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When You and Your Child Want to Give Up Learning to Read
With seven children and homeschooling for eight years, you’d think that I have experienced almost every single problem under the sun.
After successfully teaching my children to read using “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons,” I happily started the fourth child on the same path.
If you know anything about “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” you know that it uses visual cues so that a child can understand when to use the long ‘a’ sound versus the short ‘a’ sound. That is until you reach Lesson 75. Lesson 75 is a turning point in the book for readers.
But Lesson 75 isn’t just about losing visual cues, the text gets considerably smaller and the stories continue to get increasingly longer. And for a child, it can seem like it’s all happening way too fast.
I’ve experienced resistance at Lesson 75 before, but not near the resistance as I did with my fourth child. She just shut down. Convinced she was a lousy reader, she didn’t want to go on.
Apparently, this is not an uncommon issue. I told my sister who uses the program about it and she told me that her pastor’s wife (who is a homeschooling mom of 11) had advice when a child is struggling to finish “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”
What to Do When Your Child is Struggling to Finish Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
When you find yourself at Lesson 75 OR any lesson that’s distressing your child to tears…Go back!
What does that mean? It means skip back to a lesson that feels comfortable for your child.
If I’m passed Lesson 50, I’ll usually go back to Lesson 25. But if we aren’t yet to Lesson 50, I’ll usually start the book all over again.
What? Start at the beginning? Rewind 25 Lessons? But I’ve worked so hard to get finish the book! Why would I want to stop progressing at a good rate?
The Mindset Behind Regression Teaching
When you are struggling to teach your child to read, it’s time to reexamine your goal of teaching reading.
Is your ultimate goal for your child be the first of his peers to read? Surely, not!
The goal of teaching reading is so that your child can:
- Love reading
- Know how to read to gather more information for life
- Build confidence
By pressuring your child to continue learning to read when they are feeling less than sure of their ability will only hinder their progress toward the goal of reading for enjoyment.
Regression teaching helps your child regain self-confidence in their ability to read. If they can read “The cat sat” fairly easy they will be able to see how far they have come from the very beginning of their reading journey! And this can give them the encouragement they need to finish the book.
How Many Times Should I Regress?
How many times should you regress when your child is struggling with “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons“?
As many times as you need to!
We are currently on Round 3 of regressing and now my daughter is flying along without too much trouble or tears.
Remember, it’s not about how fast they learn to read, but rather how much they enjoy the process of reading.
Since reading is the foundation of any successful education, we shouldn’t be in a hurry to finish.
When Regression Becomes a Crutch
There are times when your child will want to go back just because it’s a place of comfort.
Only you can tell what your child needs, or if regression is not the best choice.
Oftentimes, I’ll make my daughter a deal:
One easy story (maybe in lieu of doing the non-story parts at the beginning of each lesson) and then onto to the harder story. (More “deals” I’ve made are listed below).
This way she feels like she’s won a little of the battle.
Other Strategies to Try When You Are Struggling to Finish Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
If you are still struggling to teach reading to your budding homeschooler, you might try a few of the following ideas:
- Splitting up the lessons into two parts: 1. Reviewing letter sounds and individual words and 2. Story
- Introducing smaller reader books like Bob Books alongside 100 Easy Lessons
- Using M&Ms or similar treats to reward each word or sentence read.
- Ignoring the “read again” part of the lessons (aka, when they are required to read the story or list of words a 2nd time).
- Rewarding them by allowing them to color in the picture after the story (if you are opposed to coloring in the book you can make a photocopy of the picture).
- Making actions or songs with each lesson.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Many times our efforts as homeschooling moms aren’t rewarded with “Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to read!” but rather with tears. (Harsh, I know)
But don’t get discouraged with yourself, your child or their progress.
Children often sense our disappointment or discouragement and it directly affects their progress. Yelling or punishing usually pushes a child in the opposite direction if they are earnestly trying their hardest. (Emphasis on the word “their” hardest…because it oftentimes isn’t as hard as we would like to see them work).
While discipline measures are often necessary for reluctant homeschoolers that constantly disregard your instructions, sometimes the actions of homeschoolers can be based on their learning style.
My second oldest learned how to read while balancing on her head.
Yep! Legs in the air (often hitting my head). She’d quickly look at the word and proceed to flip over. If I didn’t realize this was her learning style it could have really been discouraging to me…especially since my other children don’t learn this way. I wouldn’t have understood that my kid was simply occupying her body while her brain was busy at work!
Studies have shown that children who move while learning tend to absorb more readily.
Another Helpful Point About Reading
Like I said before, the text toward the back of the text gets significant smaller…and longer. Small text is hard for little eyes to read.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health performed two tests, one for 2nd graders and one for 5th graders. (Source: The Effect of Font Size ) For 2nd graders, decreasing font size and increasing line length negatively impact their comprehension of the text.
For 5th graders, the decrease in font size actually increased their comprehension.What does that mean for you? It means, if you are teaching a 2nd or 3rd grader, keeping text BIG is helpful. For a 4th and 5th grader, you should be gearing up for smaller font to increase comprehension.
Obviously, font size also depends on the actual child!
Another benefit of homeschooling is that YOU can decide when to transition to a smaller font.
What about your homeschooler? Have you found inventive ways of combatting the Lesson 75 blues?
What has worked as you have taught “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”? Similarly, what HAS NOT worked for you?
Share in the comments.