24 February 2011

organic reading


If you follow along my rambling with any regularity, then you know that I have this ongoing obsession  healthy concern about teaching Young One to read in English. It's something I think about, a lot. I've asked friend after friend for advice, paying close attention to the answers of those in similar situations as us, but also listening closely to American elementary school teachers.


Of course, of course of course of course, I've always had a "feeling" of the approach that I wanted to take, but I still felt an intense need to survey others.  Was I looking for validation? Maybe. Probably. Likely. Undoubtedly.  I realize that now.  It wasn't until I heard of a success story from a colleague early this school year, a success story using similar methods I had in mind, that I was at ease with my choice. It's also when I stopped asking others and started focusing a bit more on making it happen.

reading one

We are beginning to see the fruits of this labor around here, with Little Miss Sunshine choosing to work her way through beginning reader books in English. It's rough, it's choppy, it's filled with frustrated pauses and requests for clarification . . . it's just as it should be, with her eager to carry on. Observing a child learning to read is a joyous thing -- maybe one of the best things in life. The empowerment is intense.

(Not to mention that Richard and I are feeling a bit proud of our accomplishment . . . I mean, we've collectively taught lots of kids many things, but being responsible for teaching our only one to read by doing what "feels right". . . well, that give us all sorts of good feelings inside. Hey, we do know what we are doing afterall.)

She's got a long way to go, but we are pleased with the recent boost in confidence she's feeling. She is so incredibly pleased with herself, prouder than I've ever seen her.  The reading in Italian? Piece of cake. Top of the class. (For today.) Ironically, she doesn't share the same sense of pride about that -- even though she is much better in Italian.


Our approach is a multifaceted one based largely on cues from the child, one that has, in many ways, developed organically in our family.  I'll be happy to share my philosophy some time with you.


  1. would love to hear about your philosophy on this one as I appreciate all the insights about teaching/education/language, etc, you share on your blog!

  2. What's your philosophy? I'm happy that your labor there is giving some fruits. I spent the evening with my 12 yr old working on the past tense of irregular (English) verbs, trying to make him understand (again) that because he can speak the language, it doesn't follow that he can read or write it. I'm not sure he took "sayed and drinked" as good evidence of my argument. Ciao!

  3. Glad it is going so well. I think it is choppy with all beginner readers, so no worries.