I have written before about Ella and her education and some of the challenges she has had.
When I met with her teacher in December I found out that she was falling more and more behind on her reading.
There were many aspects to this problem. One of them was the fact that Ella entered Kindergarten when I had a newborn. I did not have enough attention on the fact I needed to read with her every day and when she refused to do her homework, I just did not have the time to work it all out with her.
Well a year passed and by the middle of 1st grade she was falling behind. Her reading actually seemed to be getting worse.
So I decided I needed to roll my sleeves up and tackle this problem.
By working with her teacher and a few other things, in two months we got her completely caught up. I was shocked by the progress she made.
I thought I would share some of the things I feel contributed to the improvement so it may help anyone else who’s child may need a little help.
1. I spent time with her at her school
Ella asked that I go on one of her field trips. I had never been on one of them before and it seemed important to her that I go. I took the day off work and went with her. This was right at the beginning of working on improving her reading. I think it meant a lot to her to show her that I was invested in her education and in her school experience. It was only 5 hours of time but the emotional boost it gave her was worth much more than that.
2. I set up her iPad with her school reading program.
Her school uses Raz Kids. I love it. They categorize books on a nice gradual increase in level, A-Z. In that way your child can learn to read level by level with the books getting more and more challenging. She got stars for when she would finish a book. It can read the book to her and there are questions at the end that test comprehension. Ella is competitive, so the quiz aspect and the challenge of getting through the levels was good for her.
3. She found a hobby.
Finding a hobby was helpful in her education. She got really into these things called LiteBrix. They are like Legos but light up. They are pretty cool. It gave her more confidence in herself to be able to manipulate the bricks and build things. That confidence spread out into other areas including her reading.
4. She learned persistence.
Speaking of LiteBrix, when she got her first package in late January, my dad was visiting. He sat down with her for FOUR HOURS uninterrupted putting the mini-mansion together. I don’t think they stopped for food or the bathroom. They were on a mission and they got it done. From that day on her persistence in her work has shifted. Thank you so much Dad!
5. I learned a technology of study and new education methods.
While I was working on Ella’s reading I was also doing my own study on L. Ron Hubbard’s extensive research on education. The key aspects I applied to Ella had to do with doing things that increased her confidence in herself and her belief in herself. This was through encouraging her hobbies and fostering her emotionally. This brought about more WILLINGNESS on her part to learn which is so stressed in Hubbard’s technology as really the first step you need in educating.
Another thing that is stressed by Hubbard is when she would read, I would notice when she was not really understanding the words and explain to her what they meant. This made her comprehension and enjoyment of the whole process skyrocket and shifted her attitude from “let me just get through this” to wanting to read and wanting to understand. It was really beautiful to see.
Key to all this working was also letting her teacher know what we were doing and collaborating with her on the whole process. What a joy it was to work with such an amazing and caring teacher at Ella’s San Francisco public school.
Ella and I have more work to do in ensuring she keeps progressing, but things are heading in the right direction at this point and for that I am glad because every child has a right to education, even the ones who refuse to do their homework.