Patience, patience

One of the hardest things I will probably ever do is teach the kids how to read.

Fortunately (for me), Tad’s not ready for that yet – though he can recognize all the letters of the alphabet with about 95% accuracy (sometimes he doesn’t pay attention between O and Q, for example, but that’s pretty normal), and, of course, he spends lots of time with his head in a book.

Yesterday, we went to Costco and hit the bookshelves. Christmas is coming, and the book selection for kids is quite good at the moment. Tad picked this Disney Storybook, and then promptly sat in the cart for the rest of our time there – somewhere around 45 minutes – “reading” happily.

Ane picked a collection of Hello Kitty stories in a specialty-probably-Costco-only-edition of Level 1 and Level 2 stories (including this one in the Level 1 section). This was a good choice, because she really needs to work on her reading skills.

It is also probably the most aggravating and frustrating thing that I do with her. And it’s completely my fault that it’s aggravating and frustrating.

I was never taught to read. I have zero recollection of learning how to read. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to read. It’s almost as if the ability to do so was hardwired into my brain. Sure, there were words that I didn’t recognize and had to learn to pronounce, but I never, ever, struggled with learning to read.

Instead, I am struggling with teaching my daughter how to read. Because every time she looks at me with the expression that says, “Will you please just tell me what that says instead of making me sound it out?”, I just want to beat myself in the head with the book I’m holding.

Mrs. V., her kindergarten teacher, is introducing the concept in class of “snap words” – meaning short words that the kids will be able to recognize and read in a snap. Examples of these types of words that they have already learned are ones like “I”, “see”, “can”, and “like”.

Ane’s biggest problem is the word “the”. And it’s a word you run into often. Maybe even once a page. But she has to labor over it every single time, even if she just read it on the page before. For some reason, “the” just slips out of her head the second after she reads it.

And it gets my goat every single time.

I told Ane that we’re simply going to have to make our own list of “snap words” – words that we keep running into in the stories that we read that she’s got to learn.

The other thing she has learned in school is how to read pictures to help her tell the story – which at this level is great, because it does help with putting words in context. But on the other hand, she’s guessing a lot… which means that she’s not really learning what the word looks like or how to read it.

And maybe I’m just overthinking this and need to take deep breaths and have more patience with this whole process.

The thudding sound you hear is my head against the desk.

After last night’s reading session, I said this all to the Webmaster – who has heard this before. We’ve discussed what a freak of nature I am – yes, I recognize that I am the abnormal one in this scenario, and that Ane herself is perfectly normal and learning to read in a perfectly normal way – more than once, given that we’ve been married for over nine years and known each other for over fifteen.

The Webmaster heard me out patiently, then said, “If you can keep Tad out of the way, then I can work on reading with Ane in the evenings.”

Bless him. Reading did not come easily to the Webmaster as a child, and he really had to work at it – though he loves to read now. It gives him a great deal more empathy and patience than I apparently possess at the moment.

So I think we have a new arrangement. I will entertain/occupy Tad in order to give Ane reading/learning time with the Webmaster to work on some “snap words” that we pick, and stories that she can work on reading.

And in the meantime, I will work on my own inner mommy monster. It is amazing sometimes that I can be so understanding and patient with Tad, who is the “learning disabled” child, and so frustrated with Ane, the “normal” one. I know why I react like that… but sometimes I find it strange.


Oh, and no Costco trip is complete without a trip down the toy aisles… and this close to Christmas, the toy aisles are well-stocked. And Tad found this… and you can imagine the cries of joy that followed.


3 Responses to “Patience, patience”

  1. Ressis
    October 9th, 2009 08:39

    Little Cousin’s teacher recommended a DVD by Preschool Prep Company called “Meet the Sight Words.” “Sight words” are what this company calls “snap words.” Little Cousin really loves it and is already recognizing the words “it,” “play,” “have,” and a few more (which has really amazed me). This DVD also has “the” on it. There are three DVDs for sight words; we only have the first DVD but will probably get more. This company also makes DVDs for colors, shapes, letters, and numbers.

  2. Cousin Shelley
    October 9th, 2009 14:15

    Did you say Christmas?? AAAHHHH…..

  3. Oddball
    October 10th, 2009 09:52

    In reference to the DVD mentioned by Ressis, I will gladly make a copy of it and mail it to you should you be interested.