Friday, June 15, 2012

Unschooling Tools: For Reading

books books books

There are books everywhere in our house, even piled on the changing table.


There are empty books for writing. Josh used to fill pages and pages with these writing squiggles.

 books books books

The majority of our picture books fill this small shelf.


What started with pages of writing squiggles, eventually became pages of letters and numbers.

 books books books

Our book basket is in our main living space and has current favorite reads and library books in it.


Then came real words here and there, copied from the story he asked me to write out for him. Though, looking at the photo now I see at least a couple of words (water and down) that don't appear on my side. I am guessing that he asked me to spell those out for him, but I honestly can't remember how it all happened (this sample is from months and months ago, maybe close to a year--maybe I need to start dating these things!).

 books books books

Yes, piles and piles of books in our too crowded and disorganized bookshelves.


Then there are word games. Sometimes Josh will ask me how to write or spell something. Sometimes he wants to know if certain words rhyme. Words like fox, stop, north, and login were some of the first words he could read on his own. As you can probably guess, soon after login came things like play, cancel, game, monkeyquest, minecraft, etc.--many computer related words.

 books books books

More books stacked up in our windowsill.

 word games

And more words games after we read several of the Ramona books and tried turning the letter "Q" into a cat just like Ramona does in the book. From there we played around with more Q words and other letters we could turn into pictures. The writing is mine but the ideas were all Joshua's.

Watching Josh go through the process of learning to read over the last few years has been fascinating (at least to me!). Even now, I am not sure how much he can really read. I know it all started with him asking questions about words and letters as we read together. Somewhere along the way we learned the ABC song, and I remember him making the shape of different letters out of toy cars or drawing them in the sand at the beach. Eventually, seemingly out of nowhere, he started pointing out whole words to us. "Why does that sign say north?" Or when we were recently in Boston and looking for a place to eat, he pointed out a pizza joint. I looked over expecting to see a sign with a picture of a pizza, but no--it was just a big sign that said, "PIZZA." And there he is, reading.

He doesn't seem to sound words out (for the most part) but he seems to be incredibly good at figuring out what a word is based on the first few letters, or sometimes using the last few letters as well. He seems to learn words whole, not letter by letter and not by phonics. This is his way, and it is working for him.

When someone asks me if he is reading yet, I'm not always sure how to answer. Well, yes, he does read. I'm not sure how much he can actually read because I have a feeling there is a lot he can do and understand that he isn't quite putting out there for us (and that's okay!). But he's not quite ready (it seems) to sit down and read a book on his own. How many words does someone have to know in order to consider it reading? And is being able to sound out unfamiliar words a part of it? What about comprehension? What about memorizing books we've read dozens of times? How can I know that he is reading independantly?

I don't know, and personally I don't think it matters. I do think it is interesting though, and I am glad that he gets to take this journey in his own way, at his own pace. It is amazing to watch, to be there to answer his questions, to cuddle with him and happily read to him as often as he likes with no pressure for him to perform.

It reminds me of this:
I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

Check out Stephanie's post on Unschooling Tools: For Reading.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean and I questioned all those things too...when did Sylvan really grasp reading? Somewhere between 7 1/2-8. But it is different for everyone. I love all the books and notebooks in your photos, looks kind of like here!! We have some things in common. ;)