Reluctant Reader

Our 9 y.o. is a reluctant reader. She loves to be read to; she just doesn’t like to read herself. She knows her alphabet and all the sounds quite well (and has for a couple of years). She can sound out words. In fact, she can read. She just doesn’t like to and I’ve overheard her actually tell people she can’t. This makes the Headmistress wince, which is probably the goal. The Headmaster and Headmistress have for years enjoyed shocking their offspring by such acts as Public Displays of mushy, gushy, and sloppy Affection; singing aloud all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody (complete with air guitar playing by the accomplished Headmaster); and the recurring threats of the Headmaster to get his ear pierced. With parents Like That, I suppose it’s only natural that the progeny would also engage in attempts to shock the parents.

I’ve tried many and varied methods to interest the First Year Girl in reading. We read aloud several books every day, and I always stop at cliff hanging moments, the idea being to tempt her to read ahead in her own time. We check out so many books from the library that it takes one or two laundry baskets a week to carry them all. We’ve practiced reading with McGuffey Readers, Amelia Bedilia, George & Martha, Curious George, variousI Can Readbooks (No Fighting, No Biting has been a favorite at our house for twenty years), fairy and folk tales, Bible verses, and Aesop’s Fables, among others.

In the early days of teaching reading, I keep a stack of index cards nearby and as we learn new phonetical constructions I write down corresponding words on the cards- one word per card. Then we spend a few minutes arranging those cards into sentences of our choosing. First I pick out some cards and make a silly sentence which she has to read. Then she has a turn to pick out cards and make her own sentence which I have to read. All her older siblings liked this game, and none of them ever realized that they were actually getting more reading practice when it was their turn to make up sentences.

Some of the sentences we have made up with these cards include things like:

The fat cat sat on Dad’s hat. The hat is flat. Dad is mad. Run, cat! The cat hid in a vat. Dad got the cat. The cat is sad. Dad is glad.

The hen had ten eggs in a nest. Mom fell on an egg. It was a mess. The hen has 9 eggs in the nest.

Not stellar literature, certainly. I think it’s fun for children to have a chance to play with words in this way and make up things Mom has to read, then reshuffle the cards and make up a new combination. This is a good way to learn that words have meaning and that we each use the written word to communicate with others.

We also have practiced tandem reading, where I read a few sentences and then point to a word or phrase that I know the child can read and have her finish the reading.

Recently, I realized we had two copies of The Wind and the Willows, which is one of our read aloud books. So I’ve been reading aloud from one copy, slowly, dramatically, with much expression and vocal elucidation, while she follows along in her own copy. The first day we did this she lost her place about a dozen times in just one page of reading. The next time, she only lost her place about three times. The last time we did it, we read four pages and she only lost her place once.

This morning, I heard her saying,

“Two little eyes to look to God;
Two little ears to hear his word;
Two little feet to walk in his ways;
Two little lips to sing his praise;
two little hands to do his will
And one little heart to love him still.”

I smiled to myself, and then I heard

“North and south and east and west,
May your holy name be blest;
Everywhere beneath the sun,
As in heaven, your will be done.”

by William Canton, and I realized that I’d never taught her these two verses, and I didn’t think anybody else had, either.

I surreptitiously glanced up from what I was doing, not wanting to distract her by catching me paying attention to her. I was quietly thrilled to see that she was curled up on the couch with two of her dolls, reading- reading– aloud to them from this book:

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Updates on Mae Magouirk

At this point Mrs. Magouirk is, according to the updates I’m reading, out of the hospice (which is legally, from what I am reading, only for patients who are terminal, which Mrs. Magouirk wasn’t) and in a hospital being rehydrated.

The hospice she was in says they were not starving or dehyrdating her, but were giving her ice chips and jello. The hospital where she is now says she came to them badly dehydrated, so it seems that wasn’t enough. This may be because she was also on Morphine at the hospice, according to the updates I’m reading, which include the Birmingham News.

Blogs for Terri has more, including a generous offer from Judge Boyd in this case, to share his general opinions with them some time today. Check back there to see what he has to say. I am sad to say that some troglodytes wrote to the Judge to share such intellectual insights as “You are a murderer.” The Deputy Headmistress trusts that readers of this blog understand why letters of that sort receive a Failing Grade.

Meanwhile, more other interesting developments:

Ken Mullinax is the nephew who first alerted Blogs for Terri and other pro-life groups about his aunt’s plight, and continued to provide updates, including this telephone message sent to WorldNetDaily (a publication with a track record of interesting but not always accurate stories) on April 9th:

“Because of your articles and all of the friends of Terri, my Aunt Mae Magouirk is now in the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center and is receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help. We are overjoyed.

