Monday, 17 September 2012

reading recipes

Sasha has been really struggling with learning to read. She still mixes up some of her letters, the most mysterious to me being f and i. She knows about five sight words, one of which is her own name. She drags her feet doing her 15 minutes of reading homework each night.

I remember how frustrating and tedious it was to learn how to read when I was her age. She has the same set of Bob books I had; I hated those books because the stories were so boring, and Sasha seems to feel the same. (In my case, my slow reading was at least partially to blame on my eyesight; my reading improved by several grade levels within two months of getting glasses.)

But Sasha likes stories. She likes being read to. We just finished the first Harry Potter book, and I've promised to find a copy of the second one to start reading to her. I may have her sound out a few words per page of The Chamber of Secrets so that she's involved in reading a more interesting story than "Dot has a hat."

I've been trying to come up with creative ways to integrate letter recognition and rudimentary reading skills into other activities so that it doesn't feel like reading, doesn't feel like a 15 minute timer, doesn't feel like homework.

So today, I wrote out a chocolate chip cookie recipe, packaged up and labeled all of the ingredients and most of the equipment we would need, and biked it all over to Sasha's house. After school, after some regular ol' dollhouse and dress up playtime, and after doing 10 minutes of her assigned reading, we whipped up a batch of cookies. She liked measuring and dumping and cracking eggs, and she loved mixing the dough with her hands!

She wasn't thrilled when I asked her to sound out the words on the recipe paper, but she was a champ at just straight up matching recipe words to container labels, and then recognizing the ingredient in the containers ("that's brown sugar!"). Good enough for a first go.

I wonder, if I wrote and illustrated a book for her that's all about things Sasha can do, like "Sasha can cook! Sasha can kick! Sasha can sing! Sasha can read!" if that would be a more exciting story for her to read than "Mat sat." I'll let the idea bake for a bit.


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