Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Reading and Dating our children!

Back in early May, as school for the year was winding down, I asked each of our boys to sit with me to read. With the hectic pace of this past Spring, I had not been as diligent in getting the boys to work on their reading each day. 

Well, to say that I was disappointed in their progress would have been understating things a bit. Despite the fact that each had "done well" that year in school, there was very little progress in their reading.

So was born, 
"Mama's Summer Reading Boot Camp!"

Anyone who's adopted Internationally a child whose native language was anything other than English knows that reading mastery is no small task. There are challenges that linger and even years after coming home, reading can still be a major hurdle. 
I knew that it was going to take intense daily effort to see any lasting progress.

I also knew all too well that I would have 4 completely unwilling participants.

So, Tom and I consulted and decided that every morning before I went to work, I would sit the boys down and do a reading lesson. We went backward quite a ways from where we thought they had come, but it was worth it. 

So, back to the beginning of the 2nd grade curriculum we went.

So, it began. Every morning, I'd get out the white board, choose a few phonics rules or sound blends to cover and we would review them together and each boy would then spend at least 30 minutes each day working their way through the workbook.

Our Hooked on Phonics curriculum is broken up into two main units for 2nd grade.

Blue level and Green Level

Occasionally, someone would have a "reading buddy" to lounge around with!

Upon successful completion of each level, the boys earned a "date night" with either Mom or Dad. Not only did that serve as a small motivator, but it also allowed us the chance to spend some one on one time with each of our boys doing something that they liked. 

We read at the dining room table, we read in the office, we read in the cars, we read everywhere we could. 

Slowly but surely, progress was made. Before too long, each boy successfully completed a reading unit and had their first "date night". 

Cooper and Colin earned one at the same time, so Tom took Cooper to the movies and I went with Colin. But, beforehand, we treated each of the boys to a little frozen yogurt.

Another fun night was my date with Cooper and Tommy to the movies. 
We met Dad for an early dinner that evening before he went off to teach at the college and treated the kids to burgers at Steak & Shake.

After a yummy dinner, the two youngest boys and I went to see Earth to Echo.

as you can see, we had the place all to ourselves! I guess most folks don't go to 5PM movies on weeknights. 

We had a really fun night together without all those pesky "big boys". 

My most recent "date" was with my eldest son, Colin. My most reluctant "student". 
I will be forever baffled by how willing this child is to work his fingers to the bone, literally, to help someone in need, but how aggressively he fights when it comes to learning English.
He is a smart kid, but English is just hard, especially for someone who only started learning it at age 14.

This date night was dinner out, at his request.

We dined at Brixx Oven Baked Pizza.

Followed by a shake at Sonic.
Needless to say, neither of these food groups are common at our house lately, so these are rare treats for our boys!

As we embark on a new school year this week, I am pleased with the new-found progress that each of our boys has made this summer with their reading and hope that it will help them as they begin their 11th, 9th, 6th and 5th grade school years! 

Now that all 4 have finished the 2nd grade level, they have moved on to the Master Reader curriculum and will continue to work on this step by step in addition to their assigned school work. 

Hopefully, their ESL exams this year will show a substantial improvement.

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