Teaching Bip to Read

Just when I think I’ve got this parenting thing down, somebody goes and proves me wrong.

This time it was Bip.

I started teaching Big Brother Boo to read when he was about six years old. He wasn’t too enthusiastic about the process, being a young boy who would rather run around like a crazy person. But we both stuck to it and he learned to read. My torture of choice was Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, known as 100EZ in the homeschool circles. I liked it for the cheesy title.

At about the same time, four year old Pumpkin Girl insisted she wanted to learn to read, too.

“Ok, ok,” I told her. “Later. When you’re older.”

But she would not be ignored and one day she told me again,”Teach me to read.” And the she dropped that heavy 100EZ book on my lap. Have you seen that book? Almost 400 pages thick!

When I recovered, I let her learn to read. Next thing I knew, girl friend was reading at a second grade level. I don’t think I finished the book with either child. They just didn’t need to since they were both strong readers.

So the years passed and now  it was time to teach Bip to read. Out came Ol’ Reliable, 100EZ. I can’t say for sure when the tears started. Lesson 1, maybe? With 99 more lessons looming ahead of us. From day to day, Bip couldn’t seem to remember which sounds the letters make. Ten lessons into it, we quit.

He’s just not ready, I told myself. Boys are often late readers. Yeah, that’s it.

Several months later, we started all over again. It was only slighter easier. Day after day we trudged on, often repeating lessons. Bip was in serious danger of learning to hate reading. I finally shelved 100EZ permanently. I got out some Catholic readers, circa 1950. Bip struggled some, but got through them. We got out the Bob Books, too and he really liked those. Next in line were the Sonlight readers. Then I found a Dick and Jane anthology and Bip sat down and read story after story aloud. He was reading!

Over this past summer we all caught Bip reading various things. Labels, signs, that kind of thing.

“I thought you said you can’t read,” we’d say.
“I can’t,” he’d reply.

Until one day I turned the question around and said, “You can read, can’t you?”
” Yes,” he admitted. Aha!

So now Bip is reading. He is still working his way through the Dick and Jane book. He really enjoys those, as well as the Catholic readers which are very similar in content and illustrations. He reads more and more outside of the context of school.

I really don’t know how it happened or where I go next with him. I like a well laid out plan, 100 easy lessons all bound in one book. I do have a stack of readers that I’ll just let him work through and I’ll teach him phonics rules as they come up. Bip’s not the only one learning here. I’m being challenged by him in many unexpected ways.

But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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One Comment

  • You’re right – your anti-spam is really easy to navigate! Thanks for chiming in on the topic. It is funny how different kids learn to read. My kids learned in spanish first (in an immersion program) and one picked up English on the way. The other needed lots of help to make the switch.

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