Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pollito and Homeschooling

Pollito is 6 years old but most of the time he seems more like a 4-5 year old. This is also true where school is concerned which is part of the reason we decided to homeschool. He just isn't interested in learning to read and the pressure near the end of Kindergarten was making him a very anxious child. We try to spend as much time as possible reading to him and he enthusiastically tackles writing (or copying) but the thought of reading just makes him cringe. He seems to put up HUGE mental blocks although it is possible that he may have some learning issues as well. Our plan is to take things easy and let him set the pace this year and if we decide to return him to "regular" school next year so he can get additional services we will have him enroll in first grade rather than second grade.

A month ago I decided to enroll him in music lessons because he loves music. He dances and dances every chance he gets so we had already put him in a ballet/tap/jazz class and a hip-hop class but we decided to add an instrument. He wanted guitar but he is a bit young for that so he chose piano. After 4 lessons we are seeing an interesting development. He is enjoying it and wants to practice all the time but what is equally interesting is that his number and letter recognition and recall has improved DRAMATICALLY. This is a kid who confuses numbers and hasn't been able to consistently count past 12. He also misses many of the letters although he has most of their "sounds" down.  In working with him I saw a little improvement after just 1 music lesson but I can definitely tell there is something clicking for him AND his enthusiasm for reading seems to be growing. Just last week he picked up a book of Corazon's and started to look for the 4 words he can actually read---it, in, is and if. Today he asked me to teach him to read 4 new words. While I am not quite ready to credit all this progress to him music lessons, I do believe they have someone cleared his brain in ways that seems to improve his focus and his enthusiasm. Either that or it is a nice coincidence but either way, I think we will keep those lessons going for awhile. :-)

7 comments:

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Whatever works! I am wondering about reading books that are based on songs/have songs in them/are sung as a way to bring this new energy and enthusiasm into reading. One of My all time favorites is Mama Don't Allow (No Music Round Here) by Thacher Hurd. Soooo happy to hear we will see each other again in Orlando!

Ashley said...

Reading is such a joy... I'm glad he's discovering it, whatever the case

Lee said...

I have read some interesting stuff on how music helps certain parts of the brain focus and absorb knowledge so it makes sense to me. It is also supposed to help with math. And at the gym they have a study up from California on how gymnastics can help with scholastics so I am hoping I have my waterfronts covered! :-) I have also read that kids are ready to read somewhere between 5 and 8. It is a continuim (and I need to remind myself of this as I think one of mine will be on the later end of the spectrum too!)

FosterAbba said...

You might want to consider Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons we used it to teach our kid how to read, and it was very easy and worked very well.

BT said...

I noticed a similar pattern with our younger son. He started piano at age 6 (practices willingly for the most part, and has progressed unbelievably with the instrument!). He too was a "late" reader. At age 4 he was still completely unable to identify colours (no visual issues, could sort, could find whatever colour you asked him to find etc, just couldn't name colours). And he was waaaaayyyy behind on letter sounds and even letter recognition. Most of this was still present at age 5 and even 6. During the first year in piano lessons, with daily practices, he went from not knowing all of the alphabet to reading complete sentences. It was uncanny timing. Not sure what else it could have been other than the piano lessons. Or maybe he was just ready? He is now newly 9 and reading multi-syllable words. I am really glad to hear about your experience with Pollito's reading and piano, and I hope his progress and especially his enthusiasm continue.

PS: Thanks for your message a few weeks back. I am fine (we have been in an extended unbelievably good patch!).

Dia por Dia said...

Thank you for the comments. I am going to work on finding more books with songs. The good thing is that he loves books and "reading" them which everyone around here does. Listening to stories and "reading" to his younger sister are also favorite activities. Decoding is just not where he is at and that is okay for now. His brother was almost 8 before he could read so we are being helpful and patient with him. FosterAbba, that book was instrumental in helping with our oldest and yes, it is a fabulous recommendation!

Dia por Dia said...

Lee & BT,
I do think the music is "opening up" other avenues for him t make the right connections for reading. I am seeing so much focus and engagement on the decoding side of reading since the lessons. As for gymnastics---it saved our life with Corazon so I can't sing enough of its praises!

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