Ian reads for thirty minutes every day. Every once in a while, I sneak a peak at what he’s reading to see how much ground he can cover in a half hour. I am used to being discouraged and finding that he only reads eight or nine pages in that amount of time (from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which has a ton of pictures). He has been a good reader for a long time now, but not a very fast one.
I never told him that I spy on him, until yesterday. He accidentally read for an extra five or ten minutes because he didn’t hear the timer beep. Out of curiosity, and because it’s been a few weeks, I checked to see how much ground he covered. Thirty-two pages!!
At first, I thought I must have been mistaken. I was sure the bookmark had been on page 129 when he started, but maybe not. So I checked with Ian. “Where did you start reading today?” He showed me, and I still almost didn’t believe it.
In the last month, he has more than doubled his reading speed, so of course I began to ask myself why. Nothing much has changed, except the fact that I have been spending a ton of time reading to him. And then it hit me…Spanish!
Last month, Ian and I watched several movies in Spanish over the course of a couple of days. I blogged about it, so some of you may remember that we used subtitles, but Ian couldn’t read them fast enough. Well, he has been watching cartoons in Spanish almost every day since the last time I posted about it, which was almost a month ago. He ran out of movies that he was super-familiar with and has been watching a cartoon series, which he has watched all the way through once before.
He has been using subtitles the entire time, and has learned to read them fast enough to understand what’s going on!
I have been a musician for some time now, but my sight-reading skills never developed until I was placed in a setting where I had to read music under pressure – which I did by playing in church all the time and going to jazz band rehearsals. I knew this concept worked with music, but it never occurred to me that it would work with reading words. I wonder if it will work with anything? If so, how can I create an environment that puts pressure on him to remember his math facts faster, for instance? Any ideas?