accomplishments · OBSERVATIONS · reading · slice of life

Glimmer of Hope

Isabelle's reading tutor worked with her on Friday morning. Saturday got away from us and we didn't read together. (i.e., She was read to, but she didn't practice reading aloud.) Yesterday morning, I knew I had a battle ahead since the day after her reading tutor comes is always the trickiest practice day (since we have a new lesson to review). With every subsequent day, the Orton-Gillingham practice pages get easier. However, the day after is always — always — a challenge.

I poured myself extra coffee at breakfast. Once the bottom of the cup was in sight, I asked Isabelle, who was playing in the next room, "Do you want to read now or five minutes from now?"

"Five minutes from now!" she called back.

Of course.

I finished the last few ounces of coffee, knowing I would need as much energy as possible to get through our session. Not only were the Orton-Gillingham practice pages new, we were also starting a new Elephant & Piggie book.

When the five minute timer rang on my iPhone, I pushed myself back from the kitchen table, inhaled deeply, and called to Isabelle, "it's time to read together!"

As we settled in on the couch beside each other, I asked myself some questions:

* What if I didn't harp on her about keeping her tracker finger straight and underneath every single word?
* What if Iowered my voice every time she raised her voice in frustration?
* What if I hugged her and kissed her cheeks every time she thrashed her legs when the words tricked her?
* What if I didn't mention she was making reading take a long time by complaining?

I tried all of those things yesterday. I praised her as much as I always did, but gave her extra attention, in the form of love, every time she got frustrated with something in the binder. (She is practicing voiced th words this week — and it's HARD for her to say and read —
so there was lots of frustration!)

After five minutes of her usual antics, the amount of frustrated outbursts decreased. I think Isabelle had no idea of what to make of her mommy who was approaching the reading session as less of a teacher and more of, dare I say it, a loving mother.

By the time we finished the Orton-Gillingham practice pages, we decided to take a break before starting Let's Go for a Drive! Once we started the book, there were almost no complaints (except for one time when she got annoyed because I insisted she use her tracker finger on the page to help her reread accurately after two miscues of the word "the.")!

Yesterday was a small reading victory. Tomorrow might not go as well as yesterday went. But when your child struggles with reading, you'll take whatever glimmers you can get.


15 thoughts on “Glimmer of Hope

  1. I can feel the love of a mother in your words! I imagine Isabelle as an adult recounting these same moments and remembering fondly the times she read with her mom! Glimmers of hope, indeed.

  2. You’ve described so well that tension between “teacher” and “parent” voice that we teacher parents feel! So happy for your positive glimmer of hope!

  3. I’m a “later in life” teacher and often wonder how my parenting would have been different if I’d been a teacher first. I really enjoyed reading your post and sharing your thoughts as you balanced those two sides. Love and persistence…sounds like a winning combination for both of you!

  4. It’s tough navigating being a mom and wanting your child to attain a prescribed goal. I love how you wisely set into play the importance of touch. The /th/ sound with all its variants is difficult and OG can be very tedious if not accomplished with quickness and brevity.

    One antidote I found that seems to work sometimes as an antidote to tedious reading is dramatic reading. Somehow the the text reset as a play lightens the task. Good luck. Your love for I. Comes through:)

  5. Thanks for sharing this snapshot into a moment with your daughter. As a fellow parent, I know how hard it can be to find that balance of “supportive teacher vs. loving mom.” Although I know it can be quite difficult (at least for me), you make it seem easy.

  6. Isn’t it amazing how the teacher in us want our children to improve. This reminds me that I need to disguise my tone when speaking with my adult children. Thanks, Stacey.

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