Well, I did the classic thing that homeschool mommies are always warned about it. You'd think I'd know better, but I fell into the trap. I began to panic about the fact that my daughter didn't love to read and wasn't reading well enough. She was in the beginning of second grade and still chose step 1 reading books for free reading time. She would rather take the easy route than try something and fail so she always chose the books she knew she could read easily. Not only that, but she didn't like to read. I wasn't sure how that even happened. I mean I vaguely remember giving birth to this child so I knew she had to have at least half my DNA. I can easily read a book a day (if those annoying things like housekeeping, cooking and laundry don't interfere), so if the math is right she should at least want to read half a book a day, right?
But, that was far from the case and I was worried. It's hard sometimes being the teacher and the mommy because you take the full blame when something doesn't seem to be clicking. After a panicked e-mail to the homeschool mommies I admire who have older daughters, they all told me what I knew down deep inside (all kids learn at different rates, just keep reading to her and pushing her, the beauty of homeschooling is that they can learn when they are ready, etc...). They also included personal anecdotes about their daughters not liking reading at Ashton's age. Those were girls who now read voraciously, and who I usually talk books with when I see them. That renewed my hope and settled my panic.
I followed their advice and just encouraged my daughter where she was (although I did pack up all the easy, easy readers to take away that choice :). Then just about 2 months later she woke up and informed me that she had stayed up late reading a Junie B. Jones book and finished half of it! She asked if she could keep reading and finish it all. We quickly squeezed in some math then I let her read away. She finished it in the early afternoon. I told her she had read an entire chapter book in 19 hours- including the 9 hours she was asleep! We all celebrated like mad and made a giant, humongous, told everyone we know deal out of it.
And just like that, MY daughter became a reader:
And I became a little bit wiser mommy, very grateful for the gift of far wiser friends.