Learning to Read from Life

Anusha has been really progressing with reading recently…..and most of this has been because of her own self motivation and readiness to learn.
She has known the alphabet for a couple of years. We did a Waldorf block together when she was seven and then revisited letters when she needed to, but since then any formal reading lessons have at best been minimal and sporadic.
I have also consistently offered help (with no pressure involved) and to read books and readers with her but she just wasn’t ready. And that for me was totally okay, I was happy to wait and knew that the time would come when it would all come together for her.
And it is.
The past few months, and in particular weeks, Anusha’s own desire to read and her readiness and willingness has motivated her to make reading happen!

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At the end of last year I decided to get a Waldorf reading block from Earthschooling, something Anusha wanted too. It included the lower case letters, sight words and word families, and we worked on this most consistently when we were in Narrandera.
This hasn’t been something we’ve continued with though as Anusha was starting to find it too tedious. I’m happy to do more with her if that’s what she wants but honestly, I think she is learning better through life and with the guidance of her Dad, brother and I.

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In early December Nush started a diary, which she was writing in every day until about a week ago. She would write the words she knew and ask me to spell out what she didn’t. I think she will write more occasionally now, as she was finding everyday too much, but she was very driven for those two months and I know this has helped with her word recognition.

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Whilst in Adelaide during January she was asking for books to practice reading so we went op shopping and to the local book exchange and found early reading short novels. She’s recognising quite a lot of sight words and sounding out what she doesn’t. When there are words that she finds too hard we help her with them, and occasionally I gently tell and remind her of some of the common digraphs and word families, and of any English rules (that never work 100% of the time in our insane language!) that I think will help without being too overwhelming.

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But I think Nush has made so much progress recently just through curiously engaging in life and all it’s learning opportunities…..

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Writing birthday or Christmas cards and making gifts,

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Interacting with friends and family through play and conversation, including on her tablet that we got her for our travelling journey,

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reading books to her little brother; just the other day she was reading a Winnie the Pooh book to Zubin in the car but he fell asleep so she quietly kept reading it to herself and then happily told Scott and I that she’d read the whole book,

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Writing lists of words she knows, and writing about her interests, such as recently she has been writing in her book about dreams.

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Sounding out and reading labels, names and signs in shops, and as we are driving or walking along (I often here her little mumbles as she sounds out signs from the back seat of the car). I could go on for quite a while I think, life is so rich in opportunities to read; cooking with recipes, board games, listening to stories, going to the library, menus in cafe’s, using computers…….
It is naturally coming together and it is a wonder to witness 💖
We are also a book crazy family. We have always read to our children, I have read to both Anusha and Elki for hours on end, including many, many fairy tales, mythological stories, folk takes and fables, poems and songs, picture books, and chapter books. Scott and I are also BIG readers, and this has given Anusha a love and knowledge of our language formed over years, and provided her with an environment in which reading is cherished, enjoyed, and a huge part of our lives. I think this is very important, and hey, we get so much from what we read, it’s fun, incredibly informing, and as Elki says, ‘it transports us to other worlds!’
I am loving observing and being part of Nushi’s reading journey and know it will continue to be a wonder and joy. She has not needed any learning forced upon her, it has come from within, I am very proud of my girl.

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Moments in Narrandera

Last week was spent on the river bank in Narrandera, NSW. Apart from the business of weekend water skiers we had a quiet, relaxing week and didn’t stray to far from our camp.

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Whilst making up a batch of my toasted muesli I tried Zubi on my back in the Ergo for the first time.

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Anusha thought this was too cute and had to have a turn too.

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Zubin really found his love of water and when it wasn’t too cold for him we got much relief playing in the shallows. And testing how sand tastes…..

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While watching his big bro and sis.

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Anusha is slowly learning to swim doggy paddle and becoming more confident in the water. The children even shed their inhibitions and went skinny dipping, loving the freedom and feel of the water.

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Elki completed The Lord of the Rings, which he’s been reading sporadically for a year or so. We also finished reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, with me reading about half of it to Elki and then he finishing the other half one night as he couldn’t wait to hear what happened (I was hoping this would happen!)

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And I found the time to begin exploring native plant dyeing, which I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time.

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The warm and longer evenings were perfect for evening strolls, an addition to some of our days to bring attention to our health and fitness. On our first wander Scott pulled up some bulrush for us to try……it’s really quite good, although Elki was not too impressed!

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We were gifted with some beautiful sunsets which we have been loving, something we don’t get a good view of at our home in Tas.

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I was very proud of Anusha for reading her very first book. My Dad is a board book that all of our children have loved and is the first book she has read by herself.

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She has also been really engaged by the reading block we are currently doing. We worked on this several of the days at Narrandera, very much driven by Anusha’s enthusiasm, readiness, and eagerness to be reading.

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And there was a lot of time spent in the water,

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And on the shore.

It was a great camp and a lovely week. The only criticism we had is Narrandera’s town water, it is terrible! We would gladly camp here again but next time we’d definitely bring spring water to drink!