Joy. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of teaching reading. Especially to struggling readers. Over the years, many parents have come to me, asking for help for their child who could not read. They have tried everything. They asked the school for resources and extra help found they had driven down a dead-end road.
Then someone passes my name or my card on to them. They call me and set up an appointment. We meet. The child colors while we talk. We set up a time for assessment. Thus is the beginning of the end of the parents’ heartbreak, of a child who has not learned to read by second or third grade.
I am a Reading Specialist. Many people ask if I am a tutor. No, I am not. I pour my heart and soul into designing lessons to help struggling readers learn to read. Patience is the number one essential ingredient to teach struggling readers. I have to have patience in looking for the answers, patience in finding the key to each child, what motivates them, interests them and removes the stumbling blocks in their way. I also need to have patience a child who does not remember something that I taught him or her last week.
I have been blessed with a gift in language learning. I love language. I can read print easily and I love to cuddle up with a book on a rainy day, a long train ride, or on the beach. I see someone reading a paperback, and I am eager to ask them what is the title or if it is good.
Some children do not have that reaction. I have seen children have that reaction. I have seen children through books down, when given them.
One thing that does help me relate to my students in my love of movement. I am happiest when I am moving. And other than reading a book that engulfs me, I cannot sit still long. I get bored easily.
So I look for the key to unlocking the reader hidden deep inside of them. I make cook books, saving the child’s favorite recipes and we make them together. We play yoga and we take breaks for movement games.
Patience, determination, quality lessons and more patience and love. I stick by the child and I am there for him or her every lesson, with some quality lesson and fun activities to re-inforce the skills they are learning.
And when the struggling reader finally finds joy in reading, a smile floods across his or her face. My patience, determination, quality lesson planning, and quality writing is rewarded. Another struggling readers joins the readers club!
My life has purpose, knowing that I have changed the life of a struggling reader. Now they can join their peers in acting out a readers’ theater script. They can look forward to middle school or high school and learning new academic topics. The world is open to them, with greater options for work or college. What a difference reading skills can have in a child’s life!