Sunday, October 7, 2007

I've created a bookworm!

Well, you might recall that I mentioned my daughter (dd) and the fact that she is adopted and that she has special needs. Well, I just wanted to share with you an amazing milestone.

When she first came to live with us, she didn't have any stories to tell about her own life. All of her stories about "her" life were taken from TV shows. For example, when we had sparklers for the 4th of July, she told us a story about "herself" that was almost a verbatim recitation of a scene from a movie that DH had recently seen, where a little girl does cartwheels with sparklers, and dances. She told us how she always does cartwheels and dances when she has sparklers, and described exactly the same scene as the movie. Then when we handed her a sparkler, she was terrified, LOL.

She had no interests at all except TV and movies. And the kicker was that she could not read at all and she could not write. At age 8. Not a bit. She had been attending a special day treatment center where academics weren't as important as good behavior, and so she really had no reason and no encouragement to read or write.

I set out right away to change that. When she misbehaved, she always had to write an essay about what happened, what she was feeling, and what she needed to do different next time. We started a routine bedtime story. And required her to read for 30 minutes every day, whether it was a school day or not. Oh how she fought to not have to read!!!! But now it's just another part of her day. She comes home, does her homework, and then reads for a half hour, usually out loud, because when we started the "read every day" rule, we only knew if she was really reading if she was reading out loud.

This fall, she took some standardized tests at school and for the first time ever, her reading score fell into the "low normal" category, and so we had a celebration to recognize all her hard work.

Tonite, though, took the cake. DH was driving one of his friends home, and I needed to take a nap before work. DD was home and was instructed to be quiet and not wake me up unless someone was bleeding or the house was on fire.....I woke up shortly before her bedtime, and went to get her ready for bed, and there she was, lying on the couch, reading a chapter book!!!! And nobody made her do it. And she wasn't grounded from the TV. She was reading because it was a "good story". I have just been beaming from ear to ear!!!