Homeschooling in our house looks more like unschooling so reading and writing, along with the learning of other subjects, is largely unstructured. As the kids get older though we are trying to add a little bit of structure in and hold them accountable for some work. Reading has been slow going for my oldest and although she is a fluent reader she rarely chooses to sit down with a book in a self-directed way. Additionally her writing and spelling could use a fair amount of work so the time has come, to
force encourage her to read.
The first step was to have a conversation to find out why she often didn’t sit down with a book. She informed me that sometimes she gets distracted and has to reread the page several times and then often, at the end of a chapter she doesn’t fully remember what occurred so it’s difficult. I informed her that I too am easily distracted while reading and sometimes have to reread a sentence, page or even chapter over. This seemed to lighten the burden for her, just knowing that it’s ok. We talked some more about strategies for not getting distracted while reading and also about techniques to help her remember what she had just read. We decided that, at the end of each chapter she should write a synopsis of the chapter. This accomplishes two things, she gets more practice writing and it will help solidify in her mind what she just read. I told her that I didn’t care where she wrote it, in a notebook, on the computer, on a napkin, it really didn’t matter as long as she wrote it and showed it to me.
The next day we sat on the deck reading together for a bit. After a while she went inside and a few minutes later I received a text on my phone which started with “Chapter 1” and continued on with a synopsis of the chapter that she had finished reading. It was great, I was blown away. All of the ways that I though I would get the synopsis from her at the end of the chapter, text was not even on my radar.