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Reading is boring

Last week, we pulled the younger boy out of school and stuck him in day care. There was a very obvious change in his behavior immediately. He was so much better behaved and happy.

This week, he started at the new school. He seems much happier there. He actually comes home and tells us what he did during the day.

We're still having one major conflict, though. He keeps refusing to read. And I am placing the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of the previous school.

By the end of kindergarten, we knew that he could read. He would only read to me, but he could read. We attributed this to his perfectionism issues: apparently he isn't as worried about making mistakes in front of me as everyone else. Strangely enough, his kindergarten teacher didn't seem perturbed by this: she just kept sending progressively more complicated books home and assuming we were getting him to read.

At the beginning of this school year, they started sending home books that were below the level he was reading at in kindergarten. They kept saying that he wasn't showing good comprehension. Honestly, I couldn't comprehend what was going on in most of these books. They were so worried about keeping certain sounds throughout the story that they apparently thought a plot wasn't important. They were confusing, and it was no wonder he couldn't figure out what was supposed to be happening.

We asked the school to PLEASE send more appropriate books. The teacher kept arguing with us about how he couldn't comprehend things. Finally, she gave in and started sending two books home. One was a phonics book (i.e. a nonsensical thing with pictures) and the other was a bit better...but usually not much. Mike and I opted to ignore the phonics book and get him reading the other books. Really, we have a bunch of Bob books at home that he already knew how to read. No reason to make him go through that again. (And the Bob books seemed to have a better way of setting up a story than some of these other books.)

Honestly, I would've been fine if they'd been sending home Captain Underpants books, just so long as the books were understandable and helping to learn how to read.

Now the new school is sending books home. These are definitely appropriate to his reading level. Interestingly enough, when we got the first one, there was a letter talking about how parents' feedback on how their child is reading is very important. We're supposed to let the teacher know if the books are either too advanced or too easy. This is a huge contrast, where the teachers were the experts and we were just supposed to play along and not make waves. And we're fortunate that the teacher set the reading level just at just the right level. He's a hair shy of chapter books right now and that's what the teacher sent home.

Getting him to read, however, has been difficult. He starts crying and saying that books are boring and he hates reading. After what they were sending home before, I'm not surprised at this reaction. In fact, he'd basically started to refuse to do any homework at all by the time we pulled him from the other school.

He won't listen to reason on this issue, so we took a different tack. We basically said that his new teacher likes him and wants to pick out books that are fun. I also said that I felt like the books he was getting from the old school really were boring. We told him that if he thought this book was boring, maybe he could ask his teacher if he could help pick out books that aren't boring.

That seemed to do the trick. He read the book, and better yet, he said he liked it. I imagine we're going to be struggling with this for a while, but at least we're making a bit of progress. And it helps that his teacher is apparently better at figuring out where he's at.


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crayonbreakygal
Mar. 21st, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
That does seem to be the better approach. Giving him a say in the matter will help a lot. Just don't push him too much. I was lucky because I could basically ignore what my oldest's first grade teacher was saying. She didn't think he could do anything right. I just ignored her and let him do his own thing. By the time he was in second grade, he had a teacher who knew exactly what to do and how to get him to do it and make it fun. By the middle of the year he could read Harry Potter, by himself. She let him pick whatever he wanted to read. So nice to have teachers that will help out and understand instead of demand. Doesn't mean that it will be that easy in every grade.
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