Yahoo!!  Clare has completed her reading Boot Camp!!!   And I learned some important life lessons in the process.
     She was not where she should be in Sept.  So I pushed her.  That failed.  So I had to do the impossible: go backwards.  I started over with “c-a-t” and like words.  It was so hard for me to feel like each day, we were back in pre-K.  But she needed to relax in order to learn.  So I had her do old lessons, and master them, and do them quickly and smoothly.
    We moved forward with 2 lessons a day, plus a phonics lesson from me, and then a phoncis workbook.  So really, 3 or 4 reading lessons a day.
    It was horrible.  She stumbled on obvious words that she has known for years.  Then I started making flashcards with phonograms on them.  We added this to the roster, which made 5 reading activities a day.
    Then somehow, she took off.  She had been working through “The Diggingest Dog,” a 64 page, first reader.  She could only read 20 pages at first.  Then she moved up to 25.  Then 30.
    This week, we sat down and began at the beginning.  I said, “As I’ve said before, when you can read the whole book, I’ll take you out to ice cream.”
    No kidding, she opened it up, and flew through the whole thing.  I only had to help her with 4 or 5 words.
    That evening, we went out for gelato!

     Then yesterday, she started the Classic Start version of “Anne of Green Gables” (inspired by Aunt Kimmy’s generous gift!).  Truly!  She has read one page of it for the past 2 days!
     The lesson that I learned was not to fear going backwards.  Sometimes it takes going backwards, and not being humiliated to do so, to move forwards.   Sometimes you just have to give in to the fact of where you or someone else is, and not send the message, “But you OUGHT to be somewhere else!”  That never works.  Instead, we have to accept the reality of where we are, and then figure out how to take the next step!  The gentleness of this approach seemed, in the case, to help her not just take one step, but take a hundred overnight.  That gives me hope!