Teaching sequential grade levels has been a great eye opener for me. With this I am able to see growth and understand things I would never have learned by teaching the same grade level year after year. This is a great benefit to being a homeschool mom!
One phenomenon I find interesting is the reading leap that takes place. Kids learn how to read, then move onto reading simple books, then they can read small chapter books, but soon enough they find themselves standing at a chasm, a leap from simple books to more difficult books. In order to continue the reading climb, this chasm must be overcome. When they eventually make the leap a love for reading swells up inside of them. This love can only develop from within.
Standing before this chasm is a hard place to be… Jozlin hit this point a few years ago, I remember letting her read whatever she wanted in hopes she would overcome the gap. Honestly, I thought she was pretending to read. Sometimes I think she was truly pretending, but then one day I realized “holy cow this girl can really read hard books!” Next thing I know she took off in reading and read all 8 of the Harry Potter Books with excellent comprehension. (The 8th book is The Cursed Child written in play form!)
Jozlin’s vocabulary sky rocketed these last 6 months as she has dove into older literature, written in the early 1900’s, full of incredible wholesome writing and vocabulary. I LOVE republished books. I have been working to create a small library of wholesome republished novels for my children to read. (I have turned into the crazy book lady.)
About 6 months ago we found ourselves at this chasm with Zaylee. She could read the simple chapter books with ease and was ready for more difficult books. However she needed some motivation.
At the beginning of the summer, my good friend told me about her “Mom Store”. She had an incredible system put in place to make reading time fun and rewarding for her children!
I created a plan. Our own Mom Store. The end goal is not only to encourage reading but also to promote more writing! After testing out free book report pdfs on Pinterest I created my own Book Review papers to encourage the writing practice each of my daughters need at this time. The last question on the book review requires them to dig deep: “What have you learned from this book?” This is my favorite part!
What is in our “Mom Store”? Well my girls love Pokemon cards right now. So I bought a bulk pack of cards and full size candy bars. With no further adieu this is how our Mom Store works:
Read 1 book + give an oral report = 5 random cards + 1 Candy Bar
Read 1 book + write & present a book review = pick 10 cards of your choice + 1 Candy Bar
To help Zaylee overcome her frustration with getting into a book, I started reading a book with her. Over a couple of days, we read a few chapters back and forth. Next thing I know, Zaylee was off reading the book on her own. I keep this tool in my back pocket. If a child is reluctant to begin a book read with them.
We did discussed how the first few chapters introduce the characters and the story, then the story is fun to read. After this discussion she has had no problem starting books on her own.
At first Zaylee was reading small books. In the time Jozlin could read one of her larger books Zaylee would finish two. They agreed the 2 smaller books should get the same reward as the 1 larger book. We have played this by ear. Currently they are finishing up books well above the reading level I would pick for them. They have taken the same amount of time in completing these books, so each will receive 10 cards + 1 Candy Bar when they finish the book review. (This is definitely an adjust as you go Mom Store, but it is working great for us!)
P.S. I am find these girls write the book review even if the writing brings up frustration and sometimes tears. They are unwilling to settle for the smaller reward. I LOVE THIS! What a great lesson on perseverance!
If you find yourself at this chasm with your kiddo… Take heart! Your child will find that love! Keep wholesome books on your shelf and in your hands. Read to your children. Read a chapter or two with them until they are hooked by the plot. A love of reading will come! Life is a journey to enjoy. Soak it in… before you know this leg of the journey will be done!
I have no doubt I’m going to miss this.