The Pain Of Teaching My Daughter To Read

      9 Comments on The Pain Of Teaching My Daughter To Read
As you might know, I was a teacher for about 10 years.  I loved it! And I think I was pretty OK at it too – I enjoyed being in the classroom and planning lessons – and most of all seeing the lightbulb moments which occasionally happened. I used to say that being a teacher wasn’t what I did but was who I was.  So when the chance came for me to homeschool Little Miss, I thought that this would be perfect! I had so many lovely ideas of how it would work.  We’d snuggle down in the mornings, books in hand, reading to each other, sounding out new words and enjoying the adventures in our stories.  She would listen carefully to the stories I told her, asking good questions and becoming fired up about the world of words.  It was going to be perfect.  Admittedly I knew that she wasn’t a particularly strong reader because of her chequered schooling history, and last September she was unable to read any simple words. But…we had worked hard over the year to build her confidence and her ability to read – even managing to pass the Year 1 Phonics Test (to the amazement and delight of her teacher), so I thought that we could build on this! Well…that is NOT how it has turned out! I had everything prepared – I’d even bought the whole set of Chip and Biff books (still can’t decide if I love them or hate them!) so we had something to follow. We sat down at the table for the first morning and it went pretty smoothly.  There were some moments of angst when she couldn’t read simple words I knew she knew (angst from both of us I hasten to add!).  A few tears when the ‘b’ and ‘d’ became mixed up again and a bit of frustration when I asked her questions about the story.  I didn’t worry too much – it was the first day after all – soon we would be immersing ourselves in new worlds and adventures – wouldn’t we?? 4 weeks later – each day looks pretty similar to the first.  She is still struggling with ‘b’ and  ‘d’ and will still do anything she can to get me to read the sentence or tricky words for her.  I’ve become much more adept at recognising when she is just in one of those moods where nothing is going right, or when she truly can’t understanding how to break down a word.  I’m getting pretty good at knowing when to walk away from the table and give her chance to calm down and when to push a bit harder as I know she can do it.  And we are moving through the Chip and Biff books at a pretty OK rate! But it is painful! Like, really seriously mind blowingly painful! To me reading was always such a huge pleasure – I lived for reading books and spent most of my childhood with my nose deep in a new adventure.  Little Miss definitely does not have the same feelings.  I hold onto the fact that she IS learning to read and she IS making great progress.  But I am having to let go of some of my more rosy hopes for us reading together, at least for now.  I’m hopeful that, once we work through these difficulties, we will emerge together, exhausted, a bit frustrated, a little bit teary but delighted to have made it through, and eventually we will have time to enjoy reading, rather than seeing it as a chore to get through each day! I live in hope! Brilliant blog posts on

9 thoughts on “The Pain Of Teaching My Daughter To Read

  1. Lucy At Home

    I’m facing this at the moment too! I loved reading as a kid (think walking round the house with my head buried in a book), but my daughter just doesn’t want to read. She loves listening to me read to her, but has no interest in reading herself. I don’t want to push her because I want her to want to read rather than see it as a chore, but what can you do if they DON’T want to do it?! Like you, I’m living in hope that one day it will click and she’ll see the wonder that reading it! #BrilliantBlogPosts

    1. cherrynewby

      I really do feel your pain! It just confuses me so much as I can’t see why she wouldn’t love it as much as me, but I am just about coming to terms with it. Fingers crossed the one day I’ll come across her reading on her own by choice! That will be a day to celebrate :). x

  2. Sharon Dunn

    Hi Cherry. Lovely to read about your life here and on FB. My brother didn’t read until he was 10 and I remember my teacher mother’s attempts still.
    You are balancing (brilliantly by the sound of it) being both her mother and teacher. However if she’s struggling with phonics and ‘sounding out’, you need to take the pressure off her completely for a while and help her see that reading is fun and achievable. Let her choose whatever books at the library she wants and read them to her.
    Then try a technique we used way back – it had an official name, but I’m too old to remember it. Basically if you don’t want a child to fail, you don’t let him/her, so you read the book together. You read putting all the expression in and the child reads with you (pointing to words/ lines as required). She is never allowed to fail at recognising a word because you are reading together so it’s a huge confidence booster. Eventually she can give you a signal when she wants to try on her own. It used to be tap the desk, but you can sit on a sofa and cuddle up, you lucky thing. Then as soon as she hesitates you smoothly join in and continue together until she wants to try again.
    I used a variation of this with my own kids. It’s such a confidence booster not to fail and even though you might not make the fast progress you hoped for at first, she will succeed quite suddenly.
    Atefr all sduteis sohw taht poelpe d’not atuclaly raed all lrettes and suodns as soon as tehy are fulent, as lnog as the frist and lsat lrettes are trehe.
    Enjoy the journey. Good luck. I really admire what you’re doing!

    1. cherrynewby

      How lovely to hear from you Sharon – and thank you for your lovely comments! It is so much harder than I had thought it would be to teach my own child! I don’t think I have ever taught early reading in my whole time of teaching and it is definitely showing now! But I have to say that the way you suggest sounds utterly brilliant – I’ve never heard of doing it that way before but I can absolutely see how that would work really well with her. I am going to give that a go and see how I get on – I think that ensuring she doesn’t fail is absolutely the key! What a brilliant idea! Thanks so much and thanks for reading my burblings 🙂 x

      1. Sharon

        It takes time, but works brilliantly with reluctant readers. Teachers became obsessed with methods and results but forgot the joy of reading. Don’t get me started on Ofsted!


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