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:: I Love You, Peggy Kaye ::

August 23, 2010

My daughter is every English teacher’s worst nightmare.  She is a reluctant reader.  She hates it.  She hates letters, she hates words, she hates sentences. We haven’t gotten to full paragraphs yet, but if we had, I’m sure she’d hate them too.  It breaks my heart that she struggles so much with something that I love so dearly.  I live for information, for knowledge and for learning, all of which I have encompassed in a passion for reading.  Teaching her to read has been arduous.  Painful.  Discouraging. (Now I know how dad must have felt trying to tutor me in math  😉 Sorry dad!)

To better understand this process of teaching Ava, you have to know a little bit about us and our journey so far.  Ava is seven.  She is smiles and laughs.  She is my nemesis and nightmare.  She is empathetic, kind, compassionate, sensitive and, most likely, the most important lesson I will learn in my life.

We have been struggling for years now to reach a diagnosis for Ava.  She began finger flapping when she was four and it has gotten progressively worse for the past three years.  I have beat my head against walls, knocked on doors, written letters, phoned MLAs, complained to the government, the school division to doctors and to my husband about how nothing seems to ‘work’.  Nothing seems to fit.  She’s been formally diagnosed with ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome as well as having been given a ‘provisional’ diagnosis of ASD (PDD-NOS).  phew.  Now doctors are also suggesting the possibility we are looking at a genetic disorder or syndrome.  That sentence terrifies me to the core, but that’s a whole ‘nother post for a whole ‘nother day.

Working with Ava is challenging and I greatly appreciate all of the staff who have been working with her the past few years.  As much as they have done for her at school it was still very important that I continue to work with Ava through the summer to get her caught up in reading.  I stumbled across Games for Reading while browsing through some Waldorf education resource lists.  I ordered it, spent an hour or so making sentence strips and flash cards and……


She reads!

Ava *loves* to play the games, she asks to play silly sentences every day!  The best part is watching her read them to herself and giggling while she waits for me to read them when it is my turn.  It’s not a chapter book, and it’s not even any book, but my daughter is reading and enjoying it.

Thanks, Peggy!

If you want to be happy, be.          ~Leo Tolstoy

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 2:19 pm

    LOVE this! I am so happy I read your blog, so glad to see you blogging again too!! I need to look at this book.

    • August 23, 2010 2:38 pm

      Carrie – there are multiple titles for reading, writing, math, etc. I’ll be getting a couple more this fall, I’m sure. 🙂

  2. Laura Scheidl permalink
    August 23, 2010 2:35 pm

    Nothing in the life of a teacher/mothers is better than when we have that “aha!” moment. Very happy to hear that you’ve found something that excites and engages her in reading!

  3. sandysays1 permalink
    August 23, 2010 3:31 pm

    Great idea. Giving anyone the gift of learning and liking to read is priceless, particular if its your child. My human used a technique that worked with his grand-rug-rats. He would show the grandchildren a Disney movie etc., explained that it was based on a book or tale, encourage them to ask questions, and that if they wanted to learn more they needed to read from the source, providing them the book to do so. He started with simple shorts like Cinderella, went to Peter Pan, eventually to “To kill a mockingbird” over a 4 year period. The grands have gone from reluctant readers to a voracious ones. The side benefit is that when the grands are curious or doubtful or don’t understand something their first recourse is to find reading sources for enlightenment.


  1. :: spelling :: | ::learning to love the little moments::

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