I hate phonics. I know that God has blessed me with talents, but teaching phonics is not one of them. Nor is teaching children to read. Not my gift. I love kids, I love teaching, and I love reading, but not the combination of the three. I prefer to work with older children with concepts and ideas. Ironically, I find myself faced with the task of teaching many children to read here. Or I suppose more accurately, to fill in the gaps for children such as a 14 year old girl in the 3rd grade who lacks the ability to decipher unknown words and recognize letter sounds. I will literally have to start at ABC with some of these kids.
I lack patience in reading with kids who can’t read, just wanting them to hurry up and spit out the words! I spent an entire hour listening to a young man read a simple Dr. Seuss book today. I suffered (as they would say in Ghana). But, then I realized my attitude. That is exactly what I am here for-to fill in the gaps in their education where individual attention and tutoring are lacking. There are children who came out of slavery in the north who didn’t start school until they were 8, or 12 and are perpetually behind. There is a list longer than I can manage of children who need help.
I will also be running the after-school reading program three days a week. It is a reading incentive program that rewards the kids with a free book of their own to take home after they have read and summarized 15 books. What it really translates into is a small, disorganized library packed with 50-75 children all looking to find the easiest way to get credit for a book summary. A formula for a headache. Tracking and recording all of their books and summaries as well as keeping the place organized and calm is trying.
There are 7 houses of children who need tutoring. Of each of the houses I have assessed those in greatest need of help. Each evening after supper and evening devotions I will visit a different house to work with these specific students.
I am making the choice to put aside my personal grudge against phonics in favor of the struggling student. But it won't be easy...