Watching and helping the kiddos learn to read has been an interesting experience. As you would expect, they've each taken a different path. PrincessE and The Boy-child are both professional readers. They are on to young adult and teen fiction. When they get home from school the first thing they do is grab a book. Lu-lu is still coming in to her own. She was back and forth about being read to for a bit, though now she really likes to listen to stories. And while she is quite capable of reading, she'd rather read out loud to an audience than read quietly to herself. I was feeling a bit concerned, but then I remembered that it took PrincessE a bit of time to come to reading to herself and Lu is only six. She'll get there, I'm sure. Noodle is, like everything else, putting her own stamp on things. Her reception class began working on phonics as soon as school started in September. By December, Noodle was one of the top in her class and had started attempting to sound out the occasional small word. At the beginning of this term she and three of her classmates began to go to the Year 1 class for reading. It's been an amazing transition. Noodle has been off school poorly quite a few days this week and today at the grocery, she was sounding out nearly every word she saw. The whole trip was a cacophony of phonics.
This is such a fantastic stage. Prior to this, all the knowledge that little brain acquired has come from visual/verbal input. They watched us and listened to us and they learned. But everything they learned came through the filter of the people they interacted with. When they begin to read a whole other level of learning opens up to them. They can glean knowledge and get exposure to a world full of ideas by simply reading what is around them. And this is magic of the greatest power. They can learn all.on.their.own. They can travel to wherever those words take them and no one is filtering or editing or controlling where they go or how they get there. And studies show it's not really that important *what* they are reading, it is simply the act of decoding words, visually, with ones brain, that grows and expands their grey matter. What an amazing process.
So here we are. A majority of us are literate, nearly 100%. And I feel, it's already happening, a shift in our world; days filled with the magic of books, a few read out loud, most enjoyed in quiet solitude. It's a far cry from the days of toddlerhood when we would read book, upon book for hours on end. I know reading out loud is not out of the picture yet, it's just something that is happening less and less. Parenthood shifts, children grow, life brings change.
"C-O-M-E-T, Mummy, that sign says 'comet' ". L-O-V-E Mummy, what is "lovvvyuh"? "That says 'love'", Noodle." And so it goes.