Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Emma is a reader!

For over a year, she has been interested in letters, writing, and the sounds of letters, but has resisted actual attempts to help her learn to read. She took the approach that it was fine for her to ask as many questions as she liked, and it was fine to help her do pages in workbooks, but she didn't want to hear anything from us when it came to showing her how sounds went together to make words. She would write actual letters to people and to fairies, painstakingly asking how to spell each word and writing the letters carefully (sometimes backwards, sometimes circling the page if she ran out of room, sometimes vertically-- but if you looked the letters were in order) and because she has been read to since infancy, she has many, many books memorized--so she would sit and recite books verbatim. She just didn't want to go through any actual organized process called "learning to read." I kept thinking she would read any minute, because she was so good at all this other stuff, but she didn't.

Then last week, during yet another interminably rainy afternoon, we were snuggling on the bed in my room, just idly talking and playing around. She asked me to play a spelling game with her, and so I started spelling some 3 letter words--pat, dog, ran, red, set, etc.--and to my shock, she knew what almost every one was! She was also excellent at telling me other words: when she told me what P-A-T was, I then asked her how to spell cat, mat, hat, fat, etc. and she did that easily. I said to her, "Wow, Emma! You are so good at this, I bet you'll be reading soon!"

Her response was: "Well, technically, Mama, I can already read--I know what noises all the letters make!"

After I stopped laughing, I pulled out one of her favorites, "Bing Bunny". She read it to me. This wasn't too surprising, because as I said, she knows a lot of books by heart. So I made her a story on paper with simple sentences and my version of illustrations....we'll skip those! But the story was something like, "The hen had a hat. The hat had a bow. The pig liked the hat. The pig got a hat, too." She read it pretty well, just a couple of mistakes. So the next day we went to the library and picked out some of those dreadful easy readers--and by the way, do people get paid to write this garbage? And is it any wonder that most kids think reading is boring???--guaranteed material she doesn't know word for word. And she read those, too, with some sounding out and some mistakes. Yay!

She still isn't at the point where she'll allow me to trot her accomplishment out to people. She gets shy when I tell people she can read and will clam up. But she is on her way--and anyone who knows Emma knows she won't stay shy for long!!


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