The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go ~ Dr. Seuss
I've been a witness to children learning to read. It's a special time for a teacher when that "light bulb" goes off and a student begins to read. Teachers couldn't be more proud of their students, and rightfully so. But it's different when it's your own child. It's magical!
My 21 month old daughter Zoe is probably like most other children her age. She's active, jumps from activity to activity, loves to repeat some of her favourite things over and over and she laughs at almost anything. She also loves to listen to books for short periods of time, especially "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Zoe's Snow Day". When she was younger she absolutely loved the books you could take in the tub that had that crinkly noise when you turned the page. And of course she loved books so much that they all went into her mouth! However it wasn't until the last week that I saw a change in her that showed me that she was becoming a reader.
It used to be all me when it came to reading. I held the book, I read, I turned most of the pages, I pointed to words and she listened and watched. Now, instead of me holding the book and her periodically turning the pages she began to hold the book on her own, even turning it right side up! The book has become hers. She spends time on each page, "reading" the words, looking at the pictures, even pointing at some while laughing. If there are some actions in the book she often imitates them like when the bus driver says "Move on back" she takes her thumb and points over her shoulder as if she were the bus driver. And now she is even self-selecting the books she wants to read. All of this just seemed to start all of a sudden and it's really made me think more deeply about how to raise a reader.
I've taught primary aged students and supported struggling readers during my time in the classroom, so I know the stages emerging readers go through. The difference this week is that my daughter has given me a front row seat into the earliest steps that until now I'd never experienced and it is magical! I'm confident that Zoe will continue to grow as a reader and eat books up. Well maybe not literally!
I'd love to hear your stories about your children begining to read. Was it a magical experience for you too?