Persevering in the Face of Reading Challenges – Part 1
By Sarah DeGuzman, contributor
“One day it just clicked!” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say that and it makes me want to rip their face off. I know that sounds horrible and I shouldn’t feel that way, but I’m trying to be honest here in the hopes that anyone else who is feeling this way will know that they are not alone.
There is no clicking going on in our house when it comes to reading for my first child. For him, learning to read has been more like a slow trek up a steep mountain. He has to work incredibly hard to move just a few feet up that mountain, while other kids are leaping to the top in one single bound because one day it just “clicked”. You might say “slow and steady wins the race,” but here’s the thing: It’s not a race.
Everyone’s going to get there eventually and as long as he’s making progress and keeping his happiness and confidence intact that’s all that matters. Then there are days when he slips and finds himself back at the bottom of the mountain despite all of the hard work and progress he has made. Those are the hardest days for both of us. It is heartbreaking for me and beyond frustrating for him.
I remember one year we tried a popular book for teaching reading and he made some progress, but ultimately we never finished it because half way through it became too hard and he wasn’t retaining the skills. At a neighborhood garage sale I spotted the same book in my neighbors garage and I asked her how it worked for them. She said, “Oh I got that book for my son, but then he ended up teaching himself to read before I got a chance to do it with him!”. Oh. That’s nice.
When you are struggling with something, it is infuriating to see other people doing it with ease. Whether it’s reading, fertility, or weight loss, you want to scream, “It’s not fair! I’ve been eating less and exercising more and Sally Sue down the street just lost ten pounds by eating cake!” I get it. We’ve all been there in one way or another.
Here’s the thing: Not everything is going to click for everyone and that’s ok. Just because it’s not clicking, and may never click, that doesn’t mean you won’t make it to the top of that mountain. It may not be easy but you will get there.
It can be discouraging when something seems to be “clicking” for other people while it’s a continuous uphill battle for you. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the neighbor whose kid that taught themselves to read might instead be struggling with something else. Maybe reading just “clicked” for them, but they may have issues with anger or math or diabetes or cancer or anxiety. The list goes on.
Everyone has things that come easily to them and things that will always require hard work and perseverance. And someone out there may be looking at you and wanting to rip your face off! Doesn’t that make you feel better?!
So try to focus on your child’s strengths, and practice gratitude for the struggles you don’t have. For that matter go ahead and practice gratitude for the struggles you do have, because they will teach you and your child patience, the value of hard work, and compassion for others and their unique challenges with things that just won’t click.
But I still don’t want to hear about your 2 year old who just read Harry Potter!
Continue to Part 2 of Persevering in the Face of Reading Challenges