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Henry and his wife, Susan hanging out in the garden.
Yes, they're both taller than I am.
How you can easily build
the love of reading and learningin your family
A practical method of discipleship & mentoring;
how to build relationships with children while you read and discuss a story with them.
"The Reading Progression,
Window of Opportunity,
and the Breaking Point."
before they happen.
How true learning occurs
Born in 1952, I grew up in Pennsylvania. Dad diedwhen
I was six and Mom remarried, which is why I havetwo
last names. I have a high school diploma, but I chose to
drop out of college for a number of reasons, one being
I didn’t like studying. I was able to fake my way through
high school, but college is hard when you don’t read the
textbooks. During my 3 months of college, a friendgot
me infected with his love of reading which was a turning
point in my life. Reed (his real name) gaveme his listof
favorite books. Starting with The Hobbit by Tolkien, I
began my love of reading.
Seven years later, I got to share my love of reading with a friend’s 6 year old son. Crazy about Dr. Seuss, he loved being read to. After the 50th reading of Green Eggs and Ham, I told Jeffrey, “We’re going to read a book Henry likes.” When he saw The Hobbit, he panicked, “I can’t read that big book.” I told him, “You can do this, because we will read it together. It will be fun and easy.” Sentence by sentence, we read it together, talking about what we learned. Instead of worrying about him learning to read, I just wanted him to understand and like the story. Finishing 8 months later, the boy who started out knowing “is, and, and a” was reading and understanding every word in the book. In 2nd grade, he tested many levels above his grade on reading and comprehension on the national exams.
Fast forward to 1996 and my first son, Xander, turned six. I remembered the fun I had with Jeffrey and what a great reader he had become. Out came The Hobbit and the adventure began. Three years later it was Brian’s turn, and again the amazing results repeated themselves. The boys were so busy loving this wonderful story, they never noticed they were learning to read. There was no pain—no workbooks or grammar lessons; no vocabulary tests, no humiliation from having to read out loud in front of others who might laugh at them. Just a father and a son enjoying a great story together. Not surprisingly, these boys grew up unafraid of reading, and they naturally developed a strong vocabulary.
Other parents would ask how my boys learned to read so well, so I wrote down how I did it and started giving out what I called Point to Reading. I realized there is a purpose, or point, to reading. That purpose is to learn from great minds and enjoy their stories. If reading is made unpleasant—a difficult and boring task—people simply give up on it. By making it about boring workbooks, readers and tests, we’ve forced our kids to take this bad-tasting medicine, while telling them it’s good for them. I believe this is the main reason so many American adults dislike reading. Every year I read the news stories: Testing scores continue to drop; Americans score near the bottom of 30 industrialized nations; Nearly 70% of eighth graders read below the level expected for their grade; Painfully common in our prisons is an inability to read above a basic, elementary level. Many who graduate high school can’t read the diploma they are given. If we believe that education and knowledge are the keys to a successful future, then we should fear for our country and our children—if we don’t change what we are doing.The good news is that this change is fun and easy for you and your kids.
I offer Point to Reading as an answer to the decline of education in America. Please understand this: Point to Reading is not a replacement for school, it is preparation for school so our kids can learn. Whether you choose to homeschool, or to enroll your child in a public or private school, the love of reading is an essential key to future success. If you think you need special degrees or training for your child to become a great reader, please know this—I am nobody special. I am a dad with no more than a high school diploma who learned to love reading and wanted to pass that love of reading on to his children. If your children are young, lock in that love of reading before they lose it. If they are already telling you “reading is boring” or “I’m no good at it”, take the time now to turn it around. Be that dad or mom who cares enough about your children’s future to give them a couple hours a week to grow a lifelong love of reading. Point to Reading works because it makes sense, and because it is fun and easy. If a guy with no special degrees can do this, then you can do it.