By Double Duty Mama
While I know that learning how to read is actually a years-long process, it is amazing that the moment when they actually know how to read is just that: a moment.
I saw it happen with my older son about half-way into his kindergarten year. Sure, we had spent years reading aloud to him and he had learned his letters, their sounds and even had a few small and sight words he recognized … but nothing prepared me for that night when we cuddled up for our before bed book and he read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. By himself. Word for word. Cover to cover.
With my younger son, who is now in kindergarten, I am trying to pay attention to his skill level. I wonder if I can predict when that moment will come for him. He’s two months into the school year and already knows how to read and write some sight words, including “a,” “to,” “I,” “my” and “like.” He’s starting to sound out words he doesn’t know. Sloooooowly. Also, he’s able to sometimes guess the word based on the first letter, the context or the picture on the page. He insists I point to the words as I read them and he’s also more interested in looking at books by himself.
Part of learning to read, of course, is learning to write. Almost every kid follows the same path to writing: tracing, then copying, words and sentences before memorizing a few words. Next, they write what looks like nonsense (see the photo my son’s recent work over there on the right). They graduate to writing words that are closer to right — with the first and last sounds correct — but often lacking vowels and other letters in the middle of words.
I am really excited for him because he is really excited for himself. He says he can’t wait to be able to read and it’s wonderful to see him working so hard on this goal. Here are some things we do to help him along. (These preschool reading tips, and more for other age groups, can be found on our Read Early, Read Aloud early reading webpages.)
- Have your child become more involved with story time. Let him pick out a book or encourage him to “read” the book to you, whether it be from his memory or making up a story from the pictures.
- Point to the words while you read them. If you child recognizes a word, let her read it.
- Help your child identify letters by asking him about letters you see around the house, in stores, on street signs — wherever.
- Model good reading habits for your child by reading books on your own and talking to your child about how much you enjoy reading.
* * *
This month, we celebrate early reading and want to encourage parents and caregivers to Read Early, Read Aloud with babies, toddlers and preschoolers! You can learn more about Read Early, Read Aloud, including age-appropriate book suggestions, tips for reading with young kids and, soon, local reading events, at the Read Early, Read Aloud pages.
Be sure to enter to win 50 books in our “My Favorite Book” contest. You can play by answering a couple questions here on Ready. Set. Grow! or on Twitter. For full details, visit the “My Favorite Book” contest rules page by clicking here.