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Grab 5 minutes to visit the Page for Panicked Parents of Pre-Readers, and do let us know what you think!
If you're a one-click kind of person and just don't feel like clicking again, I copied the text below:
The Page for Panicked Parents of Pre-Readers
We feel compassion for your panic. The author of this website (Kaci) has two children, and she still holds a visceral, cellular memory of the panic when her eldest son wasn't reading at an early age. He wasn't reading, and neither was he showing a strong desire to read. The stress of our competitive winner/loser culture took hold, and she wondered and worried whether her son was falling behind, whether he would make it in life, whether she was a good mom. And then one day ... something "clicked." He was ready. What was it that made him ready? His teacher? His parents? His brain? The weather that day? Who knows; it was a mystery (as is life!). Suddenly her panic was gone, and in its place was trust.
So now ... as the teachers of the elementary program ...
We are asking for your trust.
Trust that there are many ways to teach a human, and many ways that we learn.
Trust that children are magical beings, and each child is ready to read when they are ready to read.
Trust that the age your child learns to read has absolutely no bearing on her or his intelligence.
Trust that more than four decades of a play-based preschool, play-based kindergarten, and thematic elementary program have worked for the children of the Dome School. The formal reading instruction begins in the first grade, yet even then ---even then--- we don't push too hard nor too fast. Our goal is to walk alongside the children, providing a balanced reading program that contains instruction in both the small parts (e.g., phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding) and the big parts (such as whole language learning, prosody, and comprehension). We will walk alongside the children, and we will be there when their tide comes in, when they are truly ready to read. This is a stroll along the beach, not a race to a finish line. Our way isn't the only way that works -- but it works.
Trust that the more we trust in our children, trust in our school, and trust in ourselves, then we will breathe a little deeper, a little slower, and remember that our fears and panic are only written in sand on the edge of the sea, waiting to washed away by the returning tide.
Trust, too,that the way of our school is supported by research*:
- "The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland." The Atlantic Monthly (October 1, 2015)
- "Academic Play Versus Play-Based Kindergarten." The Cortex Parent (October 9, 2009)
- "Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School." Alliance for Childhood (2009)
- "Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little To Gain and Much to Lose." Alliance for Childhood (2015)
*note: these articles pertain to both kindergarten and elementary reading instruction, despite the titles' singular reference to "kindergarten."
The Domie Diary