Sometimes I despair that my middle child will never read.
(That grammar sounds off to me...should it be that I despair that he will ever read?)
Whatever. I am so discouraged.
This morning, after a period of time when he wanted nothing to do with anything reading-related, Seth went to our library and pulled out an early reader - about a super hero rescuing people being held captive by a bad guy. I was quietly happy to see that he was voluntarily pulling out a book. I casually went and sat down near him with a cup of tea I'd just made. He was staring at the pictures and then suddenly pointed out a couple of words to ask me something.
The words he was pointing to read: "But something..." and then the sentence carried on. He asked whether, if he only looked at the letters up to the letter e (he pointed to the letter e; he didn't say the letter name) did those words read "release the people now"?
I held back my disappointment and suggested that maybe we could take a look at the words a bit and figure out if he was right. I asked him how many words he had asked me about. He said the words out loud again: "release the people now."
"Four," he answered.
"Right," I said. Then I asked him to count how many words he'd pointed out in the story.
"Seven," he said.
"Not quite," I said cheerily. "That's how many letters there are, but let's see how many words we've got." I asked him to find where the space was between words and he found it. Then I asked again how many words we were looking at.
"I already said - seven."
Crap. I have gone over this stuff with him a thousand times.
But I cheerfully explained (for the thousand and first time) how words are separated and pointed out that there were two words that we were looking at.
I then suggested that we try sounding out the first word: But.
"R-o-t," he sounded out, using a long 'o' sound. It sounded like one would pronounce the word rote.
I worked it out with him, and all was good.
Lizzie came into the room just then and saw the word I was still pointing to on my lap.
"But," she read after only a second. "But what?" she continued. She's getting great at reading short (three and four letter) words, and she's always willing to try.
Then I told the kids they could watch a little tv for a few minutes.
I went upstairs and cried.
For Seth. About Seth.
We have sounded out words/letters for 3.5 years. I read to the kids for hours and hours every week. They listen to audio books. We look at letters and words on everything. I break down words constantly. I have taught him letters and letter sounds using every method I can find - using visual, tactile, kinesthetic, and whatever other ways I can dream up and research. We've worked at 100 Easy Lessons. Sometimes I think he's on the verge of connecting all of the dots, and sometimes he can even sound out short words.
But then he goes through periods of time, as I know has been happening the past couple of weeks, and it's like his brain has shut down. I actually think it's his brain working on some other big thing right now and so his language and vocabulary and ability to do something like look at letters just tanks. It's always like that when he's in this cycle.
And then this morning I just thought as I cried: I am failing at this; he is never going to read. He is such a bright, curious, observant, loving boy. And he'll never read. What do I do?
I know I'll get my equilibrium back. By tomorrow I'm sure I'll be able to say that yes, someday that beloved boy of mine is going to read.
But today? Today it just all feels a little hopeless.