Monday, November 16, 2009

life lessons

So I mentioned briefly that Abby is in resource at school for reading. This is something that came up at the end of last year. The plan was to read with Abby over the summer and reassess the situation in Grade 2. So far all concerned feel that what's holding Abby back is Abby. She's great until she gets to a word she doesn't know, then she just stops reading. She has convinced herself that she can't read and that she's the worst in the class. It's more than a little bit worrisome and a tad bit heart breaking.

But the good news is... and there is good news, sometimes you just have to go looking for it.... she loves going to resource and loves the resource teacher. At home, with me, the reading - well - it's a challenge for both of us. I do my best to keep calm, hold on to my patience and make the experience as pleasant as I can. When she gets to the point where she stops I need to push her to continue and she pushes just as hard back. Some nights though, there are bigger lessons to be learned.

Tonight when it came time to read the books she'd brought home from school she was laying in my bed. When I appeared at the door she flung her arm across her eyes.... but I'm tiiiirrrreeedddd!!!

That's fine, I told her. As soon as we're done reading these books you can go to bed.

So we read. And Abby did her best to stall as much as possible and play the "I'm tired" card as often as she could. We got through the three books (She did a great job, a few stumbles, but it was coming out a whole lot easier. I hope it's all beginning to click with her.) and I sent her off to her room to get into jammies, telling her I'd be there to tuck her in as soon as My-Pie was settled in bed.

Do you know what time it is? I asked her when I got back to her.

She didn't.

It's 8 o'clock and your bedtime is 8:30. You see, you were telling me how tired you were hoping to get out of reading your books tonight. I told you when you were done you could go to bed. So you had to read the books any way and now you're in bed a half an hour before bedtime. And you know I'm not going to let you get out of bed now, right?

She nodded.

So what did you learn tonight?

That I just should have read my books and not whined.

Here's hoping she remembers this for tomorrow night.


Goofball said...

haha good move :)

Julie said...

awesome that the reading is coming along so well.

awesome that she understood the consequences. i can't wait until max get to that sort of understanding.

Leah said...


As a momma who was walking in your shoes not too many weeks ago, I can totally sympathize! My Emmy-girl started struggling with reading halfway through last year but she was still testing high enough to not bring up any red flags, but it was troubling to ME. She'd cry, whine, call herself stupid, gave every excuse in the book to try to avoid having to read, etc. Lots of battles between she and I over reading, lots of frustration on her part when she'd make mistakes or got stumped on a word. Insisted her glasses were totally fine, and we weren't due for another eye exam for a year anyway, so I had to believe her, and battled her, bribed her, and did everything else I could think of on my own to get the kid reading. Turns out, at her eye exam last month, her reading glasses were totally wrong, but it happened too gradually for Emily to realize they WEREN'T good (so they tell me). She's now in full-time glasses instead of just for reading, and WOW WOW WOW, what a difference. She LOVES to read, she BEGS to read. Math scores are heading up again, her confidence is up, etc.

anyway, that's my long-winded way of getting to the point of "have you had her eyes checked by a professional?" Emily is considered to have a "lazy eye" even though the eye doesn't actually wander. Her right eye basically does NOTHING for her when she's reading, and the left eye was left to do the work of two eyes and it wasn't workign out too well for us! Her right lense is super thick to strengthen up the right eye and force it to pull some of it's own weight when she reads. I can't stress enough how much of a difference this made RIGHT AWAY. It was an on-going source of frustration for well over a year and suddenly, a complete turn-around

If it does turn out to just be Abby holding herself back, here are some suggestions we had from teachers in our school to help get Emily motivated: trips to the bookstore for her to pick out whatever books she wanted (owning the copies and picking the books out themselves gives more pride and incentive than borrowing from public library). A "reward" chart for every so many minutes that she reads WHINE-FREE, with some sort of prize after a set goal is reached (trip to the ice cream store, etc). Putting HER in charge of younger sibling's bedtime story for awhile stressing how much help mommy and daddy need help (if they feel they're doing an important "job", it's less of a "chore", you know?). Of course, they were complete and utter failures when WE tried since our issue ended up being vision problems over motivation and confidence problems, but maybe they'll be something helpful for Abby. sorry for the LONG comment. I probably should have just emailed you!