Creatively Encouraging Reading and Writing.

Reading Writing Practice

Considering the fact that she was bred from an Accountant and an Engineer, it’s no surprise that Ali prefers math over reading and writing. Although we’ve made some headway in this area, she still just doesn’t enjoy it, and tends to rebuff all of my efforts in her literary education.

This creates Dread and Drudgery for All.

So, to overcome D & D, I’ve had to come up with some covert strategies.

1. Putting the White Crayon to use.

Ali is annoyed by the existence of the white crayon. It won’t show up when she colors with it, so therefore it serves no purpose. If it were up to her, white crayons would be banished from the face of the earth.

So I decided to change her opinions by using them to create one of her favorite things: a mystery.

I wrote her a note with a white crayon, then told her to paint the sheet of paper, promising that there would be a secret message awaiting her.

She was a little skeptical at first, seeing as the Evil Crayon of White was involved.


But she was intrigued (and a little apologetic to the poor disdained crayon) as a message began showing up…


She read the message gleefully, completely unaware that I was tricking her into reading practice.


Then she asked for another, and another.


After a while, she caught onto my evil trickery, so then insisted that she do the note-writing. If you insist…

2. Secret Decoding Sheets.

I recycled this trick from two years ago. At the time, I used it to covertly encourage her to practice letter writing. It works just as well to get her to practice reading.

She watches excitedly as I create the legend, pointing out what shapes I’ve left out in her usual OCD fashion.


I create the secret message, hand her a marker, and she goes to work.


She’s also created her own haphazardly spelled secret message or two, but usually gets distracted before she finishes it, thereby making it extremely secret.

3. Easel School

My Dad made Ali a fabulously crafted easel for Christmas, causing Melissa & Doug to cringe with shame. Ali loves her easel, and begs me for “easel school” assignments.

At first, we did spelling practice, and I would simply call out words for her to spell. But I also like to give her the opportunity to “freeform” spell, sounding out words for herself, whether right or wrong. So I started giving her phrases and poems to write while I was purposefully out of the room and unavailable for spelling consultation.

I then had a rare moment of brilliance, and had her practice writing her Cubbies Bible verses – good for writing practice and for working on memorization.


“Love each other as I hev loved you”
“I am with you oways”
“We ott to love wun unother”

I LOVED it. So much so that I immediately started pondering how we could frame it or mod podge it to canvas or something.

She enjoyed writing her bible verses, so we came up with a plan: what better way to thank Gramamma, who is also her Cubbies leader, than by giving her this as a gift?

Ali worked on a new copy for a week, writing out every verse that she’s learned this year.

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Of course she didn’t come up with all of the verses on her own – I would read a verse to her and let her freeform spell it.


We finally finished, and were both quite excited about her masterpiece.


We got a frame from Michael’s (sadly without encountering Michael’s Lady),


and then wrapped and stickered it.


(Ali doesn’t give un-bedazzled gifts.)

Clearly, I got some serious Daughter of the Year votes for that gift, and Ali was unassumingly schooled and bibled – my evil scheming played out perfectly.

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