The “Break-Up”


No, y’all this is not a post about past failed romances, (Not that I couldn’t pen quite the page-turner!) nor is it about the bust up between a nanny and her client (Though I’m sure there is a nanny out there with a heckuva story to tell!). No, pals, this is about my method for helping kiddos learn how to read!

I’ve been working with Doc a lot on his reading. Before “Rest Time” we take turns; he reads a page, then I read one. I’m already catching him memorizing whole books and then pretending he’s reading. I’m hip to his jive, and to head him off at the deceptive pass, I bought him the Bad Kitty box set (four books he has never read) to truly hone his reading skills. Step 1: Procure books the kiddos have not yet had the chance to commit to memory. Step 2: Help them develop good reading habits. In the first stages of reading, those habits include: 1) using index finger to keep track of your place, 2) sounding out each letter, and 3) using the Miss Cheryl Break-Up technique on longer words.

Kiddos get very intimidated when they see a big word up ahead. I’ve seen their little eyes distractedly scan ahead in the sentence and they are all nervous knowing that a longer word looms. Once we get to a longer one I cover all but the first syllable of the word with my finger so he/she can break it up, piece by piece. This helps him/her feel more confident, and eventually I no longer have to cover up the lengthier words, as the kiddo is more confident in his/her ability to break them up and sort them out!
The Break-Up also extends to spoken words as well! Though Rebel is a very articulate boy, at times he, and the other babies in my rotation, need help pronouncing words, and the longer the word, the harder it is for them to say. Months ago, while out for lunch, Rebel kept insisting that I get him a Buddhist. “Buddhist, please.” I kept asking him to repeat himself, but all spoken signs pointed to him wanting me to get him a Nirvana-seeking person of the School of Siddhartha. Finally I asked him to show me, and he walked right over to a pile of booster seats and pointed to them, looking at me as if I were anything but enlightened. I remembered the old Break-Up method and helped Reb not make this mispronunciation again. (Visions of Rebel surrounded by Buddhists monks, while slumped down in his boosterless chair swirled through my head.) So I had him sound it out, saying “boo,” over and over again, then “stir,” several times before putting the two syllables together. “Booster!”

Seeing the expression of accomplishment on Doc’s face after successfully breaking up and sounding out a written word, and the smile on Rebel’s mug when he was able to request elevated seating with ease, are such heart-melting moments. Who knew such happiness could result from a “Break-up”?


One Comment on “The “Break-Up””

  1. Aspen says:

    LOL!! Oh that little rascal.. He can break up every other word out there, but I don’t ever want him to stop saying “Che-woo”. That’s my favorite thing in the world.


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