Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Going to Bed with a Flashlight... Finally!!!!!

Katya has come home from camp for two days now eager to practice her reading, spelling and penmanship. Her teacher at camp is fantastic! I am so thankful; she has thrown gasoline onto the fire that I've been trying to light all year. It had been frustrating that other families pay me to teach their kids to read and write, yet my own daughter just wouldn't work with me for more than ten minutes at a time (and even ten minutes were hard to get). Here are Katya and one of my students (also a good friend of Katya's) practicing their spelling and reading by giving their dolls a vision test this spring:

Katya loves learning, but she has had a hard time focusing--particulary when working with me. I quickly realized that if I insisted, making our tutoring sessions into a battle, she would have even less interest in reading and writing. The desire had to come from her... I knew she was doing well in school (in Russian) and that the English would catch up, but I've wanted it to be sooner rather than later! I know that she's the type of kid who will LOVE reading once it clicks! She'll lose herself for hours in a book... She'll also write story after story... Some positive peer pressure seems to be doing the trick. She came home from her first day of camp eager to pratice her reading and writing. She actually liked her Scholastics hour at camp more than swimming!!!

I got her some sight word workbooks and we staged a "spelling bee" with her new stage and doll. In the movie based on the Molly character, there's a big scene in which Molly and Emily share first place in the school spelling bee. Katya got her Emily doll ready and they worked together to answer all of my questions. Emily whispered how to spell the words to Katya, then Katya told me and practiced writing them. I pushed the "applause" button on the stage when the bee was over (an hour and a half later!) and Katya was thrilled! She then read me two books before finally agreeing to go to sleep.

Tonight she took a bath and got ready for bed as soon as she came home from camp--so she could spend the rest of the evening working with me. Luckily, Natalia is EXHAUSTED after camp; she fell asleep on the couch almost as soon as we got home! Katya and I ended up doing page after page in her Sight Words workbook and Kumon Rhyming Words workbook, we had a spelling bee, she read four Level 2 books, she started a Phonics comic book, and she read the first page of a Nancy Drew Notebook mystery (an online sample page, to see if the series was worth ordering for her). She even took a flashlight with her to bed--and is still reading! WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY!!!!!!


Rachael said...

Oh I loved Nancy Drew. It's great that she's enjoying reading. My Katya is still able to read quite a bit in Russian, but we really need to step it up and work on the reading English.

Ilya said...

You're American, right? I wonder why you called your daughter with Russian names? Or their real names are Katie and Nataly?

MoscowMom said...
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MoscowMom said...

We primarily gave our kids Russian names because we thought they were so pretty. (They also jazz up our boring English last name.) Another factor is that my husband and I met while studying Russian in college. I like the names "Katerina" and "Natalia" because they're versatile; the girls can always choose to be "Kate" or "Natalie" one day :-)