As much as I love to read, I could not believe that one of my kids would not only shy away from reading, but would downright loathe the experience. I tried every genre of books, and asked for recommendations from other homeschoolers. Nothing helped. I received the same response: “I hate to read”. This did not mean that he did not enjoy stories. He simply did not enjoy reading itself.
So, I thought again and again about what I could do to make my son want to read. I prayed for wisdom and guidance. And then I received an invitation to review a phonics program. I almost made the mistake of turning down the opportunity, simply because my kids are a tad older and can already read. But then I realized that I had just received my answer. My kids can read, but maybe one cannot read well. What if all this time, I had been pushing him to read, when all the while the reason that he didn’t want to is that he found the process difficult, and felt defeated when he couldn’t do it well? This possibility hit me hard.
Without further hesitation, I responded with a definite “yes” to reviewing the product. I then sat my son down and talked to him about his reading. I was expecting the typical pre-teen shrug-off, but instead received a very detailed explanation of how he struggled with reading, and how he felt embarrassed and discouraged by his lack of speed and ability. Though he did not say so, I am sure that his younger brother’s proficiency in reading makes him feel inferior as well. My heart broke for him.
Now we are going through this curriculum, and through the process of retraining his brain in regards to phonics. Starting at this level is not only rebuilding his skills, but is helping him gain confidence in his abilities. I know this will not be a quick fix for him, and I am not expecting that he will necessarily be the devourer of books that I am, but I do think it will make the process of reading less difficult. And who knows, perhaps once the process is easier, he will be able to find joy in the story, rather than the difficulty of the words.
I pray to be more mindful of my children’s struggles. I know that kids are resistant to schoolwork at times. But persistent resistance could indicate another deeper issue, as was the case of my son. I am thankful that my eyes were opened, and that we are now able to focus on solutions.