Reading, reading and reading

I’m sorry. I’m going to gush about one of my children.  I can’t be hardnosed and gritty and down in the trenches of the emotional guerilla war known as modern family life every day, y’know.  (Note: I’m exaggerating about the war bit.  A lot.)

Dudelet is reading, really, properly reading. We’d noticed that over summer he’d progressed from individual words and sentence fragments to whole headlines, slogans on cereal boxes (my iPhone attempted to render that as the evocative “feral boxes”) and jokes out of a compendium of the kind of riddles and knock-knock horrors that only five year olds and students putting together rag mags can love. But this morning demonstrated how far he’d come when he picked up his homework story book (target: three pages by Friday) and steamed through pages 1 to 16. He stumbled a little  over ‘Trafalgar’ and ‘Palace’ but there was an overall feeling of confidence and an awareness of the sentences and narratives.

He reached page 16 and stopped.

“I think that’s enough for today.”

What was particularly interesting was the way he was clearly decoding words as a whole rather than spelling them out. This showed up in his mistakes as much as anything, such as the tendency to read “place” for “palace” and the way that my attempts to help him spell out the more difficult words syllable by syllable weren’t very successful.

It’s exciting – it’s one of those moments of acceleration. Learning to read was one of the greatest moments in my life. Watching him learn is almost as good. And for him, it’s nothing special – he’s just getting on with it.


About Dad Who Writes (Gabriel)

Writing, reading, listening, parenting... On Twitter as @dadwhowrites. View all posts by Dad Who Writes (Gabriel)

13 responses to “Reading, reading and reading

  • Tee

    Watching your child learn how to read is one of the purest pleasures on Earth.

    When my oldest son was in second grade, I read the first Harry Potter book to him. After that, he took off on his own. Last year he finished the entire series.

    When he got to the part in one of the books where Sirius is killed, tears streamed down his face. I knew then that I had done my part to make a lifetime reader out of him and I felt proud.

    • dadwhowrites

      What a great name for a blog! He’s a huge Harry potter fan too – will have to conceal all news of the theme park opening in Florida. We’re still reading The Philosopher’s Stone to him at the moment – not sure whether to go onto the next one or not.

  • charlotteotter

    Gush away. For me it’s one of the best things about parenting – all those hours of reading finally rewarded as they read to themselves and share the joy of books.

  • Achelois

    Gush! Gush!

    You know how I do about the middle one. He too was sounding words one day and reading cereal boxes the next. Bless them!

  • J

    I have trouble with Trafalgar, too. 😉

    Has he learned phonetically? Or through memorization of what the words look like? It sounds from what you’re saying like he has memorized what the words look like, but I may be misunderstanding. Just curious, as I’m a big fan of teaching phonetically, but I think some methods do it incorrectly.

  • dadwhowrites

    Hi Charlotte – well, he isn’t leaping out of bed and grabbing for the nearest tome quite yet. But he has stopped asking us to read him the text on his gameboy.
    Achelois, that’s really how it felt with dudelet! Little elf is still struggling to talk, though – and with the pain of separation that language initially demands. That’s another post.
    J, he learned phonetically and a lot of the books we read to him before he went to school were phonetic. But he seems to read quite quickly so I’m sure he’s taking shortcuts.

  • Ally

    There’s nowt wrong with gushing proudly, so gush away! And watching your child click with reading is magical. Well, it is! It’s almost like they’ve unlocked the secrets of the universe when they just pick up a book and read for themselves.

    I’ve had to rein Princi back a little with her reading and teach her to spell words out and take more notice of the little words she likes to skip. When she’s not sure of a word now she breaks it down into smaller manageable section and that has encouraged her into spelling words for herself so that she can type them into the search engine when she’s on the computer to look for the things she wants to watch. I can see the becoming problematic when she’s a little older!

    • dadwhowrites

      I need to encourage dudelet to do that, though he already uses Google to search for sites like Cbeebies etc. I thought I had pretty rigorous parental controls set up but found he’d hacked past them by opening up the Dashboard on the Mac he uses and searching via the Google widget there…

  • bsouth

    That’s fantastic – I’m not surprised you’re gushing, you absolutely should be.

    I love reading and can’t wait until the girl can – I’m excited about the worlds that will open up for her – including the ingredients of feral boxes.

    Sorry I haven’t been around much, I have been reading just not finding time to comment (too busy on twitter apparently!).

  • S.

    Yay! What a huge step towards being on his own two feet in the world.

    Z. is still a ways from reading words, but she’s started “reading” a Calvin and Hobbes collection on her own, without us telling her the words, and it’s a wonderful promise of things to come.

  • dadwhowrites

    Hi bsouth and S – it’ll arrive and its so exciting! And the I’m still daydreaming about quiet lie-ins while he buries his face in a book.

    (Dream on!)

  • henitsirk

    On our recent mini-vacation, we drove about 4 hours each way. Almost total silence the entire time as both kids sat in the back seat reading. Heaven.

    I’ve been working with my son, who’s almost 7, on not skimming and reading via context as much (palace/place). While it’s an important skill for adult reading and a great sign of his development as a reader, it’s a bit dangerous when one is still learning to read for comprehension!

    The down side of them learning to read cereal boxes is that now our breakfasts are populated by children absently spooning food into their mouths while silently staring at the hot sauce bottle and half-and-half container.

  • gumbomum

    That’s fabulous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: