Is there something that you do so naturally it’s like breathing for you? Have you ever tried to teach that skill to someone else only to realize the skill is actually really difficult for someone else to do? Then you sort of look like this:
Now I’m not talking about running marathons or playing an instrument here. I think everyone would agree those are things that wouldn’t be expected for everyone to be able to do. Nope, I’m specifically talking about a skill I take for granted every.single.day. Reading. I LOVE READING. Like this is me:
I wasn’t a super genius that could read when I was 3 or anything like that, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy reading. I didn’t know I was “good” at it until around 4th grade. That’s about the time when I realized I could read faster than my peers and would get frustrated when other kids in my class had to read out loud because they struggled to do so.
I’m the oldest of 5 kids, and I have 5 kids ranging in age from 19 to 4. We are a blended family. I have 3 kids, my husband has 1 son, and we have 1 son together. My 3 kids are all pretty good readers. My oldest isn’t exactly a voracious reader, but he reads on level and can hold his own. My next child is the more “academic” of my 3 kids, and my youngest is the most voracious reader even if he doesn’t necessarily like all of the subjects in school. I’ve always used big vocabulary around my kids, and they see me reading all the time. I read to all of them when they were babies and toddlers, and I think that makes a big difference. We are doing the same with our youngest. He is already starting to read at the age of 4, which is awesome! Now we turn to my husband’s son. He can’t read.
Ok that’s not quite true. He’s 17 and reads at a 3rd grade level on his best day. Just having a conversation with him can be challenging sometimes because he slurs words together, uses the wrong word to express what he’s trying to say, and it’s almost like his brain is going faster than his mouth and his sentences come out in disjointed phrases. Texting is a massive issue sometimes to just decode what he sends. I should add that I met my stepson when he was around 10-11, but he didn’t live with us. We had him for 6th and 7th grade, and he was reading at a 4th grade-ish level at that time. Then he went back to his mom for 8th grade and came back to us last year. He got his first job after I basically filled out the application for him. He has wanted to join the military for a while now, but passing the ASVAB is literally impossible for him. He has tried twice and can’t get into double digits yet. It’s not that he can’t do the skill being asked; especially math, it’s that he can’t read the dang question to know what they are asking of him. I’ve tried everything I can think of to help him. I work in online education for crying out loud, so if there’s an online tool or resource out there, I’ve found it and put him on it. We tried high interest books, bribing, and anything else I can think of. The problem is two-fold: 1. He is so frustrated that he just doesn’t want to work on reading at all anymore. He believes since he has these 2 jobs now (just got the second one) and he’s applying to a certificate program with an online college, that he’s good. 2. I struggle very much to understand why he can’t read and more importantly, why he doesn’t want to get better.
Reading is like breathing for me. I’ve never struggled with it, and my other kids have never struggled with it. I didn’t even realize his reading was such a massive issue until he started to take the ASVAB. He’s taking 99% of his high school courses online, and those courses have “read aloud” and video options (due to equal access laws), so he hasn’t been forced to read and comprehend much on his own. I know that my own frustration is not helping the situation either. I also know that he graduates in 77 days, and ultimately, it’s up to him.