Tag Archives: lessons

Reading Programs

sw_b_for_bookshelf_cs4337Through the years, I’ve used a number of different reading programs. They were all good programs – different ones just worked better with different children.

 When my oldest son was three, he showed an early interest in reading, so my sister gave me the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We went through it slowly, and it worked well for us for a while. Around Lesson 50, it seemed as if there were too many words on the page, and he was feeling quite overwhelmed. This was understandable, since he was only four years old.

 I pulled out Ruth Beechick’s book A Home Start in Reading and followed some of her ideas. I found books with reading games and made up some of my own. For the next year, that was our reading program. We continued to work phonetically on words with short vowels for months.  Then he just took off, and suddenly he could read almost anything.

 I started my next child with 100 Easy Lessons when she was five. We weren’t too far into it when a friend recommended the American Language Series reading program. This included workbooks and readers, and she moved right through it.

When my third child began to read, I started her off with the American Language Series. She didn’t do as well with it as her sister had, so I went back to the 100 Easy Lessons. This didn’t go so well either, so we tried the Explode the Code series. Finally, we had found the right program for her. She has done very well with the workbooks, and her reading has improved a great deal.

Other reading programs include Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, The Writing Road to Reading, Hooked on Phonics, Alpha-Phonics, Christian Liberty Press Phonics, Saxon Phonics, McGuffey Readers, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and more. There are many good reading programs out there; it may take a little time, but you can find the right one for your child.

You Can Be Excellent

graduation_1813My sister is the administrator of a small Christian school, and this week she’ll be speaking at the graduation ceremony for the seniors. When she told me about her speech, I just sat there, more than a little stunned. She had decided to tell the students that they can’t be anything they want to be.

“What?” I said.

“You can’t. People always tell you that you can, but it’s not true. I took piano lessons for years, but I still can’t play it well.”

“But,” I said, “if you spent most of your time practicing, you’d be really good.”

“I might play it better than I do now, but I’ll never be great at it. It’s not my gift. It’s not what I was designed to do.”

Now I understood what she was saying. I have always wanted to be a singer, but as of right now, I can’t match a pitch, and I struggle to find the right key. While I would love to take singing lessons someday to hopefully improve, I know I won’t ever be a great singer. It’s not what I was created for.

This isn’t to say that we can’t try new things. If I worked on my singing all day, every day, I might work up to be an adequate singer, or maybe even a good one. But it would take a lot of effort just to get to that point.

But, if I were to concentrate on my strengths instead, I can be better than good – I can be excellent. I may only be an average cook (sorry, Dear), but I can be an excellent artist; I may only be an average seamstress, but I can be an excellent writer; I may only be an average gardener, but I can be an excellent teacher. I can be excellent in those things God has called me to be.

So maybe she’s right – instead of telling our children they can be anything they want to be, perhaps we should be telling them they were made to be excellent at something, and then help them discover just what that something is.