Today, at lunch, the kids were listening to Peter Pan. Knowing that I could not hear any of them ask questions with a CD playing, the elders started writing down their questions and I started writing the answers. It was then that I noticed that the youngest, she who does not like reading aloud lest she receive any sort of feedback (positive or otherwise) whatsoever, was attempting to read all the questions and answers herself. She was doing quite well too. Still, I knew if I said anything, she would demure.
So I wrote it down to see what would happen.
AHA!!! Apparently feedback in writing is not an issue.
I spent the next 20 minutes writing questions for her to answer. She quickly read each question, barely stopping to sound out words or check my face for expressions that might reveal evaluation. The little perfectionist simply did not feel threatened by our written exchanges.
It makes sense. She is a natural conversationalist. She has always loved a good chat, even before she could talk and would just babble her way through, happy as a clam.
If you have a perfectionist who is learning to read, I recommend writing him or her casual notes, with questions that can be easily answered. I ended up preparing her entire lunch based upon her answers -- and she ended up doing a lot of clandestine reading. It is also helpful to use words you know your child can successfully read and add clues for words about which you are not sure. Blueberry felt so confident about her reading today that she breezed through a book with me tonight.