Sonlight with a Struggling Reader

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My little sister loves reading. If she has some free time, she'll open a book. Reading is one of her favorite ways to pass the day.


Not so much. In fact, I read very few books every year. It's hard work for me. I get exhausted easily. And it takes me forever; so even if I spent the day reading, I wouldn't have the satisfaction of reaching the end of the book. Movies are a much quicker way to get through a fun story.

Wait... aren't I one of the biggest proponents of Sonlight's literature-rich approach to homeschooling? Isn't Sonlight built around lots and lots of reading? Shouldn't I just adore books?

Yes. Yes. And, I do.

I love great books. It's the mechanics of reading that bog me down. Part of it has to do with my eyes not tracking together. This conflict in my vision wears me out when I read. Part of the problem is also how I read: One word at a time. I've long joked that I can write faster than I can read. And, who knows, there may be some other issue buried deep within my psyche or physiology that further hinders my reading.

In short: I struggled with reading. A lot.

Homeschooling provided my parents the flexibility to let me go at my own pace. It also allowed me to customize my studies so I could succeed, even if I wasn't doing it the traditional way. This meant my mom read many of my school books out loud to me. In high school, I took to listening to my books on tape. I love books, but reading is hard.

Thankfully, as a film major, I didn't have to read as much in college. In fact, it wasn't until a few years after getting married, purchasing some glasses with prism lenses, and reading the Bible out loud to Brittany every morning that my reading actually significantly improved.

But Sonlight was the perfect fit for me. I'm thankful my parents were able to share all that fantastic literature with me despite my struggle with reading.

If you have struggling readers, how has Sonlight been for them? Have you checked out Sonlight's Remedial Reading Program?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. Thanks to Debra for the inspiration for this post.

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Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad
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6 Responses to Sonlight with a Struggling Reader

  1. Cather says:

    Luke, my son has dyslexia and took much longer to learn to read than we expected. Until last year (7th grade), I didn't even try to get him to do the Sonlight readers. We used a variety of things to get him actually reading and then I had him read easier books until he was "caught up". Now (8th grade), he can read everything I ask him to (including the old Core 7 books that I'm giving him), but spelling, writing, and typing are issues. But, we can address them at his own speed here at home.

    We did find that doing read-alouds while he was young really helped with the rest of his reading skills. Once he was decoding, the rest of the reading was a breeze. We loved homeschooling our daughter with Sonlight because she is a voracious reader and now we love homeschooling our son (mostly) with Sonlight because reading is a challenge for him. It really works for us!

  2. Debra says:

    See, Luke, I did not know any of this. When my boys met you, they were so excited. It would have been even better for William if I had read this to him...

    For the record, I think Sonlight is absolutely beyond amazing for struggling readers. My kids (four of them anyway) have been listening to Sonlight probably 340 days of the year since they were babies (or even earlier).

    I totally credit the amazing books, the fabulous stories, the shared family memories for making it so that my two struggling readers are doing as much as they are. They LOVE books. We are adoring Core G this year, and they want in on the Core B books the little two are listening to as well.

    Yes, I read aloud the read-alouds, the history and the readers. It is so beyond worth it. And audiobooks are our homeschool's second-best friend (after Sonlight)...

    Thanks, Luke, for making me cry. Again. This is such an inspiration for me.

  3. Amy Jackiewicz says:

    Love this article! My son, Ethan, will be so happy to hear this. He loves books, especially the Sonlight curriculum, but struggles with reading. He has dyslexia, and I am very proud of him, because he still loves to read. Writing is the hardest thing for him, and that is why I help him with a lot of the writing assignments. This is an encouraging article, thank you :D

  4. Luke says:

    Catherine, I'm so glad to hear your son is doing so well with reading now. That is fantastic!

    Thanks, Debra! Is it okay that it makes me smile that my posts sometimes make you cry? <smile> I'm glad you were encouraged.

    Thank you, Amy. May Ethan continue to grow in his reading and writing skills!


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