Field Guides: Reading In Spite of Learning Differences

She pedaled her bike through the wooded lane. Her sketch pad thumped her chest, tied by a string so her hands would be free to ride. Did she intend to create her very own field guides? Nope. Just scouring the landscape for wildflowers and butterflies she could draw.

Field Guides and Shells

Over the years, her passion for drawing exploded into dozens of sketch books, turning into an exploration of the anatomy of all God’s creatures. Field guides are just one of our family’s secret weapons in the battle to hook kids on reading.

Sea shells? Flags? Reptiles? Texas? There’s a field guide for every interest.

Yep, reading can definitely be a battle. Some kids are predisposed to NOT like reading. Dyslexia? ADHD? A zillion other learning differences. 

Does it matter? Nope. Not a bit. 

Why Not?

Anna Krafve Pierce explains. The goal is not the reading itself, no matter who you are. The goal is what you get out of it, according to my favorite educator and artist. 

“Reading can be driven by just enjoying to read. But for most of us, even those of us who it comes naturally to and it’s easy for, it’s driven by something else, like the story. Or the information, like an instruction manual,” she explains.

Any young moms who might wonder if their child is dyslexic, take heart. Today’s blog and interview are dedicated to you! We admire and affirm your devotion —your perseverance— to helping your child love reading!

In this episode, Anna shared a ton about how she helps dyslexic kiddos using spacial awareness in her classroom. Plus, how to protect your child from self-condemnation and self-inflicted defeat. She even finds an excuse to talk about horses at the barn! Find more interviews and podcasts at Fireside Talk Radio.

Creating Your Own Field Guides

“Do you remember all those hours I spent on my bike with my sketchbook? I tied a string around it–it was so dorky–and hung it around my neck. I tied my pen to it, so I wouldn’t have to hold it. So I wouldn’t crash,” she laughs.

Honestly, I had no idea. This was a new story for me. Oh, how I wish I had a picture!  

“I would find something I was interested in. I would draw it. Then, I would go back and find it (in our field guides) and I would write in there,” she explains. “It was like a sketch book that turned into a little field guide of things I was interested in of local nature,” Anna says.

In this way, she learned to see nature well enough to draw it.  

“I remember being by myself doing that,” she adds.   

How was I, her mom, so clueless? We think I just gave birth her baby brother in that era. Maybe she was escaping household chaos dominated by a crying newborn and diaper duty! 

Anna adds one more benefit of helping your kids create their own field guides. 

“You can encourage writing, too, which is a gateway to reading. Kids love to feel successful. It allows them ownership.”

Field Guides: A Family Passion

There are a lot of ways to get information. For a kid with dyslexia, dysgraphia or any learning differences, reading is tough. Field guides are a great example of information presented primarily in pictures.

Read the whole article here.

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