Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting Kids to Read and Testing for Reading Grade Level {Long Post}

I have 3 kiddos who are reading.  They range in age from 5 to 9.  Learning to read has not been a struggle for us (yet), but they've all learned in different ways.  To my knowledge, in school they were never been tested for reading levels.

Let me give you a little history....

#1 learned to read in 1st grade in school
She was diagnosed with lazy eye and far-sightedness at the age of 4 (almost 5).  Thankfully, my best friend (from the city we moved from the previous year) was a pediatric optometrist. Yep! Nice!  She coached me through "patching" and read all the eye exam results from afar for me!  All our local eye Dr. did was give her a prescription and we re-checked every 6 months.  Each time we went back, her vision improved (no thanks to him!)  At one point I asked if she would ever grow out of glasses...I was told "No," without a hesitation or explanation.  She did correct the lazy eye and thanks to the knowledge of my friend and having a new eye Dr. move into our town.....#1 no longer wears glasses.  

She is a very smart cookie.  Very smart!  At the Christian school she was attending, they start with basics in K, then they are off reading by end of 1st, so she was 5-6 years old.  She can, and always has, read very well, but DOES NOT enjoy it.  (Bold, capitalized, italicized and underlined.  Get my point? :)  11 times out of 10 she would rather have me read to her than read her own book. If she has to read a book, she grabs under her grade level and prefers books that have any type of pictures in them.  I do assign reading, but we trade off.  She chooses one, I choose one.  We've tried "Book It" with Pizza Hut and Braum's, I've bribed her with a Cherry Berry punch card and earning time on the iPad.  She just does not like to read.

We've settled on a combo of reading books and listening to books on tape.  I check out what measly supply our local library has and have been looking for an affordable Netflix for books.  If we go through a book on tape a week, that could get spendy buying them, especially since my other two readers are really readers.  My next try is letting her read the books on the iPad.  I'm grasping here people.  I'll try anything!!!

#2 learned to read in school and at home
No sight problems with her.  I pulled her out halfway through 1st grade, so she had already begun the reading process from K-1, at 5-6 years old.  I tracked back though Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and picked up where she was to finish the job at home.

She LOVES to read.  She could check out books from the library and spend all her waking time with her nose in a book.  I think there has only been one or two occasions when she put down a book and we returned it without finishing.  She has already read through every book we own.

Funny story....#2 did not want to go to Kindergarten.  She wanted to HS from the get-go.  She told me the only reason she would agree to go to school was so she could learn to read....since Mommy wasn't able to teach her that.  {Ha!}

#3 learned to read from me
No sight problems here either.  Since I had started HSing the girls, #3 wanted to "do school" too.  He asked if I could teach him to read like the girls.  {My thoughts....don't mind if I give it a try and prove #2 wrong!} We started after the alphabet sounds in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, since he already knew those.  He was 4 at the time.  In less than two weeks, he was flying through BOB books.  I purchased most of the set and hew flew through them.  Luckily, I have another coming up the ranks, so they were not a waste.

He is not yet 6, and has read almost all the Magic Tree House books.  If I listened to the Kindergarten and Preschool teachers,  he should be finishing his 2nd year of preschool this year (because of his birthday).  Thanks to homeschooling, he's about to start 2nd grade.

History complete.


Some random notes:

As a group we do rotation station (a whole other post! :) so the kids have reading time every day.  Plus, they are welcome to stay up as late as they their beds....reading.

I struggle with "assigned" reading.  I know, in life, they will have to read things they don't want to.  I want them to have read classics and complete the "suggested" book lists.  That's just the Type-A-er in me.  I see the list of books they should read, and I need to have them cross off each book. (I'm still working on the "I'm the teacher" spiel.)

We have a book bin.  All of our library books are housed in it.  They are welcome at any time to grab a book.  They consist of all levels.  When I'm on top of my game during the school year, we have books from our History (Story of the World) and Science (Apologia) that I check out for them.



Homeschooling all of these readers, I wanted to know how we were doing.  Even though my two that love to read, read a lot....that doesn't mean they are good at it or comprehend it.  I do reading comprehension through our writing curriculum with #2 and use Daily Reading Comprehension with #4.

I looked around on the internet (don't you just love technology!?!?) and found a few sites with reading tests.  Since #1 has done Stanford Testing this week, I figured I'd make it Testing Week here and did some at home tests.  Here are some options if you are interested...

Burt Reading Test (1974) Revised

The National Right to Read Foundation
Reading Competency Test

Macmillan Readers

Miller Word-Identification Assessment

San Diego State


Word Reading Test

Hope some of these help you and your readers...or non-readers. 

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