Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's amazing every time
P. has become the newest reader in our home. There are still a lot of words that she needs help with (have you ever tried to sound out 'laugh'?), but there are many words she knows on sight plus any word that is pronounced phonetically. I have noticed there is one moment in time when several things fall together...when things just 'click'. It's at that moment I know, although the child is currently reading easy readers, the time is very short until that child is reading completely independently. What are those things? First is when a child starts to really notice the words around them. For instance, when we are driving along and I become aware that words along the way are being seen and read. It sometimes seems that before this point, the child doesn't even see the words, much less is able to read them. Next, is a willingness to keep practicing. At first, with all my children, initial lessons in reading are not a favorite activity; it's not something any one of them has begged to do. But we keep plugging away in very short lessons (no more than 5-10 minutes a day). Then one day, I realize it is the child who is driving the reading lessons. He or she will have found a book that they really want to read, past looking at the pictures, so they are asking me for help. (I purposefully try to never read our easy readers out loud as storybooks so they retain that mystery.) Finally, there is that actual moment when the child can just read certain words...no sounding out...no work...they just can't help knowing what the word says. Life will never be the same for P; a whole new world has opened up for her. I am amazed every time, because it often happens just at the point where I resign myself to endless years of basic phonics lesson. I also feel so blessed that I am the one who gets to share this miraculous moment with my child and not anyone else. Four down, three to go.