A Tale of Two Readers
Last week at the library Kyle read half of the book “Amelia Bedelia.” I say half because we agreed that I would read a page, and then he would read a page. He was being lazy.
Kyle is 5 and a half, and he can basically read anything.
He’s been interested in words and stories since he was a baby. As a wee one on my lap he would stare intently at a storybook while I read it to him, in between bites, of course. Later he memorized the words to books like “Go Dog, Go” and “Hop On Pop,” the book that legend says helped me learn to read at an early age. Now that Kindergarten is here, Kyle is way ahead of what is expected of him as far as reading goes. That is, what’s expected of him by the school district, but not by me.
I place a high priority on reading in all aspects of my life. Of course, for decades I’ve taken it for granted, but now that I am raising my own family, I can look back and see how my love of reading helped me excel in school and in career pursuits. When you are a curious reader, you pick up bits of information that help you in surprising ways later on. When you understand the root of a word, you can infer the meanings of words or phrases in English or in many other languages. Reading is a basic but invaluable skill.
I am delighted that Kyle seems to have a natural affinity for reading. That doesn’t mean I will relax my standards for him, though. Every week when I tidy up his room I choose a handful of books to go by the bedside and he must choose one to read aloud at night before he goes to sleep. I help him sound out words he doesn’t recognize, and I am amazed when he remembers those words when he sees them again.
Spelling and writing are a far different story. As Kyle’s fine motor skills get stronger, so will his penmanship, but oh, it’s fun to watch. At his school he is learning a technique for crafting words and sentences called “Guess and Go,” and he just writes the words out as they sound to him. Just last week he typed out the sentence “I am laeofung.” (I am laughing.)
As Kyle’s skills grow, so will the challenges he will face, and I’ll be right there to help and marvel as I watch the understanding shine in his eyes.
Brady is a sleeper smartie, we’ve decided. He’s only 3 and a half, but Kyle was already reading simple words at that age. We know we can’t compare the two, that they are different people, blah blah, but this is just another way parenting keeps you on your toes. So we never pushed Brady into learning his words, numbers, or letters, we just watch and observe and encourage him when he does seem interested.
When Brady was a baby, I tried to settle into the same kind of bedroom routine that I had had with Kyle. However, Brady had his own plan. He was much more interested in eating, tearing up, and throwing the books I tried to read. Realizing that he was very tactile, I loaded up on books with pop-ups, flaps, textures, and other interactive elements. Those books were very well-loved, and it got him into the groove of at least sitting still while we turned the pages to see what was next.
Fast forward a bit – this is the tactic we’ve practiced all along. No pushing, just gentle encouragement. So we were surprised when Brady’s preschool teacher told us that he would be moved up to the next level classroom when school started again last week. He is one of the only three kids in his class of 16 who know all the letters, numbers, colors, etc. He knows the days of the week and the months of the year. He can count backwards.
Funny, he doesn’t do that at home. Looks like the preschool tuition is actually paying off.
(Disclosure ~ this was a sponsored post by BabyCenter. For more resources, visit the First 5 California community with ideas to help your child learn to love to read. The ideas and opinions are my own as I believe in the importance of literacy in a child’s life.)