learning to read, loving to read

The Potato has been learning letters at his day-care for about the past six months, but only recently has he gotten to that point where he’s recognizing them everywhere he goes. “Look, Mommy, ‘B’!” he shouts at me every morning, when reading the Honey Nut Cheerios box. “‘H,’ Mommy, ‘H!'” It’s so much fun. He’s also very into writing words, although still not entirely sure why exactly the letters have to be written on the page in a certain order.

Yesterday, when I was driving him to school, he spent about 20 minutes telling me all the words that he was going to ‘practice spelling’ when he got home from school. ‘Car!’ ‘House!’ ‘Cat!’ ‘Elbow!’ It was freakin’ adorable.

I remember when the Bee had the same mental explosion of understanding that those squiggly lines that she saw everywhere actually meant something. It’s akin to the language explosion when they both learned to talk, and when she actually started to be able to read words, and would spend all of her time reading random things off of billboards and magazine covers. It’s really interesting to observe this development up close and personal, and has to be one of my absolute favorite things about parenting.

In other reading news, the Bee’s school has been having a contest this month–each class is challenged to read for a total of 3,000 minutes. She told me yesterday that her class is the first one in the school to crack the 3,000 minute mark–and the month’s not half over yet. The Bee’s contribution to this achievement? I just added it up–she’s contributed just over half of that, with about 1,600 minutes all to herself. The other day, I asked her if she wanted to do something with me, and she said very seriously, “Mom, I have to go read. I want to win this thing.”

I read something in the most recent Bookwomen where a mother was talking about having to stop her daughter from reading, in order to get her to do other homework for school. Until very recently, that seemed like a pretty theoretical problem to me. Now that Harry Potter has grabbed hold of my daughter’s brain, it seems a lot more likely.


March 15, 2007. books for kids, growing up.


  1. sober briquette replied:

    She’s a lucky girl. I wish I could trade places for the weekend!

    My daughter is reading now and I’m so happy that she enjoys reading to her little brother. I hope the day never comes that she decides it’s a chore.

  2. Sandra replied:

    I agree, watching kids learn to read is fascinating. Each of mine learned in such a different way. One learned to read gradually at the normal age, and the other learned overnight, very young. But now they are both great readers and you’d never know which is which. Watching my kids master reading made me remember learning to read myself. I remember in first grade being so excited to tell my mother that I had learned to read “airplane.” Such a big word! Your little Potato is going to have so much fun with books.

  3. elise replied:

    I can still remember when my son was in first grade and he was reading his first chapter book and I just sat on the couch and stared at him with a huge grin on my face! There are so many little snippets in time I can remember watching my kids learn – it IS the best part of parenting. That and those moments when you just know they are bursting with love for you.

  4. Jeff replied:

    My gal is writing her first and last and spelling other words too. She loves to read off my shirts, these days all college basketball related: E-A-S-T L-A-N-S-I-N-G AND M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N S-T-A-T-E. It is an amazing thing to witness and be apart of. Being a parent is pretty cool. You can (or should) take nothing for granted as we help and watch these young brains expand and find every new thing (many of which are old hat to us) so brilliant and wonderful.

  5. Ashley replied:

    My son can read well, he just doesn’t want to. Even when it’s a competition in the class for prizes. Inter-class competition, though, I think might turn it around. For my daughter, she’s tickled that she can read the Biscuit books all by herself. I don’t mind having them read to me instead, it makes me exceptionally proud that they’d want to.

  6. alala replied:

    Firstborn taught himself to read, so I guess I sort of thought that was how it worked. Secondborn doesn’t seem to be interested in reading at all. I have no idea what to do with that. It’s like… not wanting to breathe.

  7. JudesMommy replied:

    1600 minutes! Half of her whole class’ total! That’s so awesome. As a girl who spent every possible second reading everything I could, I say, Read On, Little Bumblebee!

    I just found your blog and I love it!

  8. jo(e) replied:

    I can still remember how exciting it was when each of my kids learned to read. It opens up so much for them.

  9. Carrie replied:

    I can’t wait till my son is old enough to read. I am longing for a girl just so I can introduce her to Anne Shirley. (Not that I won’t introduce my son, but I don’t think he will understand the Anne love quite like a girl).

    When I was teaching I had a mother come in the week before school started and warn me about her son and his reading. She told me it was totally ok to punish him for reading and that they had to lock books away from him. I was incensed. Stop the reading! NEVER!

    Then I met him. He wouldn’t do any work, just read. I finally got him into the honor’s class where he belonged and he did better there. Then I had to teach him driver’s ed. He really thought I would let him drive the car and read at the same time.

  10. Liz replied:

    Wow congrats to Bee for her excellent reading!! I hope she keeps it up. My daughter and son read a lot when they were little and now I can hardly interest them in it. 😦 Me, I love to ready and usually read my book every night. Good for her.

  11. Kimmers replied:

    What a wonderful time!! With E.’s school read-a-thon we had the opposite happen: He stopped reading, or at least he stopped reading where anyone could see him. He is competition-adverse, but this was suppposed to be a group attempt to hit 50,000 pages (or something like that) and blend in the math with the reading and the team effort. Except E. withdrew into himself. He refused to “count” any of his pages, and declined any efforts at assistance with the tally. The Harry Potters disappeared. As did the Hardy Boys, the Magic Tree House, and every snake and pirate book. He went to bed with only his Mutts comic books. Now, this is the boy who can not pass any printed medium (magazine, cereal box, CD cover) without absorbing it, yet in the span of a week, that spark seemed all but gone. I didn’t panic, but I sure didn’t push the read-a-thon. And when the end of January came, and the read-a-thon was over, he was right back to his old ways.

    He was never able to articulate why it had this effect on him, (what kindergartener can?) but I think it was because reading for him is so much a part of his life — it’s his escape and his pure pleasure — and to try to count the pages he reads is like trying to count breaths, or trying to quantify joy.

  12. BBSP at five years, the remix « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] The Bee’s competitive nature, combined with her love of reading, has worked out well for her. […]

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: