Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Mom, please don’t embarrass me."

I’m not sure if my 14 year old son, Chris, is impressed or appalled that I’m blogging … but I do know that he’s intrigued. At breakfast this morning he asked if I was going to talk about him online. “Do you not want me to?" I asked. “It depends,” he said, “are you going to tell them that it took me a long time to learn how to read?”

Here are three things you probably don’t expect me to confess right off the bat: (1) the biggie — when it came time to teach Chris to read, I never used Hooked on Phonics … which isn’t why he struggled by the way; Chris is (2) dyslexic and my husband and I — along with Chris’ teachers — had a difficult time trying to get him to read until he was diagnosed; and (3) as parents, we felt completely ill-prepared when it came to helping our son learn to read at home (never mind the dyslexia). But we did try (and try and try and try), which is the most important thing.

So, with your encouragement (and participation), that’s what I’d like this blog to focus on: trying to get our kids to read. While we have a number of ideas on that (ahem, an entire series of Learn to Read systems under the Hooked on Phonics brand), it’s not the only solution so I’m planning to share this space with teachers, reading specialists, award-winning children’s book authors, our friends from literacy organizations and you. Yes, you — if you want to share your experience with other parents — we’d love to have you post. Likewise, since I’m following a number of you already, we can add you to the blog roll.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I do want to introduce you to my friends and colleagues here as well — in their own right, they’re former reading specialists, teachers, children’s book authors, curriculum developers and, of course, parents — many of whom have just wrapped up a year-long (multi-million dollar) labor of love reengineering how we deliver the phonics platform in fun (but still educationally sound), interactive ways. This blog will publish a “Developer’s Diary” to share the process, thinking and people behind this massive undertaking; we’ll also preview some of those elements with you.

Before we left the house, I reminded Chris that he’s not alone in the world — more than 40 million American children and adults are dyslexic (including one of my heroes, Walt Disney, and some of Chris’ — Orlando Bloom and Tom Cruise). “Some people just have to try harder than others but the point is to try, and where we can, help others get ahead.” “Well,” he said, “if it helps people to know that you tried to the point of tears, I guess I don’t mind.”

More tears. Proud mom. And always a Mom!

Judy L. Harris

1 comment:

Ed Bisquera said...

Awesome to see you so honest and transparent in your quest to help your son learn to read. I know it took my son a little longer than my daughter to read, but both now enjoy the thrills of reading.

I decided to spend a day reading to my son's class and the other 1st and 2nd grade classes at his school, in honor of Dr Seuss birthday, in the National Read Across America Day.

I have to tell you that was a great experience, sharing the love of reading, especially fully dressed up in a "Cat in The Hat" suit! :-)

I look forward to hearing more about you through your company blog and here's a link to my picture in the "Cat in The Hat" suit.

Ed in Cat in The Hat."

Best wishes to you and your son and hope he isn't too embarrassed, now that you're a full-time blogger! ;-)