It has seemed reading with boys has always been a challenge. Brian, now 19, finally likes to pick up a book and just read for fun. Nico is getting there - if he has a Pokemon book or something that can really keep his interest. Now Luca, he LOVES books. He is always asking me to read to him. (finally got a reader)
I have to say reading is the one subject I was most worried about teaching when I started homeschooling. With Nico I used Hooked On Phonics Kindergarten - 3rd grade. In 4th grade we started focusing more on reading comprehension and picking a book apart. I know this does not make reading fun but I allow Nico to have free reading every day where he can pick any book he wants to read. It can be a simple chapter book if that is what he wants. He usually picks that because he can finish it in one sitting.
This year in 5th grade we are still working on reading comprehension. As we are turning our learning to be more literature based, he is getting more reading in for each of his subjects. His reading has improved immensley this year. I was really getting concerned about his reading because he would always leave out the little words such as the, and, an, it, our, etc. Often he would read the sentence and it wasn't what was written there at all, BUT had the same meaning. It was like his brain read it ahead and then he paraphrased it. I started looking into dyslexia or some other reading/learning issue, but nothing surfaced or fit. Finally I ran across an article on the right brained learner. I started digging deeper into it and truely believe Nico is a right brained learner. He was also struggling with spelling and I struggled with finding a spelling program I liked. I had Spelling Power, but put it aside in 3rd grade, frustrated because it didn't seem to work. I pulled it back out this year and decided that I should use it correctly! When he misspells a word he gets to pick an activity to do that will help him remember how to spell it. So far, so good! I also notice that in his daily writings his spelling has improved too.
This week we started reading the book "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli. We are loving it!!!! Scholastic has a mini lesson on it with comprehension and questions on it, making it more fun for me to wait and read it with him. Friday he actually read a whole chapter out loud to me (without me sitting next to him correcting him) and did a great job. The book is really holding his interest because in the past he would never volunteer to read a whole chapter at once outloud.
My goal in reading this year is not just reading comprehension, but to start reading some of the classics. I have the Wind in the Willow, Desperaux, Trumpet of the Swan, and others lined up as a few of the readings. If I can find a movie to go with the reading then we watch the movie after we finish the book as a special treat. Next year we are going to focus on Mark Twain's works with reading and activities. We also live only an hour from Hannibal, MO so will plan another field trip there.
Luca is learning his letters this year. A friend introduced me to Headsprout. It is a reading program online. I went ahead and signed Luca up for it even though he is 4. He made it through the first 5 lessons and is working on reading the first book. I think it is a bit advanced for him, but he asks every day to do a lesson and does not like to have to redo one! We will continue working with this, but I am also going to start Hooked on Phonics K with just the CD and singing the sounds the letters make. We will continue with learning how to write the letters as well. We are using Handwriting Without Tears for writing.
We also started focusing on letters this week starting with the vowels and their sounds. This week was letter A for apple and acorn. We collected acorns from the yard and he filled his letter A with them. Each time he glued an acorn on, he had to say "A". He does know the lower case 'a' because it is in his name. With just small workings with Luca he will master his studies fine this year. He does like to do his lessons and cooperates.
I am a big reader and have a huge library of books. I hope with Luca being my last little one, that the books on the shelves will finally get read by someone.