the beauty of literacy

Lately, the Bee has been stopping every time we go out to read every sign she can find. I remember from my own learning-to-read experience that moment where suddenly, the whole world of print opened up to me, and I could read every sign. She’s had an explosion in her ability to read lots of different words, quickly, and her ability to sound out unknown words astonishes me every day. She reads to her brother at his bedtime practically every night.

She went to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for a birthday party recently, and afterwards, I offered to read it to her. We finished that last week, and now we’ve started on The Horse and His Boy, which I have to say I like better. Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch doing some budgeting and she sat next to me and read aloud from landisdad’s childhood copy of Animals Do the Strangest Things, about camels and opossums and lions. She spelled out a handful of words that she couldn’t sound out, but those were few and far between.

I think that teaching my daughter to read has been one of the single most-rewarding experiences of my life. It’s meant that I’ve been able to share with her books that I loved when I was a kid (as well as suffering through some things that I remember loving, but are somewhat painful for an adult). And now it means that she can amuse herself without adult attention, and get lost in a book.

But it has been hard work, and that’s some of what makes it so rewarding too. It’s meant reading to her every night of her life, even when we were tired, and just wanted her to go to bed, meant reading the same book over and over to her when she was a toddler, even though we just wanted to throw it out the window. And it’s meant that we’ve done things like limit her tv and computer time, so she’s not staring at a screen all the time.

I’m writing all this not to toot my own horn, but to point out that, while I have some misgivings about the selection criteria for the advanced program at her school, I don’t have any doubts that she is deserving of being in that program.


February 6, 2006. books for kids, growing up. 7 comments.