Why am I Writing this Blog?

I am very concerned about the growing level of illiteracy among our children. This blog is for parents who are homeschooling, parents whose children are falling behind at school and they don't know how to help them, teachers who would like to bounce ideas off an experienced teacher or get ideas to help student with problems. I will do everything in my power to help anyone in the areas of reading and writing.

In this blog I'll be using the original English spelling forms, so please make allowances if you're American or have been taught the American spelling form.

Please be understanding about the advertisements on the blog. It gives me the opportunity to earn a little to add to my pension.

Related links for teaching training, lesson plans and worksheets:

Fantastic Free Video series on how to teach handwriting:
by handwriting expert Nan Jay Barchowsky
by handwriting teacher Matt Nisjak

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: http://www.handwritingebooks.com/
101 sheets of lower case and 101 of upper case letters, plus a bonus book on numbers and another on words for $5.95 for the lot - A great bargain.

Information on Education and Homeschooling
EducationBug: Education Directory - articles, directory, newsletter and profiles on schools

Free Worksheets:
Eastside Literacy
First - Schools

Lined Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting For Kids

Making Handwriting Sheets:
Handwriting Worksheets
Ed Helper

Videos About Teaching Handwriting:
Teachers TV

Free Lessons and Ideas:
The Electric Company
First 55 Come Alive
Literacy, Families and Learning
ESL Partyland

Ed Helper - Spelling
Ed Helper - Reading Comprehension
Ed Helper - Vocabulary
First - School
Sites for Teachers
Sites for Parents
Clipart for Worksheets
The Teacher's Corner
Teaching Made Easier
School Express

Membership Sites:
Ed Helper
Reading A-Z
ELSIE: Reading 0-6

Inexpensive Handwriting Books
Staidens Homeschooling

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reply to Email from a Reader about Book Phobia

I have the reader's permission to answer her question on my blog, as it may help others.

Her child had trouble reading in the first three years of his schooling and came to dread any time a book was put in front of him. He felt that it was just another opportunity to show his peers how 'dumb' he was. He began to refuse to even try to read a book.

He has now developed the concept of sounding and can read words and even sentences, but he still cannot read a book. She has chosen a book, put the words on flashcards and he can read them. She has put the words onto pieces of paper exactly as they are in the book and he's drawn the pictures to go with them and read them quite easily. However, when she puts the identical story in front of him as a book, he becomes very stressed. He looks at the pages but can't seem to read them.

This is not a common problem but I've encountered it several times in my years of teaching. Occasionally a student will develop a book phobia. Books have become associated with failure, stress, embarrassment and fear. He has gone to school each day with his stomach tied in knots, dreading going to class because he will fail yet again in front of his classmates. The teacher may become angry with him. Maybe a few children will victimise him in the playground, calling him names and making his failure even more public.

It's perfectly understandable that the anxiety caused by this type of experience will continue, even after the child can actually read. After all, one experience of being confined can result in claustrophobia, or trauma in the outdoors can result in agoraphobia later on.

The method I've used to overcome this is an easy one. Take a book with only one or two lines of print on each page. Then, very lightly, in pencil, draw a simple picture over each noun (a noun is the name of a person, place or thing). Show the student what you've done and explain that it won't be hard to read this book because the pictures will show him what most of the words are.

Read the book through with him and if he can't read any of the words that don't have a picture above them, discuss with him what symbol you can draw above it to help him. For example, above the word 'in' you could draw a 'U' with a small circle inside it and you could turn the 'U' upside down and put the circle on top of it for the word 'on'. For the word 'and' you could use '+'.

When you've drawn all the pictures that he needs, ask him to read it. If he's still worried about it, read it through with him as many times as he wants you to. Tell him that if he gets stuck, you'll help him. The aim is to have him relaxed about reading it.

Do this to six or seven books that have the same theme and so repeat many of the same words. As he becomes used to a certain book, ask him to choose a word he knows, so that you can erase the picture above it. If he's hesitant to do this, leave it till the next day and ask him again. He needs to be confident enough to let you do it. Remember that the aim is to make him comfortable with books. He can already read, so you don't need to rush this. It will take as long as it takes. Letting him set the pace, gradually erase the pictures, so that eventually only the words are left.

By the time you've done this with all the books you've chosen, he will probably be confident enough to carry on by himself. If he's not, get another selection of books. It can be on another theme. Do the same thing with the new books. This is a phobia. Be patient. It may take time to overcome, but this method has worked every time I've used it.

The method of drawing simple pictures above harder words in a book, can also be used with children who are just beginning to read. It enables them to read books that are more difficult and increases their confidence. Again, as they learn the words, erase the pictures.

No comments: