A week ago last Thursday night we dressed in our pajamas, brushed our teeth and settled in bed. It has become a family affair. After initial resistance (he doesn’t like reading aloud as much as I do) Dave has joined in to the ritual. We each read a book to Emily and cuddle for a few minutes before sending her off to her own bed.
However, this time we did just one thing different…I brought one of the learning to read books to bed with the other two. Before I could even suggest it, Emily grabbed the Hop on Pop book and exclaimed, “I want to read this myself!”
Great minds think alike, apparently.
I couldn’t keep the big grin from my face as she slowly sounded out the words – motivated, on her own, to read aloud for us. I corrected, helped, whatever you want to call it, intermittently when she hit tough spots. “The th make a ‘th’ sound,” I told her. “That’s a hard ‘e’ sound, so ‘muh’ ‘ee’.”
“Me!” she crowed excitedly.
“Yes, exactly.” My heart swelled as she slowly read her first sentence without any help and then repeated it with such a sense of wonder and excitement. She was reading – albeit simple phonic words – but still, reading.
We made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before she yawned loudly and long, her signal that she was done with reading. “Shall I read the rest?” I asked her and she nodded happily. “Okay, and if you want we can read it again tomorrow.” I suggested.
This was literally the first time I have ever seen Emily volunteer to read something and I couldn’t be more excited. She’s on her way – and I can’t help but be over the moon about it. I know it is a developmental milestone that nearly every child in the world learns at some point – but seeing it unfold is somehow magical. I am counting the days until I see her, curled up on the couch, intense and lost within the pages of a book.
Bring on the reading…bring on the books!
I wrote this post this past weekend and there have been more developments since that I just had to share.
We picked up another Level 1 Reading book, Pat, Cat, and Rat (We Read Phonics – Level 1 (Quality)) and Emily read the entire thing earlier in the day. That evening, as we slipped into pajamas and brushed teeth I held up the book and said, “Hey Emily, would you like to show Daddy how well you can read this book?”
She bounced up and down with excitement, “Oh yes! Oh yes!”
So we repeated Thursday’s experiment, I read first, then Dave read another book and then it was Emily’s turn. And oh, what a turn it was. The uncertainty was gone – she took a look at the first two pages, opened her mouth and read with confidence…
“I am Pat. Dan is my cat.”
I restrained myself with difficulty. I was ready to hire a mariachi band, rent a biplane to run a streamer through the sky declaring my child could read, climb a nearby mountaintop and shout it to the world.
My little girl was reading!
She read the entire book through with few hiccups. I know it is just the start of what is to come – but my heart sang with joy. My little girl is reading, and interested in reading, and pleased and motivated to read. The gates to her future have begun to open and I couldn’t be more proud.