Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interest Based Education - Reading

Until recently, my second grade daughter has shown very little interest in reading. Therefore, I consider reading our first major breakthrough using the interest based approach to education. Last year and previously, we read together and I required her to read to me. (After all, I feel reading is very important.) Unfortunately, despite the fact that she liked the books and even selected them herself, it was a constant struggle, since reading was required.


Enter Unschooling
One thing my seven year old is very interested in is Pippi Longstocking. In the past, I read her all four of the Pippi chapter books. Since then, she discovered Pippi cartoons on youtube. Although I personally don't have an issue with her watching the cartoons, I do have an issue with her spending all of her available time watching them. So I've been thinking about how to get her to change her focus.


Option 1 - Limit technology or Pippi time
Potential result: This will create a deeper desire for her to watch Pippi and more videos in the future. Plus, doing this is the opposite of encouraging interests.

Option 2 - Change her focus to a different educational video - In other words, encourage her to watch more videos (that are educational).
Liberty's Kids is a series of animated American History videos for kids. When episode one was turned on for me to enjoy, she quickly joined to watch the episode. I was hoping that she would turn on Liberty's Kids instead of Pippi on her own, but that didn't work. Perhaps she just needs a little more exposure to Liberty's Kids, or a series which she finds more interesting?

Option 3 - Offer to read the Pippi books again
This is where we had the breakthrough. While she was watching Pippi, I pulled the chapter books off the shelf and set them down next to her. I offered to read them then walked away so she could finish her episode. Once the Pippi video was through, she came downstairs with her nose in one of the Pippi books and announced that she would be reading them on her own.


Although the books are way above her level I have no doubt she will be finishing them on her own.

(Can you see the purple flashlight strapped to her head? She's reading Pippi in bed before going to sleep.)


She can read and is highly motivated to read the Pippi books. It just may take her a while to get through them all, but her reading skills should drastically improve.

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