Isn’t it lovely when something works? This year, choices are giving confidence to Tias.

His eye troubles are pretty much resolved and he’s been out of vision therapy for a while. What he needed was confidence and gumption. He would face a page of text and define it as being far too hard for him. He’d panic. He’d reject. He was stuck on Geronimo Stilton. They are great books, and they helped him see that thicker books didn’t have to intimidate, but he needed to be able to move on.

This summer I hatched a plan. A cunning plan. A plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.


He gets choice, but carefully constructed choice. I made a list of books in groups of three. The first two groups were below the level he felt comfortable with so that he’d start it off with a bang, and so he’d get in the habit of going off and reading a chapter when I told him to. Til now, he’d preferred to read for time (and as little time as I’d agree to).

Each set got a little harder. But within each set he had choice. It’s been so fascinating to watch his decision-making process. Often his choices have surprised me.  This last time, he chose The Cricket in Times Square, but until he did the big reveal (and you know it’s got to have a big reveal) I thought the allure of Narnia would win.  Farmer Boy, with its thickness and its general lack of either giggles or compelling plot, was the least likely in my eyes.

The last set of three contains Harry Potter, a landmark book in his eyes.  He tried to read it two years ago and was beaten back by lack of confidence with pages and pages of text.


4 thoughts on “choices

  1. hopewellmomschoolagain says:

    Actually, Farmer Boy was one my son DID read–shocked me, too, but he loved it. I like the way you let him feel in control while still getting some great literature down. And he really deserves all the praise for not turning off to reading totally from all the frustration. I’m glad he’s finding he’s successful–that will have a powerful spill-over effect in his life, I’m sure!! Well done to Mom for her patience and creativity! Wicked creativity! Wicked with a gleam in it’s eye!

  2. Ann says:

    Dealing with almost the same thing here. Would you be willing to share the reading choices you compiled for Tias?

    I love this idea, btw. Will be trying it on my 11 yo, who sounds a lot like Tias, including the resolution of some eye problems with vision therapy last year. Huge improvement, but he’s still hearing the little voice in his head that says he can’t read.

  3. Donna Reid Tensuan says:

    A great idea! My 12 year old son struggles with auditory and visual processing. His reaction to new books, or even the library was to shut down. Too much print! He was really overwhelmed. What we do now is to have him read while listening to the audiobook version, and that has made a huge difference for him.

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