Archives for posts with tag: learning to read

School has started. In fact, school started so long ago that it doesn’t even seem new any longer: on 8/1, Girl returned to school, and Boy began kindergarten! He’s at the Big School, as he likes to say.

He’s been dabbling in reading for a long time. While Girl read her first book at four and a half and, as far as I can tell, never looked back** (or, more to the point, never looked back up), Boy has taken to it like a duck near the water, which is to say that he’s close enough to dip in a webbed foot but maybe he’ll just stay on the shore and eat some tasty bugs, thank you very much.

About two weeks ago, he read Leslie Patricelli’s No No Yes Yes by himself, sounds included – except for the two-page spread at the back, which he could figure out by pictures alone. Tonight, he read the first fifteen or so pages of Mo Willems I’m a Frog. He sounds out words and often plays around with the sounds until they morph into the words they are (like “know,” which is tricky, or other longer words) or the words he thinks they should be – he has a good sense of language, so he often “reads” the text as it might have been written by a different author. He could read words before school started, and school has only increased his interest in words. (He’s long been interested in writing, maybe because it’s a more physical activity?)

In between, he’s done well with Mercer Mayer’s Going to the Sea Park (he read “petting tank”) and Just Pick Us, Please! (in which he read many descriptive words). We read those the same night this week, and when he sounded out or effortlessly read chunks of the book, I turned to him, amazed.

“Do you know what you are?”
“A reader!”
“And how does that make you feel?”
Lying on the bed next to me, Boy punched his two fists in the air. “Like shaking pompoms!” he exclaimed.

Goooooooooo, Boy! we feel like shouting, too. He is, indeed, becoming a reader!

* While I think it’s supposed to be pompons – it comes from the French, so I’ve read – this is how it came out, so that’s what I’m sticking with.
**That’s how you get to be one of the top 100 readers in the state!

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Dan Yaccarino’s Five Little Pumpkins isn’t my favorite work of his – the drawings don’t match the charm of Every Friday, and the rhyme, new to me, doesn’t bring up any feelings of nostalgia. Girl doesn’t know it, either, so our first reading was her first exposure to it, too.

And therein lies what made our first reading interesting, what makes me love Five Little Pumpkins so much more than I expected to love it:

She read it to me.

She. Read. It. To. Me.

She read it to me!

She needed help with a few words, like “there” and “are” – we talked about the silent “e” at the end of words, and how that makes the vowel long (as in “five”), so she figured out “late” and “gate,” but “there” didn’t work that way – although she knew to make the “th” sound. “Night” proved difficult, too – no ghost of a “g” sound slips in there. She patiently sounded out what she could, trying out sounds until the word settled into place, like finally getting a chord right when sight-reading difficult sheet music. The ear knows.. “G-ah-t-uh…g-ah-t…g-a-t-uh…g-a-t…gate!”

For this four-and-a-half (plus one week!) year old, the gate is open. She’s known words like “the” and “and” for a year, at least, thanks to her daddy’s patient work, and now, she knows more. What she doesn’t know, she can often figure out – and that’s reading. Reading!

And maybe I love Five Little Pumpkins more than it deserves to be loved, but really, isn’t that what love is all about?