Recently I read a post by another homeschool blogging mama that outlined how she taught her toddler to read. She did all the right things, and got the expected outcome. But what do you do when you do all the right things and your child still isn’t reading?
While her experience in teaching her child to read is completely valid, I have had a completely different, yet equally valid experience.
I’ve done all the “right” things. I’ve read to my child daily. I’ve read many alphabet books. I have the alphabet magnets on the fridge, posters displayed on the wall, even an alphabet placemat at the table, and yet my son still struggles at age six to recognize all the letters and sounds. He struggles to sound out simple, three-letter words, and he struggles to remember the words that he does know.
So what do you do if you do all the right things and your child still isn’t reading? You keep calm, and realize your child might be a right-brained learner!
Over the past month or so I’ve read everything I can find on the internet about right-brained learners and even read a book on the topic called The Right Side of Normal by Cindy Gaddis. I’ve learned so much about right-brained learners!
For starters, right-brained learners are not less intelligent than left-brain learners, they just learn differently and on a different timeline. Right-brained learners are visual learners, they store information in their brains as images. Therefore they need visuals to learn and remember. These visual images will help them to learn to read when they are developmentally ready.
Help for Right-Brained Learners
Knowing that right-brained learners need visuals, stories and humor to help them learn I decided to try a free reading curriculum that I came across recently. It’s called Progressive Phonics and has all the keys to helping a right-brained learner unlock their reading potential. Each lesson is wrapped up in a silly story with cute illustrations that will help right-brained learners remember. There are also free printable activity sheets to help solidify the lessons. These activity pages include tracing words and letters, mazes and spot the difference activities which are wonderful for visual-spatial, right-brained learners! My son loves the stories and the activity sheets!
I’ve also printed out the lowercase letter flashcards found on Progressive Phonics for review and started making my own word flashcards by cutting out the images from the activity sheets, gluing them onto index cards and writing the word next to it. These aren’t my son favorite thing but it’s another way to help him review and remember new words.
This process of learning to read is going slower than I had anticipated, phonics still do not make sense for my son which is typical for right-brained learners. Right-brained learners are whole to part learners which means they will learn to recognize the whole word before learning how to sound out words using phonics. But he is making progress and can read simple Bob Books after just a few lessons with Progressive Phonics.
So if your child is struggling to learn to read, relax. Try a different approach and keep reading interesting books and stories aloud. Your child can still learn about what interests them. In this day and age, learning to read is not the end all, be all of education. There is still so much out there to learn in other ways! Struggling with reading doesn’t have to hold them back!
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