With all of my kids, teaching them to read has been an adventure and a struggle. I suppose that is the way it is for most things dealing with children. They struggle along until your sure you are going to pull out your hair and then "poof" a light bulb is turned on and "ha-ah!" Mark was the first and I was sure he had severe learning disabilities. Now he reads every chance he gets. Jack I thought would never get reading, simply because, to him, reading was a waste of his time. It wasn't until he stumbled upon a great series that he took off. Emma, as did the others is struggling along. It is not that she can't read. She reads, actually much better than her brother's at the same age. She just would rather have some read to her.

Daily we fight at reading time. A habit which I believe she rather enjoys. Why else would she challenge me so? This quarter Emma's class has been assigned to read Bibliography of a famous person. She chose George Washington. I would have chosen someone different for her but I am sure I would have been WRONG! We set out to read yesterday. The preparation for the event is, I assure you almost as frustrating as the reading itself. We must have the right pillows, the right lighting, the right blanket to cover us with, a drink in case we get parched, and so on. Yesterday was no different. Once settled in she began to read. It went a little something like this....

excerpts from: How to Draw the Life an Times of George Washington
by Philip Abraham

And she began.
"In 1789, Washington was elected to be the first president of the United States."

"WoW! I didn't know that." she exclaims.
"Yes. Isn't that wonderful."
"Why would it be wonderful? Maybe for him. Not for me."
"OK, keep reading Emma."

"George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington..."
"Mom? Why does his mom have three names?"
"Ball was her maiden name, Emma. Please continue."
"Ok. But mom? What is a maiden name?" she asked
and so I explained and she started again.

"George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington on February 22, 1732."

"Wow, Mom, that was even before you were born!"
"Yes, Emma it was. Please continue."
"Mom, was it before your mom was born?"
" Yes Emma."
"Ok, but mom? Was it before your mom's mom was born?"
"Yes, Emma."
"How about Great-Grandma?"
"Yes Emma that is my Mom's mom. Keep reading."

So she read two more sentences and we came to " In 1754, a war broke out between Britain and France over land in America."

"I hate war don't you."
"Yes Emma"
"Why do people have war mom?"
"I have no idea. Keep reading Emma."

"During this war, Washington and his men attacked some French soldiers on May 28, 1754. Ten French soldiers were killed.."

"Oh Mom! That is so SAD!"
"Yes it is Emma."
"Why do people have to DIE!"she asked, as real tears start so flow, REAL TEARS!
"Emma that was a long time ago. Would you rather read later?"
"No now is fine." Sniff

".. and 21 were taken prisoner,"
"That is just so mean!" she exclaims but continues on.

"In 1755, he became an aide to Major General Edward Braddock. Braddock's goal was to drive the French out of Fort Duquesne. Instead, on July 9, 1755,

"Hey, that's my birthday!"
"Yes it is Emma. Keep going."

"..the French and their Indian allies kill Braddock and many other soldiers."

"He died on my Birthday! That is so sad! I cannot believe it."
"Yes Emma it is sad. Keep going you're almost done with this page."
"Mom? How old was Mr Braddock?"
"I don't know Emma?"
"Why don't they tell us?"
"Because it is a book about George Washington, not Braddock."
A few sentences later..

"In 1759, he married widow Martha Dandridge Custis... "

"Mom? My friend Mikaela cannot play on Sundays."
"I'm sorry."
"Mom? What's a Mormon?"

And it is there I got up and left. Perhaps we will never no more than that about President Washington but then and there I didn't care. My patience was exhausted and so was I.

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