Thursday, February 27, 2014

Required Reading Challenge

"Let it go! Let it go! Can't hold it back anymore! Let it go! Let it go!"

Like most kids these days, my sons love the movie Frozen; and if I let them, they will watch it over and over not just every day by several times a day!

I was getting a little bit worried about their increase tv time.

I wanted them to spend more time playing and reading.

I have asked them to do activities related to the movie (i.e. drawing Olaf and other characters from the movie and writing their names). But I think that they were still watching too much tv.
So, I challenged my eldest son to a reading challenge.
I brought out one of his reading programs again and reminded him of these books. I told him that if he is able to read aloud to me all the 10 books in his reading program in 7 days, he could have unlimited play on a Saturday or Sunday at Active Fun, BGC.
My sons loves playing there that's why I used that as reward for the challenge.
As soon as he heard what he could get as his reward, he wasted no time and grabbed a book right there in the middle of our living room.
He started reading even before I was ready to listen to him. So I hurriedly finished what I was doing so I can focus on listening to him.

We sat in the living room with his younger brother as he read to me. He finished reading one book. Then, he got another one... and another one... and another one. I think he has read around 5-6 books already when I asked him if he wants to rest for a while and resume later or the next day.

He said that he still wants to read. He wants to finish reading all 10 books that day according to him.

I told him that he still has a number of days to achieve his goal. But he was bent to finish reading all 10 books right away. So, I just let him.

He was reading fast. There were times when I would remind him to pause or stop at punctuation marks. There were also some words that he was not able to pronounce correctly but he was doing his best to read even unfamiliar words and I was happy to see and hear him persevere in reaching his goal.

I taught him the correct way of reading some words and reminded him how to read when there are periods.

The result: My eldest son read all 10 books in an hour!

This reading program was given to me in 2012 and my son and I have read these books that year. But because we moved to a new house, most of our books are still in boxes. I consciously brought these out so my son can read them again.


The reading levels were: Starter, Progressive and Champion. There were 3 books under the first two levels and 4 books in the last.

I was very impressed! I was not surprised that he was able to read the books because my son  has been reading since he was 2 years old. I was surprised at the determination he showed to achieve his goal!

He finished reading just in time for our lunch so during lunch and after, I decided to test his retention and comprehension on what he read. I asked him questions. To which, he answered impressively as well.

Let me share some of the information that he shared to me when I asked him about what he learned from the books he read.

"Spiders have 8 legs."

"An octopus has 8 tentacles."

"A lion is a big cat that weighs 400 pounds. The baby lion is called a cub."

"The baby shark is called a pup." 

Then, I remembered what his developmental pediatrician told me. Gifted children has very good retention skills. I was also glad to find out that he understood most of what he read because it moved him to ask me more questions about the topics he read. There were science materials included in the program and he asked me follow up questions to some of them. In truth, I didn't know the answers to most of his follow up questions so I told him that we'll research for the answers.

Here's are some examples of his questions:

"What's the weight of sharks and dolphins?"

"What do lions eat?"
 "Should we be afraid of skeletons?"

"What happens when the arteries are blocked?"

I realized as I looked back that he was really thinking and processing the information that he was reading even though he was reading fast. He was not only asking me questions after he finished reading but also along the way. I was delighted to hear him ask questions because that meant that he was curious and he wanted to find out more. Those are the foundations of learning.

Later, I told him that he should also read the starter books to his younger brother so that Mateo would also learn the things that he learned.

That was yesterday.

Today, although he has already finished reading all the books in our challenge, he still read them again. He read them to his younger brother. He actually continued reading even after his younger brother lost interest in listening to him and was already nursing from me.

He just kept o reading again... And the sight of him reading because he wanted to gave me joy.

My heart was filled with joy because I witnessed my son enjoying an activity that also fills me with much joy when I do it -- reading. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Reading was instrumental in shaping my personality, my character and even my career. I believe that I am the person that I am now because of the books I read. I believe that I became an author/writer because I loved reading.

I'm excited for my son! I'm excited for I know that reading would open many doors to him. It would enable him to discover many exciting things and teach him a lot of new things/skills.

I'm glad that I thought of this reading challenge. I think I'm going to do this either weekly or every other week. I'm confident that my boy would respond positively to the challenge again next time; so, I'd better fix our schedule so as not to disappoint him and grant him his reward as promised.

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