letting her read

Was I right to let Helena choose when to read? It is such an important, useful and even essential skill…

I found it hard as I always wanted to read even when I was perhaps not developmentally there but Helena showed no desire -except a brief interest at 3. However despite this I felt that she was going to be a bookworm (like I was) because of her interest in plot. Now at 7 she reads ALL the time for pleasure. There was no green level moving to red level – or whatever order the colour coded readers go in, there was perhaps a transition from Enid Blyton language she was familiar with to more challenging chapter books. There was only a very short period of labored reading before it became all chapter books. There was no teaching of phonics in an ordered manner (I did make various attempts that were stopped by Helena) it was all incidental to me reading her her books. She really worked it out her self. All the research shows that by 8 late readers are reading at the same level as their early reading peers. I think it was just a developmental thing for Helena and I feel for all the children who spend years believing that there is something wrong with them rather than there is something wrong with a system that believes that all children should learn to read at 5 and says to them if they don’t there is something wrong with them. I feel for all the parents stressing about their child’s reading, their struggle before the child is ready. Different children develop different skills at different times, there are NO straight lines of/in learning. We should never imply that, despite it’s importance,¬† reading is all there is.

What if Helena had turned out to have been reluctant because she was dyslexic? I am doing a refresh for my teachers qualification because I didn’t get fully registered in the allotted time due to working part time (I’m not masochistic). For my second assignment I have to do an inquiry (this is the new buzz concept in education and is divided into phases which I will have to learn the names for until I can rejoin reality and forget) and this will be my topic. How to tell if someone is dyslexic rather than a reluctant reader – thinking of the whole person rather than using reading as the marker. Finding a way to help with out implying any wrongness in the person. I think we should see dyslexia as a boon. A friend of mine who is dyslexic has talents that I am envious of, skills that I just don’t have. I don’t know if this is because of the dyslexia, personality or the how much the dyslexia shaped the personality, drive etc. The world needs people to think in a multitude of different ways with different skills, different ways of seeing to solve our problems. I truly want all people to believe in themselves as capable learners and they have stuff to give.

I can see that another book (Polar Bear expl*rers club Alex Bell) is about to bite the dust and my child is back to the real world and will now be able to answer my questions and maybe even “play” with me. Or maybe I’ll read her book…

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