Saturday, January 29, 2011

Transitioning My 9yo to Reading Her Own School Books

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I'm transitioning my 9yo YR3 daughter to reading her own school books.

She just finished reading Little House on the Prairie on her own and is already 8 chapters into On The Banks of Plum Creek. So she's able to read, reading her schoolbooks though, that's another story.

So far, I wasn't pre-reading the books so she was just given the chapter to read and understandably, she did not like it. She would have to stop her reading multiple times and ask me what a word meant.

So just this past week I decided to start skimming the chapter to define the difficult words for her.

Here are the words I found yesterday which might stumble her in Children of the New Forest, Chapter XV...

...the first 2 pages.

Enough to discourage a Mother working on transitioning her child to reading her own books who is looking at next year with a more difficult YR4 (why else would they have a year 3.5?) and a YR2 and a preschooler and a new baby on the way.

But starting anything new seems that way; more difficult than it really is. And that belief alone makes it more difficult until you diligently plod ahead and by God's grace, eventually get over the hump. I am, I can, I ought, I will - right?!

So I stopped at 2 pages because I was running out of room and didn't want to overwhelm her. I asked her to read each word and defined the words she didn't know and then used them in context of her reading. It took approximately 20 minutes in all.

Not surprisingly, I learned a couple new words myself and also clarified the meaning of a couple words I only had a general idea of - most likely because I learned them in context and not by actually looking them up.

She knew the meaning of 'appeared', 'flint', 'ascertain', 'retreat', 'supplies', 'downright', 'agreeable', 'chinks', 'canvas', and 'obliged' - which was encouraging considering we've never worked on vocabulary aside from my telling her what a word means when she asks for it in our readings.

With that, she read 3 pages - 2 pages more than she read earlier this week. She did ask me to repeat the meaning of a couple of the words I had already defined for her because she didn't remember them. I ended up reading the rest of the chapter to her because it was 10 more pages and I felt we'd done enough for the day and I want to encourage the transition, not kill it in the first week!

My hope is that as we progress, her vocabulary will increase and fewer and fewer words will have to be written out and defined.

I'm also currently looking into copywork, transcription and dictation right now and how I can get focused on improving her spelling. Also how learning cursive works into the mix. I've been less than intentional about it all and am now thinking it's time to get myself in gear.

I'll keep you posted!


  1. Good effort! I still read this book to my Year 3 babes, mostly because I just love the story. But, honestly, before the term was over, the two eldest respectively stole the reigns from me and I'd yet to actually finish the book. Last summer, I decided to read it for myself.

    I look forward to seeing how you use copywork and dictation in your home school. The are both great tools! If I've any time soon, I'll write a post about how I use them in mine.

  2. I like how you had her read the first few pages and then finished up the chapter for her; a nice transitional compromise.

  3. Way to press through and figure out a compromise. :)

  4. love your perseverance.
    a must have for homeschooling mommas!