Posted by: Susan | October 11, 2011

Reading with Sam

There was an article in the local paper about a boy who read 800 books this summer for our library reading program.  How is that possible I thought, 800 books?  Turns out he had just finished kindergarten and was reading easy books.  He went from reading at a kindergarten level to reading at 2nd grade 3 month level.  Amazing!  The wheels in my head started spinning from reading that article or maybe they were spinning because I was juiced up on coffee.  Whatever the reason, I thought about what would happen if I put Sam on an intensive read aloud program.If you have been at this reading thing for a while you know that our kids can memorize those sight words but struggle with decoding.

He knows individual sounds but put them in a word he hasn’t seen before and he is lost.  Ditto for dropping an ‘e’ to add an ending or doubling a consonant on the end of a word.  Adding ‘ed’ or that tricky ‘ing’ throws him off too.  But then I just keep thinking of the boy who read 800 books.

When you’re a struggling reader the last thing you want to do is read so you need some motivation.

Reading 5 books…………equals………1 Wii rental.  Sam read to me for forty minutes!

Here he is happily sounding out c-a-r-t-i-l-a-g-e, cartilage.  So far I am loving our new system.  I just have to make sure I get lots of easy books from the library for our new daily reading regime.  I am off to Blockbuster to rent a Wii game!

I would welcome any suggestions of what works for you as you are helping your child with DS learn to read.


  1. Susan, you are doing exactly what I did for my son. My youngest suffers from dylexia and stuggled for two years just to learn the alphabet. I started a reward system with him a few years ago to impove his decoding skills. Now at age fourteen he blows my book budget and reads all the time. I found that if I gave him books on subjects he was interested in it helped; for awhile we read a lot on Ancient Rome!

  2. Rewards work great! And meaningful things to read! When we first taught Jessie we made her books all based on family and activities that she did. That was soooooooo long ago! Must be easier now? Maybe?! Reading is definitely a joy (for some) and still, even if audio books (which we used a lot of) a joy. I have a really old retro post about reading and rewards. At

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