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Volume 1 #9 May
Break out the
cigars! We just had a baby. Well, in a manner of speaking.
The new baby is the junior version of RfS/EL, modified
for use with second, third and fourth graders. The print
is a little larger, the words and sentences are geared
to younger children, but the phonics presentation and,
of course, EL are the same.
The nice thing
about teaching little kids is that you can get them up
to speed in one year, or occasionally two. If you start
to teach a ninth grader who is
reading at about fifth grade level, you have a five year gap to make up, so
it takes at least two, and often three years of teaching
to do it. On the other
hand, a number of my eight and nine year old kids have made the honor roll
in middle school and gone on to graduate from high school
with honors without help
beyond their one year of tutoring in elementary school. This saves the school
system a tidy sum of money, even if RfS pupils are taught two at a time instead
of six or eight in a resource room. And of course it avoids years of misery
and frustration for the student. So the sooner a child
can read the better.
It is terrible
to go through life in this world associating dread with
the printed word. There is another delightful way to disassociate
nausea with the
a book. When my sister and I were little girls, the high point of the day
came after supper when Daddy would sit down on the couch
with one small child on
each side of him, light up a cigar, and read to us.This went on long after
read perfectly well, ourselves. We went through all the Grimm’s Fairy
Tales, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, The Arabian Nights, and everything else
think of. Daddy loved to ham it up and was a wonderful story teller. I will
always remember those cozy evenings filled with fabulous stories.
But there was
something else that lingered with me after I grew up and
started having children. During the first three months
of each pregnancy, although
I was a smoker, I couldn’t bear the smell of cigarettes. But the
smell of freshly lit cigar never bothered me at all!
So break out
the cigars, metaphorically speaking, and get your little
students reading as fast as you can. And the in the meantime,
read, read, read.
I have been giving out all the teaching tips so far, and I always strongly
recommend that if possible get a tutor to teach your kid, because it is so
difficult for parents to be casual and comfortable with a failing child. On
the other hand, I get e-mails from an occasional mom who seems to be able to
make it work. Maybe it is time for you to send the tips to me if you have succeeded
in teaching your own kid without driving both of you crazy. How do you do it?
The world wants to know. I will pass on any that seem helpful.