You may remember that Dr. Beechick has written a book, How to Teach Your Child Successfully, which spends alot of time on reading. To be honest, when reading that portion of the book, my eyes glazed over a bit. However, in this chapter of A Biblical Home Education, for whatever reason, not only did I not glaze over, I was literally lapping up all the information and insight she was offering.
She begins by giving us a bit of an overview on how reading has been taught over the years and the development of the phonics method. It is encouraging to read her insight regarding the individual approach needed for each child and that “there is no need to stick with one formula through book after workbook after book. The real formula is not in the books. It is each child’s unique growth. Instead of measuring progress artificially by pages covered in a book, we can relax from that daily frustration. Learning is not that linear. Months down the road or a semester down the road we will see how the children’s reading has grown in many directions–like tree branches rather than in a single line.”
For today’s post on this chapter…..I think the best way to give you an overview of Dr. Beechick’s insight into the topic of reading skills, is to list some quotes for you. As for my own input into what she says, let’s just say….I couldn’t agree more. This is the approach I used with all four of our boys even those with dyslexia and tracking issues and now that three are grown, they have all developed into life long learners and readers…so for me, the proof was in the pudding. However, there were times when I “fell off the wagon” so to speak and ventured into other approaches. I supposed I did it out of fear or concern about getting the type of result that I wanted, or maybe the type of result I was being told I wanted. However, I always came back to this approach and am a firm believer in it. So, let’s get started in this chapter: Reading Skills.
After her introduction and overview of methods of teaching reading, she then dives into the following topics.
“So homeschoolers need not waste time pressuring children to start too early or drilling them on too many phonics details. It works better to read from children’s books and associate phonics with the stories.”
“The power and efficiency of tutoring is that the parent follows the child’s ability and interest rather than following a curriculum plan with its formula for learning skills in a certain order. When teaching phonics in context like this, there i no need for drill and kill.”
“Meaning is uppermost. That is what reading is all about.”
“Day-by-day records of completed workbook pages are an artificial measure of progress.”
Consonant and Vowels
Purpose for Reading
“Once children can read little storybooks, reading can disappear as a separate subject. It is now a skill to use, not a subject to learn. Use it for enjoyment alot at first. Use it for learning history and other subjects, as children grow older. Use it for character building by reading about heroes and other good role models. Use it for building Christian life attitudes.”
“Reading for pleasure and reading for knowledge are almost the same think as you see when your children enjoy biographies and other non-fiction.”
“Learn science vocabulary from the science book, place names from the geography book, Bible vocabulary from the Bible, and so on. That is more efficient than isolating the skills in a separate class and then trying to transfer them to where they are needed. Think of reading as a skill to use everywhere.”
“…you do not need the schoolish book report for every book. But it is a good idea to follow up on some books in some ways.”
She then goes on to list ways to follow up on your child’s reading including: listing and categorizing, conversing and speaking, and writing. She provides some great examples on how to do this in each of these areas.
Last but not least, Dr. Beechick deals with reading problems that some children deal with including ADD, ADHD and cross dominance.
If you haven’t purchased a copy of this book yet, I would greatly encourage you to do so. It makes for great summer reading and is great preparation for next school year. It is such a natural and refreshing approach to home education. For those of you involved in Artios Academies, I would strongly suggest that you read this book if your child is involved in the Preparatory or in the Academy of Arts and History program. You will see much of what Dr. Beechick talks about throughout this book, employed in the philosophy and methodology of these programs.