Friday, January 23, 2009

Big Brother To The Rescue

Cherub 5 had considerable difficulty learning
to read. But, she finally got the hang of it.
Every day she would read her
McGuffey's Reader, making good progress.
But when she sat with a chosen
library book or some other story,
she would freeze.
Frustration would set in ...
and she would NOT read ...
she could NOT read ...
even if the words were exactly
the same as those just read
from her McGuffey's Reader ...
she was simply unable to read them.
So, we have been at this "stalling point"
since well before the holidays ...
not wanting to push her too hard,
but trying to encourage her ...
yet this impasse continued to block her way.
She really truly very-much
WANTS to read books by herself ....
library books, books from our collection,
magazines like her Ranger Rick ....
yet, she has been simply unable to read them.
And I have waited ... and waited ...
encouraging but not pushing ...
all without progress.
I have to say that I do not believe
this issue is behavioral, that she WILL NOT,
but rather it is a CANNOT because of a
mental block she has put up,
hindering her progression.
Cherub 1 once had this exact problem,
though not as severely.
Thankfully, he remembers it !
He wanted to read "any book" with all his heart,
but reading did not come easily to him.
(unlike Cherub 2 and Cherub 3),
So, it took a lot of work and considerable time.
He says now that he was AFRAID
of those other books --
wanting to read them,
yet very much intimidated by them.
Very strange, yes.
But, true, he insists.
But that was longggg ago ....
and these days he reads everything
and anything without so much as a stumble.
He LOVES to read !
So, it began a few weeks ago ...
unplanned by DadToCherubs or myself ...
(I never would have asked THIS impatient child
to help our other MORE impatient child !)
Cherub 1 began sitting with Cherub 5
several times each day to read.
Cherub 1 said he had to coax her to try it at first,
but that now she drops what she is doing when he
calls her to read for a while. That's progress !!
This first-born ... generally VERY short on patience ...
whose idea of offering praise and encouragement
is simply silence and witholding criticism ...
is helping someone else, with nothing to gain for himself.
He is simply being kind ... and loving ...
and apparently patient !
I stood unseen a few times,
watching and biting my nails,
when these "readings" first began.
It appears that THIS is different, for both Cherubs.
Their strong character traits are put aside, for a time.
And together, they forge this relationship ...
and they make progress.
They sit together in a quiet corner,
unseen by most family members,
and they read ANY book of Cherub 5's choice.
Sometimes they read from start to finish,
and sometimes it's just a few lines
or pages per sitting.
This takes maybe 10 or 15 minutes at a time,
for a total of an hour or more
spread throughout each day.
Cherub 1 says they read until
Cherub 5 starts showing "stress".
(The stress he remembers feeling himself, long ago.)
Then, they close the book, agreeing to work
on it some more later.
I have tried this exact method
with utter failure.
Perhaps the "magic" is the
"Big Brother" ingredient ??And what do you know ...

Cherub 5 is progressing ...

inch by inch,

word by word ...

page by page.



Cherub 1 is genuinely enjoying a bit of
special time with his youngest sister.
And Cherub 5 is benefitting from the
wisdom and experience of her oldest brother,
who has almost a stronger personality than she ...
so much so that they generally avoid one another.
What is even harder to believe is that these
"help sessions" were completely Cherub 1's idea !!
He has read about pandas, elephants,
ballerinas, Frog & Toad,
Little Bear, and other
"very-youth-geared" characters.
(Although, Little Bear was HIS favorite, longggg ago.)
He has listened to story books, fairy tales,
"girly" books, and magazine articles.
He has succeeded in helping Cherub 5 read them all,
usually with a smile.
He has even given some PRAISE ....
but don't tell him I overheard it. (HA !)
Awwww - Cherub 1 is growing up !
And Cherub 5's "fears" and "frustrations"
are rapidly disappearing.
Isn't homeschooling grand ?!?!


Kimi said...

Ah... homeschooling at its finest!

Anonymous said...

Yes, homeschooling is absolutely the grandest!!. I LOVE that story. How very PRECIOUS.


5buntings said...

Thanks for sharing that sweet story! We have some struggling readers here and it's so encouraging to read success stories.

Lisa said...

I knew there were good reasons I love that boy!!

MommaofMany said...

Oh, I have tears in my eyes! What a great story and a tribute to Cherub1!

christinethecurious said...

And you got pictures!

The Ties that Bind Us said...

That's beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. That would NEVER happen in school, these kids wouldn't even see each other all day. It's the whole reason that we homeschool, isn't it? For these moments...