Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
Reading: Fulfillment of a dream
I took this photo this morning. On a good day, we have about 20 extra minutes before Big Sister heads to kindergarten. We fill that time with Sister reading to her brother, an activity she enjoys doing.
Her reading journey has gone through three stages, so far.
We began with our reading her many books as a baby/toddler. In hindsight, I now know that if you ask a kindergarten teacher what you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten, you will be advised to read to your child every day. Far and above, it’s the single best thing you can do for your child.
Months before her third birthday she made it known she wanted a library card as a birthday gift.
Then, at 3-years-and-4-months-old she began reading Bob Books at home, and a little earlier at her Montessori preschool. Bob Books are designed to teach the basics of reading. We let her guide her own progress, choosing when to read or not. She chose to read to us a couple times a week at bedtime.
When she learned she would become a sister, we pitched the notion to her that she should practice more so she could read books to her future sibling. She took the goal to heart.
She became a great reader for her age, but one element was still missing. She always read to someone; she didn’t read for personal enjoyment.
The tide turned at the start of kindergarten last fall. Her English teacher has a book check-out program. She selects a book from the classroom library, reads it at home, Mom or Dad signs it off as read, and she returns it to check out another. Every day she was excited to read her teacher’s book, as if its coming from her teacher imbued it with magical qualities.
Here we are six months later. We’ve been told she’s at a fourth grade reading level, with regard for her ability to pronounce words she’s not seen before. Functionally, she’s reading the Flat Stanley series right now at bedtime, which is rated for ages 4 to 8. Chapter books are harder because she usually doesn’t complete them in one sitting.
She pulls books from our home library to read to herself. She pulls books to read to Dad when we go on a car trip (her idea). She reads to her brother in the morning before school. I reminded her today that all of this was a goal she set for herself and handily accomplished.
I accidentally left our hallway baby gate open. If it had been closed, my non-verbal son would have cried out when he jumped from the futon and tried to run down the hall… and I would have plopped him back on the couch with a warning.
Instead, he ran to his room and fetched a Viking hat for his sister. Then he ran back and fetched a construction hat for himself… because Sister was about to read him a book about hats.