Teaching My Baby To Read

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How do you eat an elephant?

A friend and teacher I know from church shared with me the following question: “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer is: “One bite at a time.”

Bruce(7) has a book report due in a month. His teacher has challenged the kids to choose a “just right” book that will take a week to finish, and then to write about it. Bruce (entirely of his own accord) chose to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There was no talking him out of it.

Different faith backgrounds have different opinions on whether the Harry Potter series as a whole is appropriate for children. My opinion is that J.K. Rowling has made the basic tenants of Christianity approachable to children in the same way that C.S. Lewis did with Narnia. I love this article from Christianity Today by Bob Smietana, which expounds on this comparison.

Back to the issue at hand with my issue, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is at a Guided Reading Level W, which means it is a the seventh grade reading level. The last time I assessed Bruce’s reading ability was a few months ago at Christmas and he was at a level S/5th grade. Level W is a bit of a stretch for him.

But if all Bruce ever does is read multiple Goosebumps books (level P/3.7) every afternoon, he’s not learning a lot about resilience or sticking with something big because it is worth reading. So together, we looked at the calendar and mapped out a plan. He chose to read 55 pages a day for two weeks, and then spend a week writing up his report. We wrote everything down on our family calendar, and then I helped him out by putting little post-it flags in the book. Now the rest is really up to Bruce.


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