Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Praise of the Old

So, having worked our way through half of 'The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading' (OPG), my 8 year old was getting bored.   She hated the stories, and reading was becoming very much the chore.
The problem with that, is that I am trying desperately to teach her that she should LOVE to read.  How can I teach that if the very book I am teaching her to read with doesn't help?

For a little while I had tried "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" (100 EZ).  She liked it better, but I found that she was developing some bad habits reading wise (she is, I believe, very slightly dyslexic) and I switched back.
And then I found the McGuffey readers were all online now- for free.  I downloaded a copy onto my new Christmas iPad, and started working through it with her.
What a refreshing change!  Suddenly she is EAGER to read the stories.  The old fashioned pictures capture her imagination and can be used to actually entice her to read.  Vocabulary is built into it, and it even teaches her to read script!

The cute fuzzy animals that frequently appear in the pictures help too ;)

Now, I should state that I find that both the other books I mentioned are fabulous reading books.  They have definitely helped us learn the letters, and different letter blends too.  In fact, I would think you could easily use OPG as a way to learn some of the letter blends as they appear in the McGuffey readers.  It is just that, for a child who finds reading a little difficult, or is a lot harder to motivate and make them WANT to read, a book like this is a gem.
Once we have her cursive writing lessons finished, she will end up copying the script sections in the readers too.

This is the picture that convinced her to read today. 
You can see the script here.

There is also a High School reader.  I think I shall work with my son through the readers too.  He has a few bad reading habits that need to be broken!

Speaking of my 12 year old, I have a few words in praise of the old for him too.  I have found that he positively loves the classics.  He has been reading through Anne of Green Gables, and before that worked through Tom Sawyer.  I cannot say he is the fast reader I am.  In fact he is an easily distracted reader (unless it is a book that is totally unrelated to school, in which case he is FAST and cannot be distracted from reading).  But he has discovered a love for the classics.  The giggles and chuckles heard from his corner when reading the Hobbit (although I really wish he had not learned some of the sayings in there- we have had an outbreak of 'Shut yer gob' ever since!) or Oliver Twist are a balm to a mother's heart.  I have all kinds of other stories lined up for him.  If he would just READ faster!

If you are interested in reading with classics or Old Fashioned books, you might enjoy these links.  I am not affiliated with any of them, neither do I control what you will find there- so be warned ;)

For a complete set of the McGuffey Books, hardbound and with a teacher's guide by Ruth Beechick, you can go to Mott Media and get them.

An Old Fashioned Education has some really good resources.  You can pretty much homeschool for free there :)

The Baldwin Online Children'sLiterature Project is a huge selection of wonderful old books that have been transcribed and put online for free.  You can also buy them from the site in real book and ebook format :)

Project Gutenberg is the best free ebook site online- you can get all the classics and public domain texts you want here.

Sacred Texts have some good free ebooks.  They also have a nice selection of Fairy Tales.

The Internet Archive has a huge selection of books to choose from.

Ambleside, of course, has a library of books and links to their choices online.

There are lots of free scanned books at Google Books online too.

Now, when it comes down to it, you can do several things with the books.  I prefer to download the Pdf format and read it on my iPad with my daughter- so she can see the pictures.
Otherwise I download the kindle or epub formats.  The former I can read on my iPad, the latter I can read on the iPad or the Nook (so it is my preferred format because I use it with my son).
If you like, you can also print out and bind it separately.

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