Praise be the name of the Lord, praise be all of the friends of Terri Schindler [Schiavo]. We could never have mobilized public sentiment and pressure on these people in LaGrange, Ga. – at Hospice, the LaGrange, Ga., doctors or the probate judge – unless the friends of Terri and the wonderful media of had become involved. Thank you all.”

You can hear an interview with him here.

On April 8th Tom Maguire at Just One Minute asked an important question, “Just who is Tom Mullinax?”

Well, we don’t know for certain, but Tom says that a press spokesman named Ken Mullinax worked for the Democratic candidate for the Third District in Alabama and former Democratic Congressman Ike Hilliard of the Seventh District and:

“…the Third District seems to be near Birmingham (where Ms. Magouirk might be moved), and is just over the state line from LaGrange, GA, where the legal and medical drama is unfolding.

In the final campaign week of 2004 there was a housefire at the home of a Democratic candidate (that home was also used as campaign headquarters). There was no evidence of foul play according to police reports, but some local Democrats believed otherwise, which makes Tom Maquire wonder if there might be some hard feelings behind a possible attempt to yank some Republican chains.

So Tom wants to know if this is the same Ken Mullinax.
In fact, he emailed Mr. Mullinax to ask just that question (and others- see Just One Minute for the rest).

Maguire says,

” Mr. Mullinax ducked my specific question about Hilliard and Fuller, but told me that he was an aide to Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gov. George Wallace (Dem.) and has been a public servant in Birmingham and Washington for many years. I have sent off a follow-up asking Mr. Mullinax if he could focus on a yes/no response to my seemingly simple questions – did he work for Ike Hilliard and Bill Fuller?

Time will tell. [And what time tells us, via an e-mail from a diligent “Save Mae” blogger, is that Mr. Mullinax confirmed his Democratic Party work in a phone conversation.]?”

Which is all very interesting, if perhaps utterly inconclusive. AFter all, as one of Tom Mcquire’s commenters notes,

“Even if it were a hoax what would the accusation be? That we’re all overly concerned about the health and welfare of an 81 year old ill woman? That would be something to be ashamed of?”

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I agree with Senator John Kerry

Many voters in last year’s presidential election were denied access to the polls through trickery and intimidation, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told a voters’ group Sunday.
“Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated,” the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters.

From this article which I found at Powerline.

He’s right- many voters were denied access to the polls. Other voters had their votes cancelled when fraudulent votes were counted, and still others didn’t get their votes counted at all.


… in Orlando, Florida approximately 100 protestors stormed and ransacked the local Bush-Cheney headquarters injuring one campaign staffer who suffered a broken wrist and causing considerable damage.

According to news accounts, similar “protests” occurred yesterday across the country in Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; Kansas City, MO; Dearborn, MI; St. Paul, MN; Independence, MO; and West Allis, WI. All of the “protests” appear to be a coordinated effort by members of a major labor union to intimidate staff and volunteers of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The AFL-CIO took credit on their own website for these protests that included thousands of workers in 17 cities across the country.


… vandals smashed a large glass door with a section of cinder block at the Republican Party headquarters in downtown Flagstaff…
…Fliers with information criticizing President Bush were stacked up outside the door.

Item: In Oregon a REpublican office had its windows smashed in, following

“weeks of harassment, including threatening phone calls and people walking into the office and ripping up signs.”

Democratic officials said it was just an excuse for Republicans to avoid talking about lost jobs and health care issues.

Item: From Colorado tales of Bush/Cheney signs torched, cars with Bush/Cheny stickers keyed, windows broken, and a child threatened in school after her mother spoke against illegal immigration.


Third party organizations, especially ACT, ACORN, and NAACP engaged in a coordinated “Get Out The Vote” effort. A significant component of this effort appears to be registering individuals who would cast ballots for the candidate supported by these organizations. This voter registration effort was not limited to registration of legal voters but, criminal investigations and news reports suggest, that this voter registration effort also involved the registration of thousands of fictional voters such as the, now infamous, Jive F. Turkey, Sr., Dick Tracy and Mary Poppins. Those individuals registering these fictional voters were reportedly paid not just money to do so but were, in at least one instance, paid in crack cocaine.

Incidentally, Blogs for Bush says that “I’m a Sore Loser” is a more accurate title for that “Kerry Campaign Lessons” article linked at the top of this entry.

