Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inspiring Reading

I was having a conversation with my friend Josha. We are living somewhat parallel lives, on opposite sides of the country. She is a homeschooling mommy of 2 boys and a girl, like me, and trying to figure out the new normal life with autism, like me. I feel like she’s ahead of me in many ways, maybe because her kids are a few years older than mine.

So in today’s conversation, we were talking about the various things we want to be doing with our sons. One of the things on my list is teaching Jaedon to read. As a backdrop, Jaedon is 12, with an autism diagnosis. He communicates with single words and some 2-3 word combinations. He is visually very strong, so could learn to recognize and match words if taught, but has shown no interest in the value of words for reading. I don’t want to train him to read. I want to inspire him to read.

To figure that out, we thought about the other things we have inspired Jay to do. One of them is that we have inspired him to talk. Jay started using 1 word at 4 years old, and gradually, became more interested in using words. We worked hard to show him how useful words were, to help him use them clearly, and to reward that use.

So, how do we peak his interest in reading these words? Well, the first words he learnt to speak were high interest words, like food words, and favorite game words. These will be the first words he learns to read as well.  We came up with a few ideas, and they do need to be filled out.  Here are the fledgling games.
  1. Hide his nuts around his room and put the word 'nut' over the various hiding spots, with the word 'shoe' in various other spots. 
  2. Put the words of his favorite song on the string, then take the word out that we are learning.  Pause the song when we get to the missing word and put that word back on as we say it.
  3. A matching game: Use a pocket chart to hold matching word cards and picture cards. Put a choice of words on the ground, you or he jump on the word he's learning, as well as possibly the wrong one, to distinguish it. When we jump on the right word we match it to the picture, put it in the chart and do enthusiastically do whatever the word card says.
  4. I’m the tickle machine and I eat words. Feed me with the body part word to get a tickle.
  5. Integrate Ipad apps into games.  I'm still investigating, but possibly apps like:
    • Ispyphonics, iComm
    • First words
    • Apps at this site
    • Language Builder, etc
I think our starting 3 words will be 'nut', 'head', 'kiss'.  If you have any other reading ideas, please share!  I'll tell you how its going once we start.

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