to zero in on the source of the problem.

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