All of the above is just the windup to a story I’ve been meaning to mention for the last week or so, especially for the benefit of our friends in Washington.

That story is, of course, the governor’s election, which rivals anything that happened in Florida at any time. If you are at all interested in this story and you haven’t bookmarked Sound Politics, hurry up and get that done.

John Fund, of the WSJ, has an article kind of summarizing all the fraud and mishaps to date, but you really want to read through Sound Politics to get the full scope of this mess. It’s much more fascinating than a train wreck.

For example, there’s this. The election was certified based on a Mail Ballot Report which purported to clear up some accusations that absentee ballots were lost in this governor’s election. According to that report, every vote was accounted for. Turns out that they tallied those votes and cleared up all confusion much the same way I first tried to balance my checkbook for my first checking account (I think I was about 17). As reported in the Seattle Times:

The Mail Ballot Report, which showed every absentee ballot accounted for, didn’t report the correct number of ballots returned by voters. Instead, it simply added the number of ballots counted and the number rejected to show a perfectly matching number of ballots returned.

Months after the election, King County voting officials discovered 93 uncounted ballots in a warehouse. They already had a problem with some 800 more absentee ballots than there were absentee voters.

Election Officials have changed their stories more time than I can count, one of them being this little item:

King County Elections now acknowledges that crediting voters was an integral part of the ballot counting process after the November 2004 election, for both absentee and polling place voters.

This acknowledgement is huge. It implicitly confirms that the discrepancy of 1,800+ ballots in excess of credited voters is a substantive number that reflects the result of the ballot counting. And it implicitly retracts King County’s longstanding explanation for the discrepancy that “voter crediting is just a “post-election file-maintenance chore” that “has nothing to do with ballot-counting”.

Sound Politics also offers a very helpful tool where Washington voters can check to see if their ballots counted.

Lt. Bryan Suits, recently home from combat in Iraq, used it to discover that his general election absentee ballot was not counted. Actually, what he saw in the database search result was a hash mark… curious, he called King County elections, who confirmed that although his vote was counted in the primary, he was not credited with voting in the November election.

Lt. Bryan Suits received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in Iraq. In Washington State he’s

a talk show host on KVI 570, nightly 6-9 pm. During his time in Iraq, he gave boots-on-the-ground reports to KVI, Fox News, Tony Snow’s radio show, BBC, and other media.

His wife is a police officer, who mailed his ballot for him in plenty of time for King County to receive it. This story just might get very interesting.

If you’re a Washington voter, and especially if you voted absentee, use Sound Politics’ voter look up tool (referenced just a couple paragraphs above) and find out what happened to your ballot. And be sure to let Stefan Sharkansky know how much you appreciate his coverage and bulldogged determination to see to it that King County officials not get away with sloppy or possibly fraudulent work.

A commentor at Captain’s Quarters reminds us that “70 days ago, John Kerry promised (on NBC’s Meet the Press) to sign form SF-180 and release his military records. He has yet to do so.”

Update: One of Senator Kerry’s allegations was that a flier was passed around telling Democrats they could only vote on Wednesdays.

Michelle Malkin reports:

James Taranto thinks Kerry learned about the alleged flyers from this satirical story, which appeared in The Onion a week before the election.

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The thesis and outline for my geography research paper are due on Tuesday. Creating outlines is not my favorite part of academics, but I do enjoy the challenge of developing a thesis. It gives me a goal: this is what my paper is about, this is what I have to prove.

My paper is on Finland, with the possibility of an excursion to Estonia. Because my thesis isn’t due until Tuesday morning, I haven’t finished it yet. ha.

Besides all the homework and the outline, the only trouble with writing a research paper on a country is how much of an urge I have to just go visit it instead of reading about it.

Up into the cherry-tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.

I saw the next-door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers before my eye.
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky’s blue looking-glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people tramping into town.

If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips
Into the sea among the ships.

To where the roads on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
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Eph 2:18-22:
For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner {stone,}
in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

John W. Thompson, Randy Scruggs


Exd 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You

It is you, Lord
Who came to save
The heart and soul
Of every man
It is you Lord
who knows my weakness
Who gives me strength,
With thine own hand.

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and Holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for you

Lead Me on Lord
From temptation
Purify me
From within
Fill my heart with
You holy spirit
Take away all my sin

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You

©1982 Whole Armor Publishing Company (Admin. by The Kruger Organisation, Inc. (TKO))
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
CCLI song #24140

Listen to it (and join along) here. It’s number 15.

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