Learning How to Read

Who knew it could be so hard to teach a six-year-old little boy how to read? A show of hands, please. Ok, you bunch of know-it-alls, hands down.

Maybe I'm delusional but I seriously didn't expect to discover such jaw-clenching frustration during this phase of my son's education. The truth is reality has become a mockery of my parental expectations. Maybe I thought he'd get it by osmosis or maternal telepathy (reading has always been so easy for me!). I'm not sure how I managed to convince myself he'd be able to grasp the intricacies of reading but I did. Not only would he be able to grasp all the rules, he'd get the exceptions, too.

Insert a big, fat "Ha!" here.

Oh, he's learning, but not as fast as the school seems to think he should. And I hate the feeling that they think my kid is dumb. Stupid. Challenged. I don't care what terminology you apply, it stinks just the same. He is none of these things. He's a boy. A very busy, easily distracted, eager to play, little boy.

I realize the school has to test him like a cowpoke herds cattle but I don't have to like it. Forcing him to meet state and federal regulations at the expense of his self-confidence pisses me off. He's learning. He can read his sight words and then some. Admittedly, he has some trouble with his vowel sounds: he can't keep them straight.

And the rules...by golly, the rules are totally escaping him. Simple rules like "if there's an e on the end, the vowel in the middle says it's name." This one trips him up every time!

I don't know how to help him. He reads to me, I read to him. We do flashcards. I found online books for him to read. I take him to the library.

What can I do to help him learn this stuff? Why is he not getting it?

Begin Minor Side-Rant:
This year in addition to learning how to read, they've given him spelling words. Not a big deal except when they send home this week's list with same-sounding words like there and their. Is it just me or does it seem a wee bit early for this kind of trickery? There's no conceivable way kids who are just learning how to read are going to be able to use these words in their proper context. Asking them to is asinine.
End Minor Side-Rant.