While recently training a handful of teens/young adults I was surprised at how entitled they felt. I listened to their conversation about needing immediate gratification and their “stress” for selfish wants. As the discussion grew into a debate of wants vs needs I realized the demands of personal accomplishments which were placed on these individuals. Most of their goals were unobtainable and not one of their goals was a drive to help others. It seemed most of them were avoiding attachment and living with a philosophy of “You look out for yourself and nothin’ can touch you.” “Dally” said that in the “Outsiders,” a story which none of them had read, watched, or even heard of. Life lessons are learned best through life – but sometimes a classic tale can help. Problem is that reading is another lesson changing with times. The age of instant gratification has led to a fact that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without taking the time to learn how to read. Great “social stories” can be taught through literature, yet literacy rates drop, communication skills lack, … there are less opportunities for team building … while we ignore the connections between bullying and texting and other social issues our kids are facing.
Social issues are becoming even a bigger concern as the numbers on the “autism spectrum” keep going up. Arguing over the label or the cause doesn’t change the fact that too many people are having troubles connecting with peers. Although you may look at my two boys and say “they are fine” because they “don’t look autistic” – you aren’t here to see their daily struggle to connect or the incredible joy they feel when they have connected! It’s tough work when one doesn’t understand social cues and they have to learn such skills. Discussing this with the trainees resulted in comparison of world-wide tragedies and the needs our community face vs their frustration over “having to work.” Finding knowledge as a benefit to their lives was a life lesson they came back to talk more about the next day – which soon turned into a book talk covering current trends like “Hunger Games” and the “Divergent” series. I felt hope as they rationalized why they didn’t want our world to end up as it did in such stories. It made me re-think the importance of how to teach a love for literacy.
I work with lots of kiddo’s besides my own. I homeschool mine and tutor other kids who are educated in public, private and charter setting. I work with special needs kids in schools, centers, in their home and my own. I work with some kids who are struggling learners while others are gifted and thriving – but no matter their background or situation I try and find the way to make every one of them love learning. This is done through a mix of their interests and confidence. Confidence can be shattered instantly even through something they enjoy doing so we often back-track to the basics to build up what they know. Now you can argue with me over which subject matter is the most important to focus on, especially as the need for STEM continues to grow – but I will stand by my approach to focus on literacy. As a love for reading and writing will build on STEM content (admitting to the VERY important need to focus here too) … we’ll talk more about STEM another day – today let’s press on with literacy:
Not every kid wants to learn to read and write. And once they can do so –not every kid care’s to continue along the book buddy path. My husband and I love reading and all the handouts say “read and your kids will read” so why didn’t mine want to even try? Well, after switching gears and pulling him outta school to try the homeschool plan we found he had a reading disability, and also didn’t understand some simple “codes” for reading. We back tracked to the basics and took his lead – his time. I am excited to announce that the kid who wanted nothing to do with it is now teaching his little brother and little brother is beyond thrilled with every new word! Little brother actually knew how to “read” quite young – or rather he was reciting BOB books at 3 years old. Most kids who read super early are really memorizing – but still that’s great and I encourage that – as it builds confidence. Yet the confidence they’ll show you when they actually start reading on their own is magical. Almost like they understand the gift of adventure books like “The Magic Tree House” series offer.
There are MANY curriculums available for teaching literacy skills. Reading and writing programs can cost a great deal of money or be completely free. I offer a very unique program using some of the top teaching theories if you’d like a consultation, tutoring services or simply resources. One resource available for reading is “All about reading.” Here is an intro to that program.
Here is a resource for a writing program “Spelling U See”
I reviewed “Math U See” and “Right Start Math” in our last blog. Continue checking our blog or our YouTube videos for curriculum reviews and other resources. I also have an extensive list of reading / writing resources available on Pinterest (and through my personal resource library). If you are curious about building a love for literature in your child or strengthening skills in other subject areas please feel free to contact me (Christi@MiFamilies.com). ALSO, if you haven’t already – please subscribe towards the top right for update es on more teachable tools.